Overview of Colonoscopy | Gastroenterology


What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is an effective procedure for diagnosing large bowel abnormalities and testing for colorectal cancer and colorectal polyps. The colonoscope is a large, thin, and flexible device that provides wide views of the colon and rectum. This procedure is often performed in a patient environment with minimal discomfort and discomfort. Since it allows doctors to identify and remove certain types of colon polyps that can turn into cancer, colonoscopy is a life-saving therapeutic procedure.

How is a colonoscopy performed?

During a colonoscopy, your doctor inserts a flexible tube (called a colonoscope) with a camera on the end into your anus and into your rectum and colon. Air or carbon dioxide is sent to the colon. The doctor will look for abnormal tissue (such as polyps) and take a sample (biopsy) for a more detailed examination. This method usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

On the day of the procedure, you will be given anesthesia so that you do not feel any pain or discomfort. Since you may feel sleepy or weak before and after your colonoscopy, it is a good idea to arrange for someone to drop you off at the hospital and drive you home before the procedure. Some hospitals will not allow you to drive or leave unless there is someone to drive you.

Who should have a colonoscopy?

Screening refers to the process of examining healthy patients in an attempt to diagnose previously undiagnosed cancer or colon polyps. The goal of the screening program is to detect the disease at an early stage to allow for successful treatment. As part of the colorectal cancer screening program, colonoscopy is generally recommended for adults over 45 years of age.

It may be recommended to patients with a family history of colon or rectal cancer or polyps prior to colonoscopy and more often than to patients without a family history of cancer. Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy to evaluate symptoms such as rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, or unexplained abdominal pain.

Reasons to have a colonoscopy

Colonoscopy can be used for colon cancer (colon cancer) or colon polyps, which are growths in the lining of the colon that can sometimes become cancerous or turn into cancer. There are reasons include:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Blood in the stools
  • Pus or mucus in the stools
  • Unexplained abdominal pain
  • Changes in bowel habits such as unexplained and long-lasting diarrhoea
  • Screening and surveillance for colorectal cancer

Types of colonoscopy

Virtual colonoscopy: Virtual colonoscopy (CV), also known as CT colonography, is a new procedure that is just as effective, less invasive, safer, and faster than standard colonoscopy for colon cancer screening.

Flexible colonoscopy: Flexible sigmoidoscopy is an endoscopic procedure that allows your doctor to examine the rectum and the lower part of the colon. The sigmoidoscope is a specialized endoscope, a thin, flexible tube of light with a camera on the tip that your doctor uses to view the area.

Stool tests: Both types of stool tests are much less accurate than colonoscopy, but they are not invasive. He collects the stool at home and sends it to the laboratory. Cancer guidelines recommend stool tests every year.

Risk factors for colonoscopy

Risk factors include:

  • The bleeding continued after biopsy (tissue sample) or removal of polyps
  • Caused by the process of nausea, vomiting, bloating, or constipation or by a preparatory bowel cleansing
  • Adverse reactions to pain relievers or sedatives (medicines used to provide a relaxing and calming effect).
  • A perforation (hole) in the intestinal wall, which is a rare problem.

Preparing for a colonoscopy

Your doctor will give you instructions for bowel preparation (bowel prep). You should be on a clear liquid diet for 24 to 72 hours before your procedure.

The typical bowel prep diet includes:

  • Broth or bouillon
  • Gelatin
  • Plain coffee or tea
  • Pulp-free juice
  • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade

Procedure for colonoscopy

During the procedure

  • You will be asked to wear a hospital gown and your IV will be enabled.
  • This procedure can be performed under conscious anesthesia, often referred to as “twilight” or “general anesthesia.” Pain relievers and narcotics will be given through an IV (into your vein). You will feel relaxed and somewhat numb. This stage means that the colonoscopy is not bothersome.
  • You sleep on your left side, with your knees were pulled up to your chest.
  • A small amount of air is used to dilate the colon so that the doctor can see the walls of the colon.
  • You may feel mild cramps during the procedure. Slow, deep breathing can reduce cramps.
  • The colonoscope will be slowly withdrawn while carefully examining the lining of the intestine.
  • The procedure takes about 30 minutes. It takes about 12 minutes to move the scope five or six feet and another 12 minutes to lift it. If there are polyps to remove, the process will take longer.

After the procedure

You stay in the hospital or doctor’s office until you are fully awake. You should not drive a vehicle, operate machinery, or make important decisions for the rest of the day. A friend or family member can take it home.

You are expected to return to your normal activities the next day.

Contact your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Fever or chills
  • Frequent, bloody stools
  • Belly pain or swelling
  • A hardened belly
  • The inability to pass gas
  • Weakness


Colonoscopy is a reliable procedure, although complications can unusually occur. Besides these:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Perforation or puncture of the colon wall

When to contact the doctor

  • Have severe pain
  • Vomit
  • Pass or vomit blood
  • Have chills and fever above 101 degrees

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