Nathan Schneider, MD, FACS, provides colonoscopies (and endoscopies) at the Keokuk County Health Center Specialty Clinic. Dr. Schneider received his medical education from the University of Iowa, completed his residency at Iowa Health Des Moines, and is certified by the American Board of Surgery and General Surgery. He is also the Medical Director for the Mercy Iowa City Vein Center.

To schedule a colonoscopy with Dr. Schneider, please call your Primary Care Provider for a referral. Colonoscopies are offered the 3rd Friday of each month.

Has your doctor recommended that you have a procedure called a colonoscopy?

At Keokuk County Health Center, these procedure will be done in a designated procedures room. The following information will help you understand the procedure and the required preparation. It answers some of the most commonly asked questions. If you have additional questions, talk to your doctor or nurse for more information.

If you are having a colonscopy procedure, please check in to the Admitting Area (main, front entrance) of Keokuk County Health Center 1 hour prior to your scheduled appointment time.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an examination of the lining of the colon with a lighted, flexible tube about the thickness of your finger. The doctor will insert the tube through your rectum and up through your colon, checking for abnormalities. Video equipment projects the image of the colon onto a TV screen and pictures may be taken for medical documentation. Often during the colonoscopy, your doctor may perform other minor procedures such as a polyp removal. In addition, if necessary, a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) can be taken for examination in the lab. Please note that biopsies are taken for many reasons and do not necessarily imply cancer. You will not feel any sensation or discomfort when the biopsies are performed.

Possible complications or risks of colonoscopy: Colonoscopy is generally a safe procedure. As with any medical procedure, however, there are some risks associated with the procedure and with the sedation used.

Perforation and bleeding are the most common of the major complications associated with colonoscopy. Perforation is a tear through the wall of the bowel that may allow leakage of intestinal fluids. Perforations are generally treated with hospitalization, antibiotics and possible surgery. As mentioned, another possible complication is bleeding, usually at the site of a biopsy or polyp removal. Most cases of bleeding stop without treatment or can be controlled at the time of the procedure. Rarely, blood transfusions or other treatments may be required. There is also a risk of having a reaction to a sedative or antibiotic given during the exam. In most cases, medications are available to counteract this reaction.

Although complications after colonoscopy are rare, they can be serious and life-threatening. It is important for you to be aware of early signs that something might be wrong. You should contact your doctor if you feel severe abdominal pain, dizziness, fever, chills or rectal bleeding after the colonoscopy.

General Information

The colonoscopy will take about 45 minutes, but expect the visit to last from 2 to 4 hours to allow for preparation and recovery time.

Because you will be sedated you will not be able to drive after the procedure, therefore, you must arrange for a responsible adult (over age 18) to accompany you after your colonoscopy. Your procedure will not begin until a responsible adult driver is present. This person should remain in the hospital during your entire visit so that they are available as soon as you are ready to be discharged.

Complications are rare. However, there are potential complications associated with all medical procedures. These will be explained to you on the day of your colonoscopy before you sign the consent for the procedure.

Be sure to tell the doctor who ordered your test if you are on Coumadin, warfarin, blood-thinners or any anti-platelet medications. You may need special instructions. Some of the anti-platelet drugs are listed below:

  • Aggrenox (aspirin plus dipyridamole)
  • Plavix (clopidogrel)
  • Persantine (dipyridamole)

For the doctor to see the lining of your colon, it must be free from stool. You will have to take an oral laxative solution (a bowel prep) to clean out your bowel. Specific prep instructions vary, but the prep usually begins 1 to 2 days before your procedure. Please see your prep instructions (given separately) to understand what you should be doing the day before or two days before your colonoscopy to help clean out your bowels for the procedure. It is VERY important to follow these instructions carefully.

If you have severe heart or liver disease or any kidney disease you should not use the phospho-soda bowel preparation. Also, if you take medicine for blood pressure or heart disease (ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers), diuretics (water pills) or certain arthritis medicines (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs-sometimes called NSAIDS) you should not use the phospho-soda preparation unless instructed to do so by your health care provider.

A regular colonoscopy exam is very important starting at age 50 or sooner if there is a family history. In addition, talk with a physician if you experience any of these symptoms.

  • Irregular bowel habits, including constipation and diarrhea
  • A constant feeling that you need to have a bowel movement
  • Rectal bleeding or bloody stools
  • Frequent stomach pains or cramps

Following the Procedure

You will be transported back to your room and observed closely for one hour. The nursing staff will periodically check your vital signs. You may experience some abdominal discomfort and bloating afterwards. Air is put into the colon during the procedure. You will feel better if you expel the air.

You will be able to resume your regular diet unless instructed otherwise. When you are fully awake and taking fluids well, your IV will be removed. Your physician will discuss the findings of your exam with you. Because of the after affects of the medication you are advised that for the remainder of the day you should not:

  • Return to work
  • Drive a car or motor vehicle
  • Operate any machinery (including kitchen equipment)
  • Drink alcohol

You should call your physician if you develop:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Temperature of 100 degrees or higher
  • Nausea or vomiting

Don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns and any questions you have about colonoscopy with your health care provider.