If you have never had a Colonoscopy before, you may be curious about the procedure and precisely what it entails. Below you can learn more about your colon and how a Colonoscopy can help to make you healthier.
The colon (large intestine) is the last portion of the digestive system. The colon consists of a hollow tube about five feet long that is responsible for absorbing water and minerals from solid wastes before they are eliminated from the body.
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that uses a long flexible tube to examine the inside of the colon. The colonoscope is equipped with a tiny video camera and light at the end, allowing gastroenterologists to carefully guide the instrument in any direction to look inside the colon.
Why a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an important procedure to check for colon cancer and to treat colon polyps. Polyps are abnormal growths on the inside lining of the intestine; though most are not cancerous, polyps still have the potential to be cancerous. Removal of a polyp is called a polypectomy and is done during a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is also an effective and safe method to examine other problems a patient may suffer from such as blood loss, abdominal or rectal pain, changes in bowel habits (chronic diarrhea), and active bleeding from the large bowel.
A colonoscopy is also useful by allowing other instruments to pass through the colonoscope. Tissue from abnormal looking growth or to biopsy can taken safely for further analysis that may avoid surgery or to better prepare the physicians on what type of surgery may need to be done.
Preparing for your Colonoscopy
Patients will be given specific instructions to prepare for their scheduled colonoscopy. These instructions will include a special diet the day before the procedure and specifics regarding medication. A clear liquid diet is usually the designated diet before a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy may require some anesthesia which may make patients feel a bit woozy. Under these circumstances, patients are required to have a licensed driver take them back home (taxi’s are not allowed).
During your Colonoscopy
Steps will be taken to ensure that you will be as comfortable as possible. An intravenous line (IV) will be placed to give you medication to make you feel more at ease. You may remain awake and cooperative, but the drug will prevent you from remembering much of the experience.
You may feel some discomfort as the scope is carefully passing. You may feel the need to move your bowels as air is introduced to help advance the scope.
A colonoscopy is a safe procedure, but with any medical procedure, complications may occur. Be sure to discuss any concerns or specifics about the procedure with your doctor.
After the Colonoscopy
Plan on resting for the remainder of the day after your procedure. Minor problems may arise, such as bloating, gas, or cramping, but should pass away within 24 hours.
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