What Is A Colonoscopy ?
A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure in which the inside of the large intestine (colon and rectum) is examined. A colonoscopy is commonly used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as rectal and intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. Colonoscopies are also performed in individuals without symptoms to check for colorectal polyps or cancer. A screening colonoscopy is recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older, and for anyone with parents, siblings or children with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
Who Should Have A Colonoscopy ?
Colonoscopy is routinely recommended to adults 50 years of age or older as part of a colorectal cancer screening program. Patients with a family history of colon or rectal cancer may have their colonoscopy at age 40. Your physician may also recommend a colonoscopy exam if you have change in bowel habit or bleeding, indicating a possible problem in the colon or rectum.
A Colonoscopy May Be Necessary To : -
- Check unexplained abdominal symptoms
- Check inflammatory bowel disease (colitis)
- Verify findings of polyps or tumors located with a barium enema exam
- Examine patients who test positive for blood in the stool
- Monitor patients with a personal or family history of colon polyps or cancer.
What Happens During A Colonoscopy ?
During a colonoscopy, an experienced physician uses a colonoscope (a long, flexible instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter) to view the lining of the colon. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and advanced through the large intestine. If necessary during a colonoscopy, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis (a biopsy) and polyps can be identified and entirely removed. In many cases, a colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment of colorectal problems without the need for a major operation.
- You are asked to wear a hospital gown and remove eyeglasses.
You are given a pain reliever and a sedative intravenously (in your vein); you will feel relaxed and somewhat drowsy.
You will lie on the left side, with your knees drawn up towards your chest.
A small amount of air is used to expand the colon so the physician can see the colon walls.
You may feel mild cramping during the procedure; cramping can be reduced by taking slow, deep breaths.
The colonoscope is slowly withdrawn while the lining of your bowel is carefully examined.
- The procedure lasts from 30 minutes to one hour.
What Are The Risks ?
Colonoscopy is commonly performed and generally safe. However, in order to make an informed decision and give your consent, you need to be aware of the possible side-effects and the risk of complications of this procedure.
After Having A Colonoscopy You May : -
- Feel bloated and have slight discomfort due to trapped wind
- Feel sleepy as a result of the sedative
- Have slight bleeding from your back passage if you have had a biopsy or polyp removed
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