What You Need To Know About Colonoscopy

If your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, don't worry. You might think it would be an uncomfortable procedure, but it's not. Most of the time, a patient doesn't even remember what happened. This article explains what to expect before, during, and after a colonoscopy.

What Is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a test where a doctor examines the entire interior of the colon and rectum, looking for signs of polyps or cancer. Polyps are small growths that become cancerous over time. Doctors use a flexible, hollow, finger-sized light-emitting tube with a small video camera attached to the end. The tube, called a colonoscope, gently rolls through your colon and transmits the images to a television screen. Special instruments remove small polyps through the colonoscope and, if necessary, take tissue samples.

What to Expect

The colon must be cleaned or emptied before a colonoscopy. During the test, residues in the colon make it difficult to see the colon and rectum. To empty your colon, your doctor asks you to:

Have a Special Diet the Day Before the Colonoscopy Procedure

The day before the test, no solid food is permitted. You should limit drinks to clear liquids, such as beverages without milk or cream. The day before the test, avoid eating or drinking after midnight.

Take Laxatives

Doctors usually recommend prescription laxatives. It is typically administered in high doses via tablet or liquid. You will most likely be instructed to take a laxative the day before your colonoscopy. Alternatively, laxatives may be prescribed the night before and the morning of the procedure.

What Happens During a Colonoscopy

You lie on your left side on an examination table during your colonoscopy. The doctor then sedates you to fall asleep. They then insert a colonoscope into your rectum. It's long and narrow. With a light and a video camera on the tip, the doctor examines the colon's lining for any problems. The colonoscope also includes a tube through which the doctor blows air to inflate the colon. Doing this allows a better view of the colon's lining. During the test, your doctor may use the small neck of the colonoscope to take a small sample from your colon for a test called a biopsy. They also use it to remove abnormal growths called polyps.

What to Expect After Colonoscopy Procedure

It only takes a few minutes to recover from sedation after the test. After the test, you may feel bloated or pass gas because air is pushed out of your colon. Walking may help to alleviate pain. Before returning home, ensure that you fully comprehend the instructions provided by your doctor. If your doctor has performed a biopsy or removed a polyp, you may need to avoid certain medications, such as blood thinners, for some time.

Reach out to a medical service like Gastro Health to find out more.