What Exactly Is A Colonoscopy?

colonoscopy procedureWhen you doctor asks you to undergo a colonoscopy, they want to take a closer look at the inner lining of your large intestine. This consists of both the rectum and colon areas of the body.

The procedure involved using a very thin tube that is extremely flexible and easy to insert. This particular two-foot tube is called a colonoscope and has a tiny camera at the tip of it so the doctor can view the inside of your intestine. The camera is typically capable of taking pictures as well as reference.

What Are They Looking For?

Your doctor will utilize this medical procedure to look for colon polyps, cancer, ulcers, and other areas of inflammation in the body. If need be, say if the doctor finds something unusual they may take tiny tissue samples so they can perform a biopsy. This is most commonly done on patients they believe to have cancerous growths in the colon area. This is why this procedure is recommended for many middle-aged men as a preventative screening for precancerous growths that appear on the rectum or colon.

How Do I Prepare For This Type of Test?

Before undergoing the procedure, your doctor will need you to flush out your colon, so it is clean and clear for the tube to be fully inserted inside of it. This preparation period takes one to two days to do. Most measures require you to avoid solid food for one to two days and only stay on a clear liquid diet. Many times they will prescribe a sort of laxative, like digest it, to clear our your system. It’s recommended that you properly prepare by taking off a couple of days from work as you will be making frequent visits to the bathroom as your digestive system is flushed out.

Do I Have To Visit The Hospital For The Procedure?

Most medical professionals can perform the procedure at their office or clinic. If you doctor regularly works out of the hospital, they may prefer to do the procedure there, as most of their equipment is readily available. You will be given a sedative, or pain medicine, via an IV in your arm. This will help you to relax and may cause you to feel fatigued.

The doctor will next insert the colonoscope tube into your rectum. Slowly they will move it to your colon. Most likely a form of air will be used to assist in inflating the colon, so the visibility of the inner lining is greater for your doctor. The camera will be hooked up to a computer screen so you can watch the procedure being done.

Cramping and the feeling of passing a bowel movement are common while the colonoscopy is going on. You need to breathe deeply and relax your abdominal muscles. Because there is extra air inserted into the colon you may pass gas around the tube during the procedure. This is very common in almost all patients as it’s a natural reaction.

You can watch a short five-minute video below of a colonoscopy.

How Long Will It Last?

A typical colonoscopy lasts for thirty to forty-five minutes as the doctor moves the colonoscope around the inner lining of the colon and inspects all the areas. Depending on what your medical professional finds, they may need to take more time to collect samples for a biopsy. This varies greatly depending on the particular circumstances of each patient. If you have more questions about the procedure, be sure to ask your doctor.

One thought to “What Exactly Is A Colonoscopy?”

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