By Gastro MD
So, your doctor wants you to have a colonoscopy? No worries. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect and why you shouldn’t be nervous.
Your doctor may prescribe a colonoscopy if you have gastrointestinal problems, such as blood in the stool or a change in bowel habits that lasts more than two weeks. The procedure is also
prescribed for patients with an increased risk of developing colon cancer due to a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or colorectal polyps or a family history of colorectal cancer. It’s used to check your colon for polyps, tumors and other health problems such as ulcers or hemorrhoids.
What Is a Colonoscopy, and How Is It Performed?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that checks the inside of the large intestine by inserting an endoscope into the rectum. An endoscope is a long, tubular instrument that is about a half-inch in diameter with a light and camera on one end. It lets your physician examine the entire colon to view tissue in detail and check for irregular growths or other problems; it can even take biopsies, if necessary, and remove polyps that can lead to colon cancer. So, that’s pretty neat!
Your colonoscopy will be a quick procedure—usually 15 minutes. The endoscope will transmit the images of the inner walls of the rectum and colon in real-time on a screen.
Preparing for and During Your Colonoscopy
Before your colonoscopy, your doctor you will be prescribed medications that will clean out your colon.
While the procedure is relatively painless, it can make people feel anxious and uncomfortable, which may contribute to a feeling of discomfort. During the procedure you will be sedated (put to sleep) and you will not feel any discomfort.
Having your questions answered helps, too, so if you have any concerns or more questions after this article, talk to your doctor; she’ll be happy to help you understand your colonoscopy process.
Aftercare and Recovery
Expect to stay in a recovery room for at least half an hour after your colonoscopy for observation while the sedatives wear off. You should be able to resume your regular activities in a few hours but plan on having someone drive you home from the procedure.
Some patients have reported feeling some pain or cramping after the procedure, particularly when passing gas.
Expect the doctor to tell you when you can eat and drink again. You should be able to resume your regular diet within a day or so. Still, the doctor might recommend avoiding solid foods for two days following the colonoscopy procedure and only consuming liquids.
For more info on what to expect before, during and after a colonoscopy, contact Gastro MD. We are cutting-edge clinical gastroenterology practice and set the standard in digestive health care.