What are the Main Differences Between a Colonoscopy and an Endoscopy Procedure?


Are you noticing abdominal discomfort or a bowel disorder? Endoscopic procedures can provide a minimally invasive option to assess the digestive problems you might be dealing with. Our gastrointestinal doctors in Denver, CO utilize endoscopic processes in an effort to view the various areas of the gastrointestinal system. Such options help lessen the need for more intensive procedures and long-lasting recovery periods.

An endoscopy is a procedure that aids in the detection of diseases affecting the throat, stomach, and abdomen. Among the more well-known endoscopic services is the colonoscopy screening, which is integral in diagnosing and reducing colon cancer.

How do colonoscopies vs. endoscopies differ, and how might these endoscopic options help monitor your health? Keep reading to discover additional details about these procedures at Colorado Gastroenterology. Our experienced team strives to ensure all patients in the Denver, CO area find the treatment needed for gastrointestinal health.

What are the variations between colonoscopies and endoscopies?

Although an endoscope (a long, thin, and flexible device fitted with a light and camera) is utilized to take high-resolution photos for both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, there are several differences between these procedures.

When the upper part of the digestive system needs to be viewed, an upper endoscopy (also called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) may be performed. With this option, the endoscope device is positioned in your mouth and advances down the throat into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. In contrast, a colonoscopy is advised when the lower portion of the gastrointestinal system needs to be examined. To perform a colonoscopy process, the endoscope device will be positioned in the rectum and moved up into the colon.

Other differences include how you prepare for the procedures. When having a colonoscopy procedure, you’ll likely only drink clear liquids for 24 hours prior to your appointment. Directions on how to clear your GI system of stool will be given and could involve a laxative or cleansing solution. This provides for/clears the way for easy assessment of the rectum and intestines.

The preparation process for an upper endoscopy procedure is not as involved. You should fast from drinks or food 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 variations between endoscopies vs. colonoscopies, arrange for an appointment with our Colorado Gastroenterology team to have your questions answered.

How are endoscopy procedures administered?

During an endoscopy, a flexible, long device (called an endoscope) is inserted into the mouth and carefully advanced down the throat and esophagus until it reaches the small intestine. When required, special equipment can be connected to the endoscope to help provide solutions for a number of conditions. Such tools can be used to take tissue samples, remove food trapped in the upper GI tract, or dilate a stricture (narrowed area).

Reasons for requiring an endoscopy procedure can vary according to individual needs. Should you have symptoms that affect your quality of life, our endoscopy specialists in Denver, CO may recommend this type of exam. It can help our team select the ideal treatment option for your ailment. Generally speaking, an endoscopy exam can be a helpful approach to take if you experience the following:

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

How are colonoscopies conducted?

During a colonoscopy screening, an endoscope is carefully positioned in the rectum and moved into the large intestine. The device sends real-time video images to a monitor where your physician can assess the large intestine. During the procedure, tissue biopsies can be extracted to detect whether cancerous cells are present, and precancerous polyps (growths) can be excised.

You should have a colonoscopy if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or when you turn 45. Colonoscopy exams can also be scheduled if you notice the following signs or symptoms regularly:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in the stool
  • Thin or narrow stools
  • Cramps
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Feeling bloated
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Unintended weight loss

Find relief from GI conditions with endoscopic options

An endoscopic approach can allow your physician to diagnose and treat GI issues like blockages within the intestines, growths, unexplained abdominal pain, and other problems. When you schedule a consultation at Colorado Gastroenterology, experienced care for your digestive conditions is close at hand. We are here to help you experience relief from your GI issues and intestinal conditions. Reach out to our digestive health practice in Denver, CO now to request a treatment consultation.