If you’re facing a colonoscopy, you’re probably feeling a mix of nerves and anticipation.
It’s normal to feel this way!
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to visually examine the large intestine for abnormalities.
The colon, also known as the large intestine, is a long, tube-like organ that is responsible for absorbing water and nutrients from digested food and eliminating solid waste from the body.
A colonoscopy is typically performed as a diagnostic procedure to investigate the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain, bleeding from the rectum, or changes in bowel habits.
It can also be used as a screening tool to detect early signs of colorectal cancer.
During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube equipped with a tiny camera is inserted through the rectum.
The preparation for a colonoscopy involves a special diet and cleansing the colon with laxatives.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare.
The procedure itself is relatively quick, and you will be under sedation the whole time.
Recovery from the sedation can take a few hours, during which you will need to rest.
Most people can return to their normal activities the next day.
So now that you have an overview of this procedure, allow us to cover this topic in depth with some more information on colonoscopies and the benefits of having a colonoscopy done.
What is a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.
A routine colonoscopy can help find cancerous growths in your colon or rectum. It can also help find and remove precancerous growths, which can help prevent colon cancer. During a colonoscopy, your doctor will insert a long, flexible tube (colonoscope) into your rectum. The colonoscope will be equipped with a light and a camera.
This allows your doctor to see the inside of your colon and rectum. Your doctor may also take biopsies (tissue samples) during the procedure.
Why It Is Done
A Colonoscopy will be done for a number of reasons as follow:
Treating a specific issue:
A colonoscopy may be performed to treat an underlying issue and may require insertion of a stent, removal of an object, or polyp removal.
Looking for Colon Polyps
Having one or more polyps removed during one colonoscopy can significantly reduce your risk of colon cancer. If you have had polyps before, talk to your doctor about what your follow-up procedure should be.
Colon Cancer Screening
If you’re 45 or older and at average risk of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years. If you’re between ages 20-44, have a higher risk of colon cancer, or fall into a high-risk group, you can start getting tested at an earlier age.
Testing And Checking for Intestinal Signs and Symptoms
Are you suffering from abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea or other intestinal problems?
A colonoscopy can help your doctor explore possible underlying biological or anatomical causes so that you can receive prompt medical attention.
How Is It Done?
Your colon, also known as the large intestine, is an important part of your digestive system.
It’s a long, coiled tube that absorbs water and nutrients from the food you eat and eliminates waste from your body.
A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your colon for abnormalities.
The colonoscopy procedure uses a long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope) to look at the inside of the colon and rectum.
A colonoscopy is usually done as an outpatient procedure, which means you can go home the same day.
The entire procedure usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. You will be given a sedative through an IV in your arm to help you relax during the procedure.
You will likely be awake but will not be able to remember much of the procedure.
What Are the Risks?
There are some risks associated with colonoscopies, but they are generally rare and minor.
The most common risk is bleeding from the site where the tube was inserted.
Other risks include perforation (tearing) of the colon, infection, and reactions to the sedatives used during the procedure.
Another risk could also include a reaction to the sedative used during the exam.
Overall, colonoscopies are safe and effective procedures that can help save lives by detecting colorectal cancer early.
A colonoscopy is generally safe and has very few side effects.
However, as with any medical procedure, there are some risks involved.
What Are the Benefits?
A colonoscopy can help find ulcers, polyps, tumors, and areas of bleeding and inflammation. It can also be used to collect a tissue sample (biopsy) for testing.
This procedure is also used to screen for colorectal cancer.
A colonoscopy is a safe and effective way to detect and treat many problems of the colon.
It is important to have a colonoscopy if you are 50 years of age or older, or if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
Preparation for a Colonoscopy
The most important part of preparing for a colonoscopy is doing a thorough job of cleansing the colon so that the doctor can get a clear view.
Most people will need to take a laxative the night before the procedure in order to clean out their system.
This can cause cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. It is important to stay hydrated during this time by drinking plenty of clear fluids.
You may also be asked to follow a special diet the day before the procedure, which typically includes clear liquids and light foods.
Instructions for preparation will be advised by your doctor.
How Often Should You Have One
Most people with an average risk for colon cancer should start having colonoscopies at age 50.
If you have a family history of colon cancer or other risk factors, you may need to start colonoscopies earlier.
Your doctor will let you know how often you need to have a colonoscopy based on your individual risk factors.
Contact Dr. Schneider
In conclusion, no one likes the idea of having a colonoscopy, but colonoscopies are an important tool in the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer and can ultimately save your life.
While they may be uncomfortable, the fact is that they save lives. If you are over the age of 50, or if you have a family history of colorectal cancer, be sure to talk to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy.
Having a colonoscopy is an important part of maintaining your health, and it’s not as bad as you may think.
But it is important to understand the benefit of having a colonoscopy done.
While some polyps are benign, others can develop into cancer. Anyone can get colon polyps, but there are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing them.
These include age, family history, smoking, and certain medical conditions. If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk.
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.