Frequently Asked Questions – Medical Information

What is a Gastroenterologist?

Gastroenterologists are medical specialists with extensive training in disease of the digestive tract who are equipped to answer your questions, perform tests to help make a diagnosis, and to prescribe the best course of treatment. Patients with complicated conditions often benefit from being treated by a specialist who has experience with a large number of similar cases.

Will the procedure hurt?

This largely depends on the procedure you will have, but you will be given medication (“conscious sedation”) to help prevent pain and significant discomfort. For example, a colonoscopy itself should not be painful, but you might feel somewhat uncomfortable. This can be alleviated by additional medication or by assistance from the nursing staff.

Do I really need a driver for my procedure?

If you are receiving any type of sedation, you may not drive home and therefore you will require a driver.

How do I prepare for my procedures?

Our staff will instruct you how to prepare and are available to answer any questions. Written instructions will be given to you after the office consultation. Review additional information about procedures.

How long will I have to wait for the results of my procedure?

This depends on the type of procedure you have and whether or not a biopsy is taken. Our office will inform you by a private, secure and automated telephone message from our office about the results immediately following the procedure. If a biopsy is taken or polyp removed, it may take approximately 3-5 days for these results to be available.

I took aspirin or Advil (ibuprofen) before my colonoscopy. What should I do?

You should follow the instructions given by your physician prior to the procedure.  If you mistakenly took medication that you were asked to stop, please call our office prior to your procedure. It may not be necessary to cancel the procedure.

What is the best screening for colon cancer?

Colonoscopy is the “Gold Standard” colon cancer prevention test, and is the only test that both identifies polyps and removes them during one procedure.

Are all polyps precancerous?

Over half of colon polyps are “hyperplastic,” which are benign and carry no risk of colon cancer. The remainder includes “adenomatous” polyps, which have the potential of growing into a cancer. The goal of colonoscopy is to remove these polyps and prevent colon cancer.

Is heartburn dangerous?

Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) is a very common condition that may be bothersome, painful, and contribute to a poor quality of life. Only a small percentage of people develop complications from heartburn, but only your physician can help decide the right treatment for you. These complications can include ulcers, bleeding, Barrett’s esophagus (a “pre-cancerous” change in the esophagus) or esophageal cancer.

How are ulcers diagnosed?

Ulcers are diagnosed with an upper endoscopy or an upper GI series.

What are the symptoms of diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis pockets are usually asymptomatic. If one of these pockets becomes infected, this is called diverticulitis. These symptoms of diverticulitis may include abdominal pain and fever. Diverticulitis usually is treated with antibiotics and a bland diet but surgery might be necessary for recurrent attacks.

When do I need to be evaluated for diarrhea?

If diarrhea persists for more that 3 – 5 days and is associated with bleeding, pain, or fever, you should be evaluated by your doctor.

I am scheduled for a procedure. What do I do if I have not completed by prep?

If you have problems with your prep, call the office at 925-460-8167 and you will be advised what to do. If the office is closed, leave a message with the answering service so someone can contact you.

Why do I need to be on a clear liquid diet the entire day prior to my colonoscopy?

Your colon needs to be clear of stool the day of your test. If you eat solid food the day prior to your test, your bowel is still processing the food and creating stool. If you have stool in your colon during the procedure, it impairs the doctor’s view, resulting in a possible repeat of the prep and test.

Can I still have my procedure if I am on my menstrual cycle?

Yes. For your comfort, we do suggest that you wear a tampon.