So, your doctor has told you to get a colonoscopy done and you’re scared? Well, there’s nothing to worry about as it is not going to be a painful or terrible procedure. Since you’ll be asleep throughout the process, you’re likely to not even remember anything about the procedure when you wake up.
What is Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test that enables a doctor to examine your large intestine (rectum and colon). The procedure is done with the help of a flexible camera, which is known as a scope. This instrument is long, flexible, comes with a camera, and has the ability to painlessly remove tissues.
A colonoscopy is done to check out various symptoms inside the large intestine like abdominal pain, bleeding, and irregular bowel habits. Moreover, it also helps to examine the possible signs of polyps and colon cancer.
Why is a Colonoscopy Done?
The colonoscopy procedure is performed for the following reasons:
- Investigate intestinal symptoms and signs: A coloscopy helps a doctor investigate the possible reasons for rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, and various other problems related to the large intestine.
- Screen colon cancer: If your age is 45 or more, you are at risk of colon cancer. There won’t be any other risk factors for colon cancer here other than age. Keeping this in mind, colonoscopy doctors recommend their patients get a colonoscopy done every 10 years. However, the doctor can ask to get the procedure done frequently if there are other risks included.
- Examine polyps: If you have gotten polyps removed recently, your doctor might ask you to get a follow-up colonoscopy done. This would help the doctor look for any additional polyps and remove them if needed. Also, this procedure helps ensure there is no risk of colon.
- Treat different issues: In some cases, colonoscopy is also used for different treatment purposes like putting a stent or removing something from your colon.
What Happens During the Procedure of Colonoscopy?
As the first step of colonoscopy prep, the doctor will ask you to wear a gown. Next, you will be given either anesthesia or sedation. In some cases, the doctor combines sedatives with pain medication and gives them directly into the bloodstream to minimize discomfort.
Next, you’ll be made to lay on your side, with your knees drawn in the direction of your next. A colonoscope will then be inserted into your rectum.
The scope, or colonoscope, which is long enough to go all the way up to the colon, contains a tube and a light. This allows the doctor to pump water, air, or carbon dioxide into your colon. The water or air helps inflate the colon, providing a clearer view of the colon’s lining.
Importantly, you may feel some stomach cramps or the urge to have a bowel movement while the scope moves or air or water is introduced.
Moreover, the scope also has a tiny video camera at the top of it. The camera produces images and sends them to an external monitor, which helps the doctor examine the inside of the colon.
As for the time, a colonoscopy usually takes around thirty to sixty minutes.