Gastrointestinal Screening in the Illinois Valley

Colonoscopies and EGDs

If you are having problems with digestion, your physician may recommend a colonoscopy or EGD to diagnose the cause. These are safe, minimally invasive procedures that allow physicians to view the insides of the gastrointestinal system without the need of surgery or incisions. Both of these procedure are offered at Illinois Valley Community Hospital.


A colonoscopy is an exam of the colon (also called the large intestine or bowel) with a slim, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope. Colonoscopy is the most direct and complete way to see the entire lining of the colon.

What to Expect

You will be instructed to follow a clear liquid diet the day before your procedure and avoid solid foods for 24 hours. Your bowel needs to be empty before your procedure so the scope will pass through your colon more easily and allow your physician to be able to see the colon and its lining more clearly.

Colonoscopies step-by-step:

  • Sedatives are provided before the procedure to help you relax.
  • You will be asked to lie on your left side and raise one or both knees toward your chest. Your lower body will be covered with a sheet.
  • The colonoscope is lubricated and gently placed into your anus. It is then passed through the rectum and into the colon.
  • Air is put into the colon to help expand it.
  • When the procedure is finished, the scope is slowly removed.

The procedure takes 30 to 45 minutes. If you are an outpatient, normally your stay will be two to three hours. This will include check-in, procedure and recovery.


An EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is an examination of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract with a special piece of equipment called an endoscope. The upper GI tract includes the throat, esophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestines (duodenum). The endoscope also has an open channel that allows for instruments to be passed in order to take tissue samples, cauterize bleeding, or remove polyps.

What to Expect

You should arrange to have someone be with you on the day of your procedure. If you are discharged after your EGD, you will not be able to drive home due to the medications you are given during the procedure. You may eat meals or drink liquids as usual until midnight before the procedure. Try to avoid eating foods with residue or fiber, which are not easy to digest. These include fruits, vegetables, cereal, nuts, peas, beans, fried foods and bread.

EGDs step-by-step:

  • A local anesthetic is given to help avoid gagging and a sedative administered to help you relax. This may be a spray or a medication to gargle with.
  • It is important for you to try to relax and take slow, deep breaths through your nose. Every effort will be made to maintain your comfort and safety.
  • Most patients sleep through the procedure.
  • Your blood pressure, pulse and the oxygen level in your blood will be monitored. The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes to complete.

At the end of the examination, the physician will withdraw the endoscope and you will be taken to a recovery room to wait for the effect of the medications to wear off. This may take up to one hour. You will then be discharged to go home. Your physician may give you preliminary results before discharge. If any biopsy was done, these results will not be available for several days.

After your GI Procedure

You will be observed for about an hour. This is to make sure that the medicine given to you has worn off. When you are alert and able to take food and fluids, you can change clothes and go home. You may feel bloated and gaseous after the procedure, but this is expected and should go away within a few hours.

Colonoscopies are very safe procedures, but you should contact a physician immediately if:

  • You are not able to eat or drink, or are urinating less or not at all.
  • Your abdomen becomes tender and hard.
  • Your signs and symptoms are getting worse.
  • Your vomit has blood or bile in it.
  • You have severe pain in your abdomen.
  • You have a large amount of rectal bleeding (a small amount of blood from the rectum is not serious, especially if hemorrhoids are present).
  • You feel too dizzy to stand up, short of breath, or faint.