Explore the Differences Between a Colonoscopy and an Endoscopy Procedure


Have you been experiencing abdominal pain or bowel conditions? An endoscopic procedure can offer a minimally invasive solution to pinpoint the gastrointestinal (GI) problems affecting your health. Our gastrointestinal doctors in New Orleans, LA utilize endoscopic services to examine the different areas of the GI tract. These options help lessen the need for more invasive procedures and long healing times.

An endoscopy is a commonly performed procedure that assists with the diagnosis of conditions found in the esophagus, throat, stomach, and the rest of the abdomen. Among the more well-known endoscopic assessments is a colonoscopy screening, which aids in identifying and reducing the development of colon and rectal cancer.

What are the differences between an endoscopy vs. a colonoscopy, and how might these endoscopic procedures improve your health? Continue reading to learn more about these exams offered at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates. Our experienced team works to ensure patients in and around the New Orleans, LA area can get the treatment needed for digestive health.

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

Even though an endoscope (a long, thin, and bendable device containing a camera and light) is used to obtain high-resolution pictures for both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, there are a few primary distinctions between these two procedures.

In instances when the upper portion of the digestive tract must be viewed, an upper endoscopy is conducted. With this approach, the endoscope is positioned in your mouth. It then travels through the throat and into the esophagus, stomach, and small bowel. Comparatively, a colonoscopy might be conducted if the lower part of the gastrointestinal tract needs to be examined. With a colonoscopy procedure, the endoscope is positioned in the rectum and advanced into the large intestine (colon).

Further differences involve the preparation process for colonoscopies vs. endoscopies. When preparing for a colonoscopy procedure, you’ll likely only consume clear liquids for 24 hours prior to your appointment. Instructions on how to clear your bowel of stool will be given and might involve the use of laxatives or cleansing solutions. This permits easy assessment of the rectum and large intestine.

Prepping for an upper endoscopy is simpler. You should fast from drinks or food for around six hours before the procedure and cease taking certain blood thinners as recommended by your doctor. If you'd like to learn more about the variations between an endoscopy vs. a colonoscopy, request an appointment with our Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates team to have your questions answered.

How are endoscopies performed?

During the course of an endoscopy exam, a slender, flexible device (endoscope) is positioned into your mouth and carefully advanced beyond the throat and eventually into the small intestine. If necessary, special equipment can be attached to the endoscope to help provide solutions for a variety of concerns. These tools can be utilized to collect tissue for biopsies, remove food that's stuck in the upper GI tract, or open a narrowed area (stricture).

Reasons for needing an endoscopy procedure vary. If you notice symptoms that affect your health, our endoscopy specialists in New Orleans, LA may recommend scheduling this type of exam. An endoscopy can allow our team to identify the ideal treatment option for your ailment. In many instances, an endoscopy can be a helpful approach if you experience the following:

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

How do colonoscopies work?

During a colonoscopy exam, an endoscope is gently positioned in the rectum and colon. The device sends real-time video images to a monitor so your physician can assess the large intestine. During this time, tissue biopsies can be taken to learn if cancer cells are present, and precancerous polyps (growths) can be excised.

It's crucial to have a colonoscopy procedure if you have a family history of colon cancer or when you turn 45. Colonoscopies can also be performed if you notice the following signs or symptoms more consistently:

  • Feeling bloated
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Thin or narrow stools
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Bloody stools

Find relief from GI problems with endoscopic options

An endoscopic approach can allow your healthcare practitioner to find and treat GI conditions like intestinal blockages, growths, unexplained abdominal discomfort, and other problems. When you schedule a consultation at Metropolitan Gastroenterology Associates, compassionate care for your digestive issues is close at hand. We look forward to helping you get relief from your GI symptoms and bowel disorders. Get in touch with our gastroenterology specialists in New Orleans, LA now to arrange for a treatment consultation.