What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to see the lining of the rectum and entire colon by gently inserting a soft flexible, long, narrow tube into the anus and advanced into the rectum and colon.
Why is a Colonoscopy Performed?
A colonoscopy is usually done to help diagnose:A routine screening for cancer
- In patients that have had previous polyps
- Changes in bowel habits
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
A colonoscopy can show inflammation, ulcers, polyps, tumors, and bleeding.
What preparation is required?
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow. It is very important that you follow the instructions, if the colon and rectum is not completely empty of stool the procedure may have to be cancelled and rescheduled.
Tell your doctor in advance about any medications you are taking. Your doctor may need to adjust your usual dosage prior to the procedure.
You will be sedated for this procedure, please make arrangements for someone to be at the hospital with you and to drive you home.
What can I expect during the Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is usually well-tolerated however, you might experience some pressure, bloating or cramping at various times during the procedure. You will be placed on your side while the colonoscope is guided through your rectum to your large intestine to examine the lining. In order to examine the lining of the colon thoroughly, your doctor will slowly insert and withdraw the instrument. The procedure normally takes anywhere from 30 – 45 minutes.
What happens after a Colonoscopy?
Your doctor will explain the results to you after the procedure. You may experience some mild cramping or bloating due to the air that was placed in the colon during your procedure. This should disappear when you pass gas. You will be able to eat a regular diet after the procedure unless your doctor states otherwise, and resume your regular activities. Do not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours after your procedure due to the sedatives you were given.
Although complications after a colonoscopy are rare, it’s important to notify your doctor if you experience severe abdominal pain, fever, chills, or rectal bleeding of more than one-half cup. Bleeding can occur up to several days after the procedure.