Here are the Differences Between an Endoscopy and a Colonoscopy Exam


Are you experiencing abdominal pain or bowel concerns? An endoscopic procedure can serve as a minimally invasive option to assess the digestive issues you might be dealing with. Our gastrointestinal doctors in DFW perform endoscopic processes to see the various areas of the gastrointestinal tract. Such options help minimize the need for more intensive procedures and long-lasting recovery periods.

An endoscopy is a commonly performed procedure used to assist with the diagnosis of diseases impacting the throat, stomach, and abdomen. Among the more commonly conducted endoscopic services is the colonoscopy, which helps diagnose and reduce the risk of colon and rectal cancer.

What are the major differences between an endoscopy vs. a colonoscopy, and how might such endoscopic exams help monitor your health? Continue reading to discover further details about these services at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants. Our skilled team wants to ensure all patients throughout the DFW area get the treatment needed for digestive health.

What are the primary variations between a colonoscopy and an endoscopy?

While an endoscope (which is a long, thin, and bendable device fitted with a light and camera) is utilized to capture high-quality pictures for both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, there are a few differences between the exams.

If the upper area of the digestive system needs to be viewed, an upper endoscopy might be advised. With this approach, the endoscope is positioned in your mouth and advanced beyond your throat into the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. Comparatively, a colonoscopy might be performed in cases where the lower area of the GI tract needs to be assessed. To perform a colonoscopy process, the endoscope will be positioned in the rectum and moved up into the large intestine (colon).

Further differences involve how individuals prepare for colonoscopies vs. endoscopies. With a colonoscopy exam, you’ll likely only drink clear liquids for 24 hours beforehand. Information on how to clear your bowel of stool will be administered and may include a cleansing solution or laxative. This permits easy assessment of the rectum and large intestine.

The preparatory approach for an upper endoscopy is not as involved. You may need to avoid consuming any food and drink for around six hours before the endoscopy procedure and cease taking certain blood-thinning medications as recommended by your doctor. If you'd like to learn more about the variations between an endoscopy vs. a colonoscopy, arrange for a consultation with our Texas Digestive Disease Consultants team to have your questions answered.

How are endoscopy procedures carried out?

To conduct an endoscopy procedure, a flexible, long tube-like device (endoscope) is positioned into your mouth and gently advanced beyond the throat and esophagus and into the small intestine. When required, tools can be connected to the endoscope to help provide solutions for a number of ailments. Different equipment can extract tissue for biopsies, remove food that's stuck in the upper gastrointestinal tract, or dilate a stricture (narrowed area).

The causes for needing an endoscopy vary. Should you experience symptoms that interfere with your health, our endoscopy specialists in DFW may recommend this procedure. An endoscopy can help us select the ideal treatment to address your ailment. In general, an endoscopy exam can be a helpful diagnostic option if you have any of the following:

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

How is a colonoscopy conducted?

To perform a colonoscopy procedure, an endoscope is carefully placed within the rectum and advanced into the colon. The scope sends real-time video images to a monitor so your doctor can evaluate the large intestine. During the course of the exam, biopsies can be extracted to detect whether cancer cells are present, and precancerous growths (polyps) can be removed.

It's vital to undergo a colonoscopy exam if you have a family history of colon or rectal cancer or when you reach the age of 45. A colonoscopy may also be conducted if you notice the following symptoms regularly:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Bloody stools
  • Thin or narrow stools
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling bloated

Find relief from GI concerns with endoscopic options

An endoscopic approach can allow your physician to diagnose and treat concerns like blockages, tumors or other growths, unexplained abdominal pain, and other problems. When you schedule an appointment at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, experienced care for your GI issues is close at hand. We're ready to help you experience relief from GI concerns and bowel conditions. Contact our digestive health specialists in DFW today to schedule an appointment.