Endoscopy vs. Colonoscopy: Know the Difference
Published June 7, 2021
You may have remembered hearing the terms endoscopy or colonoscopy and several other terms from a doctor or consultant you may be confused about.
Endoscopy vs colonoscopy is both non-surgical procedures that use a flexible tube with a light and camera to examine various digestive system areas. Moreover, upper endoscopies and colonoscopies are both types of endoscopies.
While the terminologies may appear sophisticated, they are all basic ways of determining the cause of your symptoms. If you are still confused, we’ve put together this article to help you understand the difference between an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy and why they’re being used.
Endoscopy is a process that involves seeing the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), which includes the neck, esophagus, stomach, rectum, and colon. They can be seen through a lighted, flexible tube with a camera attached at the end—called endoscope. Tiny tissue samples and cells—biopsies—can also be obtained and tested.
However, when doctors need to inspect the small intestine, they cannot use an endoscope. So instead, they utilize a wireless capsule camera; it’s simply a camera hidden inside a pill capsule that patients take, which allows doctors to see clearly. It takes photographs as it passes down the digestive tract, which is then recorded using a device worn around the patient’s waist.
Keep in mind that the procedure depends on the type of symptoms a patient is experiencing.
Types of Endoscopies:
Upper endoscopy – A tiny flexible tube put through the mouth used to examine the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
Colonoscopy – A flexible tube inserted into the rectum that allows viewing the lining of the large intestine, colon, and rectum.
Preparing for The Endoscopy Procedure
- Make plans for your transportation home. This is because the drugs can make you feel drowsy following the treatment.
- If necessary, medications can be administered thru the vein.
- Blood tests are occasionally required.
- The colon must be thoroughly cleaned before undergoing a colonoscopy, and there are numerous colonoscopy preparations available. This usually entails drinking a large amount of a particular cleansing solution or having enemas.
- The stomach should be empty for safe and comprehensive upper endoscopic procedures. The patient will most likely be instructed not to eat or drink anything for six hours before the procedure or more.
Day of Procedure
- The doctor will explain why the procedure is being performed, whether there are other procedures or tests available, and what potential issues may arise due to the endoscopy.
- Inform your doctor about any medications you are currently taking.
- Discuss medication allergies and other medical concerns. This information will assist the doctor in determining whether the patient needs antibiotics before the surgery, as well as whether potential drugs should not be utilized during the exam due to the patient’s allergies.
- Knowing if you have any severe health issues, such as heart or lung disease, will alert the doctor to the possibility of requiring additional medical attention during the treatment.
- This is the moment to ask procedural inquiries as well.
What to Expect During The Upper Endoscopy
The patient’s throat may be sprayed with a numbing solution. Also, sedating or pain-relieving drugs will likely be administered through a vein. After being sedated, you will be put to rest on your left side. The flexible video endoscope, which has the thickness of a little finger, is then introduced via the mouth into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Remember that this technique will NOT affect your breathing. Most people feel relatively minor discomfort throughout the test, and many people sleep through the entire operation, thanks to conscious sedation.
After Upper Endoscopy: What Happens Next?
You will be continuously monitored until most of the medication’s effects have worn off. Your throat may be uncomfortable, and you may feel briefly bloated because of the air pushed into your stomach during the test. Unless your doctor directs you otherwise, you will be permitted to eat after you leave.
In most cases, your doctor will be able to inform you of the results of the tests on the same day of the procedure. However, some tests may take several days to complete.
If you were given sedatives, you wouldn’t be able to drive following the surgery, even if you do not feel tired. Ask for someone to take you home because the sedatives may impair your judgment and reflexes for the remainder of the day.
What to Expect During The Colonoscopy
Intravenous fluids are started before the colonoscopy is performed. The patient is placed on a monitor for continuous monitoring of his heart rhythm, blood pressure, and oxygen levels in the blood. Medications (sedatives) are typically administered through an intravenous line to cause the patient to fall asleep so they can stay relaxed and alleviate discomfort. Colonoscopy commonly causes abdominal pressure, cramps, and bloating. However, with proper medication, it usually is well-tolerated and very rarely causes discomfort.
As the colonoscope is slowly advanced, patients will lie on their left side or back. The colonoscope is progressively withdrawn once the tip of the colon (cecum) or the last part of the small intestine (terminal ileum) is reached, and the lining of the colon is carefully examined. The procedure usually takes 15 to 60 minutes, but you should allow two to three hours for waiting, preparation, and recovery.
After Colonoscopy: What Happens Next?
Your doctor can read the exam results immediately, but you will have to wait for the results of any biopsies that were performed. If you were given sedatives during the procedure, you must be driven home and accompanied by someone.
Even though patients feel alert following the treatment, their judgment and reflexes may still be sluggish. Because of the air pushed into the colon during the examination, a patient experiences feelings of cramping or bloating. When they pass gas, this should go away fast.
Moreover, you should be able to eat after the inspection, although your doctor may restrict your diet and activity, particularly if precancerous polyps are removed.
So as far as endoscopy vs colonoscopy is concerned, you should see a medical professional about the best course of action to avoid further issues. Colonoscopy vs endoscopy is functional procedures in diagnosing cancer types or lessening or keeping track of cancer development, whether you have sigmoid colon cancer, colorectal cancer, or stomach cancer.
Don’t decide on your own; your doctor understands what’s best for you and your health. Stay healthy and get your daily check-ups to avoid illness to live a longer and more pleasant life.
About The Author
As a professional writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Paolyn has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. Her knack for uncovering important truths and conducting thorough research on each topic she writes about has helped thousands of people across the world.