Colonoscopy is a test to evaluate the colon (large intestine). Note: The following information is a general guide only. The agreements and the way tests are performed, may vary between different hospitals. Always follow the instructions of your doctor or local hospital.
On this page
- What is a colonoscopy?
- Who has a colonoscopy?
- What happens during a colonoscopy?
- What qualifications do I have to do?
- What I can expect after a colonoscopy?
- Are there any side effects or complications of colonoscopy?
- Ulcerative colitis (which causes inflammation of the colon).
- Crohn's disease (also causes inflammation of the colon).
- Diverticula (pouches that form the lining of the colon).
- Colon polyps.
- Colon cancer.
- The colon must be empty for the operator to get a clear view. You will be instructed on how to follow a special diet for a few days before the test. You are also given some laxatives to take.
- You will need someone to accompany you home, as you will be drowsy with the sedative.
- Abdominal pain. (In particular, if done gradually worse, and is different or more intense the "usual" pain that you may have.)
- Fever (high temperature).
- Spending a lot of blood from his anus.
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test where an operator (doctor or nurse) is seen in the colon. The colon is sometimes called the large bowel or large intestine. The colon is the part of the gut that comes after the small intestine. The last part of the colon leading to the rectum where feces (stools or motions) are stored before being passed out through the anus.
A colonoscope is a thin, flexible telescope. It is almost as thick as your little finger. Is passed through the anus and into the colon. Can be pushed all the way around the colon to the cecum (where the small and large intestine meet). Another test called sigmoidoscopy examines the rectum and lower colon (see separate leaflet called 'Sigmoidoscopy' for details).
The colonoscope contains fiber optic channels that allow light to shine so that the operator can see inside the colon.
The colonoscope also has a "side channel" down the devices that can happen. These can be manipulated by the operator. For example, the operator can take a small sample (biopsy) of the inner lining of the colon using a thin 'ownership' instrument that is transmitted through a side channel.
Who has a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy may be recommended if you have symptoms such as bleeding from the anus, pain in the lower abdomen, persistent diarrhea or other symptoms are believed to come from the colon. The type of conditions that can be confirmed include:
Several other conditions may also be detected. In addition, a colonoscopy is usually normal. However, a normal result can help rule out certain possible causes of the symptoms.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is usually performed as an outpatient or ambulatory. This is a routine test that is commonly done. Usually you will be given a sedative to help you relax. This is usually given by injection into a vein in the back of his hand. The sedative may make you drowsy, but not "put to sleep". There is a general anesthetic.
You lie on your side on a couch. The operator gently push the end of the colonoscope through the anus and into the colon. The operator can look down the colonoscope and inspect the lining of the colon. Also, modern colonoscopes transmit images through a camera attachment to a television monitor for the operator to view.
Air passes through a channel in the colonoscope into the colon to make the lining easier to see. This can make you feel like you want to go to the bathroom (although that will not pass stool). Air can also make you feel bloated, cause some minor pain 'wind', and can make you pass wind. This is normal and no need to be ashamed, and the operator expect this to happen.
The operator can take biopsies (small samples) of parts of the inner lining of the colon – depending on why the test is done. This is painless. Biopsy samples sent to the laboratory for analysis, and to examine under a microscope. Furthermore, it is possible to remove polyps, that can be found with a tool attached to a colonoscope. (Polyps are small growths of tissue that hangs in the inner lining of the colon.) At the end of the procedure, the colonoscope is gently pulled out.
Colonoscopy usually takes about 20-30 minutes. However, you should allow at least two hours for the whole appointment to prepare, give time for the sedative to work, colonoscopy itself and recover. Colonoscopy is usually not painful, but can be messy, especially when the colonoscope was passed for the first time this year.
What qualifications do I have to do?
You should receive hospital department instructions before your test. The type of instructions including:
What I can expect after a colonoscopy?
Most people are ready to go home after resting for half an hour or so. You may need to stay a little longer to observe if you have had polyps removed.
If you have had a sedative – you can take a little more time to get ready to go home. The sedative usually make you feel nice and relaxed. However, you should not drive, operate machinery or drink alcohol for 24 hours after having the sedative. You will need someone to accompany you home and stay with you for 24 hours until the effects have completely disappeared. Most people are able to return to normal activities after 24 hours.
The operator writes a report and sends it to the physician who ordered the colonoscopy. The result of any biopsy may take a few days that can delay the report being submitted.
The operator can also tell what they saw before leaving. However, if you have had a sedative then can not remember what they said. Therefore, you may want to have a family member or close friend with you who may be able to remember what was said.
Are there any side effects or complications of colonoscopy?
Most colonoscopies are performed without any problem. The sedative can make you feel tired or sleepy for several hours afterwards. You can spend a small amount of blood from your anus if a biopsy was taken, or if a polyp was removed.
Occasionally, the colonoscope can cause damage to the colon. This may cause bleeding, infection, and, rarely, perforation. If any of the following symptoms within 48 hours after a colonoscopy, consult a doctor immediately: