Patient Information

What to Expect During Your Visit

Endoscopic procedures are performed at Cayuga Medical Center, the Cayuga Endoscopy Center, and Schuyler Hospital. The location for your exam will depend, in part, on the procedure you are having performed.

  • Your gastroenterologist will provide you with instructions describing what you should to do prepare for your endoscopy procedure. Depending on your specific exam, you may be asked to avoid certain types of food and drink in the three days leading up to your appointment. You may also be asked to undergo a special prep to cleanse your lower gastrointestinal tract. All of this information will be among the materials you receive from your gastroenterologist.
  • Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to check in prior to your appointment time. Because you are likely to be administered a sedative before your procedure, you must arrange with a family member or friend to review test results and discharge instructions with your physicians and to drive you home after your procedure. We require that you have a driver because patient safety is our top priority.
  • After your exam, you will be moved to the recovery area of the endoscopy suite until you are fully awake and meet certain discharge criteria. Your physician will discuss the results with you, and will send a report to your primary care provider.

Screening saves lives

  • Colorectal cancer can start with no symptoms.
  • Precancerous polyps and early-stage colorectal cancer don’t always have symptoms, especially at first. This means that you could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it.
  • If you are 50 or older, getting screened could save your life!
    • Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps in the colon or rectum. A polyp is a growth that shouldn’t be there.
    • Some polyps can turn into cancer over a period of time.
    • Screening tests can find polyps, so they can be removed BEFORE they turn into cancer.
    • Screening tests can also find cancer early. When found early, the chance of being cured is good.

Colorectal Cancer Prevention

  • Limit your intake of red meats (eat more chicken and turkey breast)
  • Limit your intake of processed meats (stay away from bologna)
  • Increase your activity (walking is an excellent way to exercise)
  • Maintain a healthy weight (eat in moderation, obesity increases your risk of colorectal cancer)
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Do not use tobacco products (

Colorectal Cancer facts you should know

  • Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
  • It affects both men and women equally.
  • If detected and treated early, colon cancer is up to 90% curable.
  • There are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors in the United States.

Colorectal Cancer risk factors

Colon cancer can occur in anyone and does not discriminate. However, studies show that individuals in the following categories may be at higher risk:

  • Those individuals with a personal or immediate family history of colon cancer or colon polyps
  • People age 50 or older
  • Individuals with a history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it recommended to avoid seeds and nuts for several days prior to a colonoscopy?

The dense components of very high roughage foods such as seeds and some skins tend to layer out at the bottom of intestinal segments and are more resistant to being flushed out by laxatives. In most cases, the preparation fluids will flush out the material anyway, but you’ll have optimal preparation–and the gastroenterologist will have the clearest view–if you avoid these foods for a few days. We understand that it’s likely you will inadvertently eat some of these items, and that’s okay. However, it really is best to completely avoid the smallest, densest seeds such as those found in tomatoes, kiwi fruit, blackberries, and raspberries.

Why avoid iron prior to a colonoscopy?

Iron supplements can have a constipating effect, making it more difficult for the laxative to clean out the colon. In addition, retained iron can stain the walls of the colon or the fluid, which make it harder to view the colon walls.

Why is avoiding red or purple drinks or Jello advised?

Even after an excellent preparation for colonoscopy, a certain amount of fluid and mucous adheres to the walls of the colon. These will be tinted red or purple by natural and artificial dyes in beets, fruit drinks, and Jello, which can give an appearance similar to blood. This makes it more difficult to reach clear conclusions during the procedure.

What should I do on the day of my prep?

In the days leading up to the formal preparation day stock up on the clear liquids that appeal to you most and have them well chilled (as appropriate). Most people find they are much less hungry than they expected during preparation day. Take the laxative recommended by your gastroenterologist at home, as the time it takes to “kick in” varies greatly – from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Drink extra fluids. Plan to do light activities such as reading, watching TV, or simple chores at home.

What do I do about hypoglycemia? I can't skip meals.

The sugar and protein contained in fluids, including Jello, can sustain blood sugar very well for most people. In many cases, patients who have had some trouble with hypoglycemia in the past typically find that their preparation for the procedure goes better than expected because they are drinking lots of fluids and they are having a restful day, all of which helps them avoid the circumstances that bring on their symptoms. On very rare occasions when someone has trouble anyway, we have been able to design a customized eating plan during an office appointment to get through a successful colonoscopy preparation.

I take warfarin (Coumadin): will I need to stop it?

Advice about stopping and restarting oral anti-coagulants is individualized and needs to be discussed directly with your doctor. In most cases, an office appointment will be scheduled to review the specifics of your medical history before making the final plan.

What should I do about the clopadogrel (Plavix) or aspirin I take for my heart or other circulation problem?

If you are taking a medication to treat a specific medical problem, you will need to review your history during an appointment with your doctor. Together you can determine a plan tailored to your individual circumstances.

Will my chronic constipation allow me to be adequately prepared for my colonoscopy?

If you believe you have significant constipation or have been told that your preparation for a prior colonoscopy wasn’t optimal, some extra preparation may be advisable. Talk this over with your doctor during your office appointment prior to your procedure.

May I take my medications before an endoscopy or colonoscopy?

In most cases, yes, routine medications can be taken with a glass of water up to three hours prior to an endoscopic procedure. This may mean waking up earlier than usual to take your medications with clear liquid (water, coffee or tea without cream, or non-red, pulp-free juice).

May I have fluids after midnight?

Yes, you may continue to have water, soda, juices that are not red or purple, tea, and black coffee up to 3 hours before the procedure.

What meals should I eat the day before an upper endoscopy?

You may consume a small to moderate evening meal completing it prior to 9 p.m. The traditional NPO (which means “nothing by mouth”) after midnight works in most cases; however, a large, rich meal consumed after 9 p.m. will still be partly present in the morning, interfering with the exam.

Do the sedative medications have any drug interactions?

In general the sedatives used for these procedures do not have any effect on the body’s handling (metabolism) of maintenance medications for most chronic conditions. However, if you are taking sleeping, anti-anxiety, or psychiatric medications your system may be somewhat more resistant to the sedatives. The doctors will adjust the dose of the sedative as needed.

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