Learn the Differences Between an Endoscopy and a Colonoscopy

Have you experienced abdominal discomfort or gastrointestinal (GI) issues? An endoscopic procedure can serve as a minimally invasive solution to evaluate the digestive health issues you might be facing. Our gastrointestinal doctors in Tulsa, OK use endoscopic services to view the different areas of the gastrointestinal system. Such options help decrease the need for more invasive procedures and long-lasting recovery periods.

An endoscopy is a commonly performed procedure that aids in the detection of diseases of the esophagus, throat, abdomen, and stomach. Among the most commonly conducted endoscopic processes is a colonoscopy, which is important in catching and reducing the risk of colorectal cancer.

How does a colonoscopy differ from an endoscopy, and how might these endoscopic exams improve your health? Read on to learn further details about these procedures offered at Adult Gastroenterology Associates. Our GI team strives to ensure patients in the Tulsa, OK area receive the care they need for digestive conditions.

What are the differences between a colonoscopy and an endoscopy?

Though an endoscope (a long, narrow, and bendable device containing a light and camera) is utilized to capture high-quality photos for both endoscopies and colonoscopies, there are a few substantial distinctions between these two processes.

In instances when the upper part of the gastrointestinal system must be assessed, an upper endoscopy procedure is performed. The endoscope is placed in the mouth and gently moved through the throat and on into the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. In comparison, a colonoscopy is performed when the lower part of the gastrointestinal system needs to be viewed. With a colonoscopy process, the endoscope device is placed in the rectum and advanced into the large intestine (colon).

Another difference involves how you prepare for the procedures. When prepping for a colonoscopy procedure, you’ll likely be advised to only drink clear liquids for 24 hours before the appointment. Instructions on how to rid your GI system of stool will be given and may involve the use of laxatives or cleansing solutions. This allows for easy visualization of the large intestine and rectum.

Preparing for an upper endoscopy is not as involved. You should avoid consuming any food and beverages for about six hours before the procedure and stop taking certain blood thinners as advised by your physician. If you'd like to learn more about the differences between colonoscopies vs. endoscopies, arrange for an appointment with our Adult Gastroenterology Associates team to have your questions answered.

How do endoscopies work?

During the course of an endoscopy, a flexible, slender tube-like device (endoscope) is placed into your mouth and gently advanced beyond the throat and esophagus and into the small intestine. If necessary, special tools can be attached to the endoscope to help provide care for a number of ailments. Various equipment can be used to collect tissue samples, release food caught in the upper digestive tract, or open a stricture (narrowed area).

Reasons for requiring an endoscopy procedure can vary. Should you notice symptoms that interfere with your quality of life, one of our endoscopy specialists in Tulsa, OK may recommend scheduling this type of exam. An endoscopy can allow us to determine the ideal treatment option for your condition. In general, an endoscopy procedure can be a helpful tool to use if you have the following:

  • Unexplained abdominal discomfort
  • Chronic heartburn or chest pain
  • Persistent bowel changes (like diarrhea or constipation)
  • Blood in the stool

How is a colonoscopy conducted?

To perform a colonoscopy screening, an endoscope is carefully positioned in the rectum and colon. The scope transmits live video images to a monitor so the physician can examine the large intestine. At this time, biopsies of the tissue can be taken to detect whether malignant cells have developed, and precancerous polyps (growths) can be excised.

It's imperative to receive a colonoscopy procedure if your family has a history of colorectal cancer or if you are age 45 or older. A colonoscopy procedure can also be conducted if you have the following signs or symptoms regularly:

  • Bloody stools
  • Feeling bloated
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Thin or narrow stools
  • Cramps
  • Anal bleeding
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Ongoing fatigue

Get relief from GI conditions with endoscopic treatment

An endoscopic approach can allow your healthcare practitioner to diagnose and address GI concerns like blockages within the intestines, tumors, unexplained abdominal pain, and more. When you schedule a consultation at Adult Gastroenterology Associates, board-certified care for your GI health is close at hand. We look forward to helping you experience relief from GI symptoms and digestive disorders. Get in touch with our gastroenterology specialists in Tulsa, OK today to request a treatment consultation.