COLONOSCOPY DEFINITIONA colonoscopy is a test that detects abnormalities or changes in your large intestine or colon and rectum. It uses a colonoscope, which is a long, flexible tub with a tiny video camera attached at its tip in order to get a real-time view of your entire colon.
COLONOSCOPY PURPOSEA colonoscopy is typically done whenever your doctor suspects that you're suffering from an intestinal problem such as chronic diarrhea, chronic constipation, rectal bleeding, and abdominal pain. Alternately, it can also be used to screen you for colon cancer, especially if you're fifty years old or older.
COLONOSCOPY RISKSYou risk getting an allergic reaction from the sedative used for your colonoscopy. You also risk bleeding from the biopsy site if the doctor decided to take a polyp or tissue from your colon. Perforation of the rectal wall or colon is also a risk.
COLONOSCOPY PREPARATION REQUIRED
You'll first need to take a special diet wherein you won't eat solid food and only drink clear liquids the day before the test. You'll also take a laxative in order to empty your bowels. You may even need an enema kit to help you out as well as adjust some of your medications.
COLONOSCOPY PROCEDUREDuring the colonoscopy (can last from 20 minutes to an hour), you'll be lying down on a table as the colonoscope is inserted into your rectum. The camera on the tip of the tube will allow the doctor to examine your colon in real time. Biopsies of polyps, abnormalities, and other colon tissue samples may occur at your attending doctor's behest.
COLONOSCOPY COMPLICATIONSHemorrhaging from a tissue sample or biopsy site, adverse reaction to the sedative, and perforation of the colon or rectum are common complications. Your doctor may have you sign a consent form authorizing the exam.
COLONOSCOPY SIDE EFFECTSThe immediate site effects of having a colonoscopy include either sedative allergy or internal bleeding if there's a biopsy conducted.
COLONOSCOPY RESULTSA negative result means the doctor can't find any abnormalities in your colon. You may be recommended to take test after ten years if you're at average risk of colon cancer. Meanwhile, a positive result means that there are abnormal tissues or polyps in your colon. A sample of these will be sent to a lab for study to determine if they're malignant (precancerous or cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous).