Colonoscopy is a procedure used to examine the large intestine (colon) and rectum. During a Colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) is inserted into the rectum. A tiny video camera with a light source is located at the tip of the tube which allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon.
Doctors perform Colonoscopy to evaluate:
- Investigate intestinal signs and symptoms
- Explore causes of abdominal pain, bleeding, constipation and diarrhea
- Screen for colon cancer
- Look for polyps and remove if any are found.
The colon needs to get empty prior to the procedure and in order to do that, doctor will ask the patient to:
– Follow a special diet the day before the examination. Simple diet must be followed and the patient shouldn’t eat nor drink anything post midnight, the night before the test.
– Doctor will usually recommend taking a laxative, in either pill form or liquid form. You may be instructed to take the laxative the night before your colonoscopy.
– In some cases, you may need to use an enema kit — either the night before the exam or a few hours before the exam — to empty your colon.
– Remind your doctor of your medications at least a week before the exam — especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems or if you take medications or supplements that contain iron.
Colonoscopy procedure usually takes 15 to 30 mins for the complete examination.
Colonoscopy is a safe procedure and complications rarely occur during the procedure.
However, the procedure does have a few potential complications, which may include:
– Perforation (tear in the gut wall)
– Reaction to sedation
One may feel bloated and pass gas a few hours after the procedure.
You may also notice a small amount of blood with your first bowel movement after the exam. Usually this isn’t a cause for alarm.
Consult doctor if you continue to pass blood or blood clots or if you have persistent abdominal pain or fever.