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Other colonic procedures

A barium enema (barium allows the colon outline to be viewed on x-ray) requires a preparation similar to that of colonoscopy, but sedation is not required.

There are a number of other specialized and invasive tests of the colon such as colon or rectal manometry (measures sensation or contractions in the colon or rectum), balloon expulsion tests (measures ability to expel and retain stool), and defecography (looks at how well the rectum and anus work when defecating) that also need some preparation. However, these may differ from one diagnostic center to another. 

Other than the discontinuing of drugs that affect the movements of the gut, no preparation is required for hydrogen breath testing, colonic scintography, and radio-opaque marker studies of gut motility. Consult the articles listed below for more information regarding these procedures.

Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy

During an upper GI endoscopy the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum may be examined. The examiner will want your stomach empty during upper endoscopy. That’s the reason you will be instructed to fast. You should inform your doctor(s) if you are diabetic or are on important medication, so that diet and medication can be planned.

When scheduling the test you should alert your doctor/endoscopist if you are taking anticoagulants or aspirin. These drugs increase the risk of bleeding if biopsy, cauterization, polyp removal, or esophageal dilatation is performed during the procedure. If your doctor agrees, aspirin should be stopped a week before. If you are to have sedation for the test you should arrange to have someone pick you up when you have recovered from the drug’s effects.

Other upper gut examinations

For radiological examinations of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, you are asked to swallow barium and x-rays are taken of the organs of interest. The preparation for this is similar to that of endoscopy, but anticoagulants need not be stopped, and no sedation is needed. Esophageal examinations such as esophageal manometry and 24-hour pH probe (measures acid exposure in the esophagus) require an initial placement of a tube in the esophagus. Since that may cause retching, patients should be fasting.

However, the 24-hour pH probe measures the esophagus’s behavior during a normal day, so eating and other activities should be as normal as possible. Moreover, since drugs that affect esophageal motility may confound the results, they should be discontinued at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Working with Your Doctor

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Successful relationships with healthcare providers are an important part of managing life with a long-term digestive disorder.

Doctor–Patient Communication

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