What Is a Colonoscopy?

In the process of colonoscopy, doctor uses a thin flexible camera to check for abnormalities or disease in the lower intestine or colon.

Colon is the lowest portion of gastrointestinal tract that takes in the food, absorbs nutrients, and disposes off waste. The colon is attached to the anus via the rectum. During colonoscopy, doctor can take tissue samples for biopsy. They can also remove abnormal tissue such as polyps.

Why a Colonoscopy Is Performed?

A colonoscopy can be perform as screening for colon cancer and other problems. The screening can help doctor identify the following:

  • Any existing signs of cancers and other problems
  • Explore the cause of unexplained changes in bowel habits
  • Evaluate symptoms of pain or bleeding located in the abdominal area
  • Find a reason for weight loss, chronic constipation, or diarrhea

Risks of a Colonoscopy:

Colonoscopy is a routine procedure, and there can be lasting effects from this test. In the vast majority of cases, the benefits of detecting problems and beginning treatment far outweigh the risks of complications from a colonoscopy.

Some of the rare complications of a colonoscopy are as follows:

  • Bleeding from a biopsy site if a biopsy was done
  • A reaction to the sedative
  • Tears in the rectal wall or colon

How is a Colonoscopy Performed?

Most of the people get a sedative, usually in the form of a pill. When the procedure is going on, one needs to lie on a side on a padded examination table. Your doctor may position you with your knees close to your chest to get a better angle to your colon.

While you are on a side and sedated, the doctor will guide a flexible, lit tube called a colonoscope into the anus. Gently, they will guide it up through the rectum and into the colon. A camera is  on one  end of the colonoscope that transmits images to the  monitor that  the doctor will be watching.

After Colonoscopy:

After the completion of colonoscopy procedure , one may need to wait for about an hour to allow the sedative wear off. You’ll be advised not to drive for the next 24 hours, until its full effects fade.

In addition, it is likely to  have some gas and bloating from the gas placed by doctor in your colon. Give it time to get out of the system. If it continues for days after, it could mean that there’s a problem and you should contact the  doctor.

A little bit of blood in the  stool after the procedure is normal. However, consult with the  doctor if you continue to pass blood or blood clots, experience abdominal pain, or have a fever over 100°F.