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


Are you experiencing abdominal pain or GI concerns? An endoscopic procedure can offer a minimally invasive way to assess the gastrointestinal problems you might be dealing with. Our gastrointestinal doctors in Hattiesburg, MS use endoscopic processes to visualize the various segments of the GI tract. Such options help lessen the need for more intensive procedures and extended healing times.

An endoscopy is a commonly performed procedure used to assist with the detection of diseases found in the esophagus, throat, stomach, and the rest of the abdomen. One of the more common endoscopic processes is a colonoscopy exam, which helps in diagnosing and reducing the risk of colon cancer.

What is the main difference between an endoscopy vs. a colonoscopy, and how might these endoscopic methods help monitor your health? Keep reading to find out further details about these exams at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC. Our experienced team works to help people in the Hattiesburg, MS area find the treatment they require for digestive issues.

What are the differences between colonoscopies and endoscopies?

While an endoscope (a long, thin, and flexible tube containing a camera and light) is utilized to secure high-quality pictures for both an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, there are several significant differences that separate these two procedures.

In cases where the upper part of the gastrointestinal system needs to be assessed, an upper endoscopy (also called an EGD or esophagogastroduodenoscopy) might be conducted. With this option, the endoscope device is placed in your mouth and travels through your throat into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Comparatively, a colonoscopy may be advised if the lower area of the gastrointestinal system needs to be evaluated. During a colonoscopy procedure, the endoscope device will be positioned in the rectum and advanced into the large intestine (colon).

Another difference involves how patients prepare for the exams. When having a colonoscopy procedure, you’ll likely be allowed to only consume clear liquids for 24 hours prior to your appointment. Instructions on how to clear your GI system of stool will be given and might involve a cleansing solution or laxative. This enables easy assessment of the rectum and colon.

The preparatory approach for an upper endoscopy procedure is easier. It's important to avoid consuming any food and drink for around six hours prior to the procedure and cease taking certain blood-thinning medications as recommended by your doctor. If you'd like to learn more about the differences between endoscopies vs. colonoscopies, arrange for a visit with our Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC team to have your questions answered.

How is an endoscopy performed?

During the course of an endoscopy exam, a slender, flexible tube (or an endoscope) is placed into your mouth and carefully advanced through the throat and into the small bowel. If required, special tools can be attached to the endoscope to help provide solutions for a range of conditions. Different tools can be used to take tissue samples, remove food that's stuck in the upper digestive tract, or widen a narrowed area (stricture).

The reasons for requiring an endoscopy vary. In the event you notice symptoms that impact your health, our endoscopy specialists in Hattiesburg, MS may recommend scheduling this exam. An endoscopy can help us identify the ideal treatment option for your condition. In many instances, an endoscopy can be a helpful tool to use if you experience any of the following:

  • Unexplained abdominal discomfort
  • Bloody stool
  • Constant bowel changes (such as diarrhea or constipation)
  • Chronic heartburn or chest pain

How is a colonoscopy carried out?

To perform a colonoscopy procedure, an endoscope is gently positioned in the rectum and colon. The device transmits live video images to a monitor where the doctor can assess the large intestine. At this time, biopsies of the tissue can be taken to detect whether malignant cells are present, and precancerous growths (polyps) can be excised.

It's vital to undergo a colonoscopy procedure if your family has a history of colon cancer or if you are 45 years or older. A colonoscopy procedure may also be advised if you have the following signs or symptoms regularly:

  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Blood in the stool
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Narrow or thin stools
  • Cramps
  • Bleeding from the rectum

Get relief from your GI problems with endoscopic procedures

Endoscopic options can allow your healthcare practitioner to detect and address issues like blockages, tumors or other growths, unexplained abdominal discomfort, and more. When you partner with the team at Hattiesburg GI Associates, PLLC, care for your GI conditions is close at hand. We look forward to helping you get relief from your digestive concerns and bowel conditions. Get in touch with our digestive health practice in Hattiesburg, MS today to request a treatment consultation.