A Guide to Colonoscopy

 

What is a Colonoscopy?

This procedure involves the use of an instrument known as colonoscope. This tube like instrument consists of a camera, a light source and perhaps some other instrument to take small tissue samples for testing. The colonoscope is inserted through the anus and with the help of the camera the doctor is able to detect abnormalities in the colon.

 

What are the Benefits of Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is the most accurate way of finding and removing cancer or abnormal growth (polyps). Without a colonoscopy it may not be possible to identify dangerous growths until it is had advanced.

 

Is this Procedure Safe?

You doctor will do everything to reduce the risk but like any procedure there are certain risks involved. There have been rare instances of perforations (hole through the large intestine). Bleeding may occur when abnormal growths are removed. For any other concerns with regards to this procedure consult your doctor.

 

How to Prepare for your Colonoscopy?

  • The digestive system including the colon must be emptied before a colonoscopy, to help the doctor clearly see and detect abnormalities through the endoscope. Your doctor will advise you to consume only fluids the day before the procedure and may give you certain medication to clear the intestine of all content.
  • Follow the doctor’s direction very carefully, if stool is present in the colon the procedure may have to be repeated or rescheduled.

 

What will happen during the Procedure?

  • During the procedure you will be asked to lie on your side with your knees pulled to your chest. A sedative maybe given to help you relax. The instrument will be inserted through the anus and images from the camera will be seen by the doctor on a screen.
  • Your heart rate, breathing and oxygen level will be monitored during the exam. The procedure can take around 20-60 minutes but may vary widely. If your doctor sees any abnormal tissue or polyps, they may be removed or biopsied and tested for cancer.

 

What happens after the Procedure?

  • You will be discharged usually within 30-90 minutes. You may be a little dizzy because of the sedative and it is important for you not to drive and have someone take you home.
  • The results of the procedure will be discussed with you either on the same day or a few days later if tissue samples have been taken for examination.

 

What to Eat after the Procedure?

You can start eating after the examination, however discuss with your doctor if there are any dietary restrictions.

 

Will there be Pain after the Procedure?

Severe pain is rare after the procedure. There may cramping and bloating for a while which should resolve in a while.

 

Call your Doctor if you Experience any of the Following

  • Severe abdominal pain or if the abdomen feels hard
  • Bleeding for more than 2 bowel movements or bright red bleeding that fills half a glass
  • Fever greater than 100.4°F;(38°C)
  • Swelling, redness, or drainage at the intravenous site
  • Weakness, shortness of breath or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting blood
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