What Is a Colonoscopy?

The colonoscopy exam

A colonoscopy is an exam that a doctor—usually a gastroenterologist—performs to visually examine the inside of your colon. Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for detecting abnormalities within the colon.

In addition to searching for early signs of colon cancer, a colonoscopy can be used to diagnose the reason for a number of gastrointestinal (GI) issues, including

  • Chronic, unexplained abdominal or rectal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • An unexplained change in bowel habits (eg, persistent diarrhea)
  • The feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

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  • This is another precancerous growth on the colon wall
  • If caught early, it can be removed, aiding in the prevention of colon cancer
  • Difficult to detect without effective prepping and an accurate colonoscopy
  • An abnormal tissue growth on the wall of the colon
  • Usually slow growing and the first sign of potential colon cancer
  • The colonoscopy is one of the most accurate methods of detection
  • If caught early, polyps can be removed, aiding in the prevention of colon cancer
  • Symptoms may not be noticeable
  • Abnormal bands of tissue that grow in the body
  • Similar to scar tissue
  • Most commonly caused by abdominal surgical procedures
  • Common complication is intestinal obstruction—an adhesion wraps around the intestine and prevents flow of the digestive tract
  • May relieve itself or require medical intervention
  • A form of inflammatory bowel disease that includes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the rectum and colon
  • Ulcers form where inflammation destroys the cells of the colon wall, eventually bleeding and producing pus
  • Colon inflammation will make the colon empty frequently, causing diarrhea
  • A chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the entire wall of the colon
  • Can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus
  • Symptoms vary greatly
  • Primary symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea (may contain blood), constipation, vomiting, weight loss, or weight gain
  • If polyps or lesions are left undetected, they can develop into cancer
  • Generally, polyps grow very slowly
  • Early detection and removal is essential to cancer prevention
  • Colonoscopy is the key to early detection and prevention
  • Involves the formation of pouches (diverticula) on the outside of the colon
  • Results when pouches become inflamed or infected due to blockage, possibly by feces or food particles
  • Symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, cramping, and constipation
  • A condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix
  • Mild cases may resolve without treatment, but most require removal
  • Removal is typically performed using minimally invasive surgery

Who is a candidate for colonoscopy?

Both men and women should have their first colonoscopy by age 50, unless there are reasons for your healthcare provider to recommend one sooner. These reasons may include a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, or any of the GI issues listed above. Race is another factor. African Americans should have their first colonoscopy screening by age 45, as they have a higher risk of and death rate from colon cancer.

Colonoscopy may be contraindicated in some patients, including elderly patients and patients with bleeding disorders, pulmonary disease, or a prior allergic reaction to sedation. However, in a vast majority of patients, the benefits outweigh the risks, and colonoscopy is an important step in preventing colon cancer. It is important for you to talk to your doctor about the risks associated with colonoscopy to be sure the procedure is right for you.

Indication for MOVIPREP

MOVIPREP® (PEG-3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution) is an osmotic laxative indicated for cleansing of the colon as a preparation for colonoscopy in adults 18 years of age or older.

Important Safety Information about MOVIPREP

  • Do not take MOVIPREP® (PEG-3350, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium ascorbate and ascorbic acid for oral solution) if you have a gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction (a blockage in your bowel), bowel perforation (an opening in the wall of your stomach or intestine), gastric retention (problems with food and fluid emptying from your stomach), ileus (bowel muscle unable to move stomach contents), toxic colitis (damage to the thickness of the intestinal wall) or toxic megacolon (an extremely dilated or distended colon with fever and/or abdominal pain at times), or if you have a known allergy to MOVIPREP or any of its components.
  • It is important to drink sufficient liquids before, during, and after the use of MOVIPREP. Liquid and blood salt changes can lead to serious side effects including abnormal heartbeats, seizures, and kidney problems. Talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP if you take any medications that increase the risk of blood salt abnormalities or if you have known or suspected low blood salt (sodium) level (hyponatremia).
  • If you have kidney problems or if you take medication that affects kidney function, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • If you have suspected bowel blockage or a suspected opening in the wall of your stomach or intestine, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP if you have problems swallowing, if you have gastric reflux, or if you are predisposed to aspiration.
  • If you have a condition that destroys red blood cells called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • Please be advised that MOVIPREP contains 131 mg of phenylalanine per treatment.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP.
  • In clinical studies with MOVIPREP, the most common side effects for split dosing were malaise (feeling uneasy), nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, vomiting, and upper stomach pain. The most common side effects for evening only dosing were stomach swelling (abdominal distension), anal discomfort, thirst, nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, sleep disorder, rigors (body shakes), hunger, malaise (feeling uneasy), vomiting, and dizziness.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch/ or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For product information, adverse event reports, and product complaint reports, please contact:

Salix Product Information Call Center
Phone: 1-800-508-0024
Fax: 1-510-595-8183
Email: salixmc@dlss.com

Please click here for complete Prescribing Information for MOVIPREP. 

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