What is colonoscopy?
Before we jump on to colonoscopy, it is very important to understand that the doctors use cameras to view the inner organs of the body and this process is called Endoscopy. There are two types of endoscopy. One is called upper endoscopy, which is used to see upper parts of digestive system and other is called colonoscopy which is used to view the colon (Large Intestine).
How to prepare for colonoscopy
It is important that the colon is empty during the colonoscopy so that the doctor can see clearly inside your colon. For that you have to clear your colon by various means suggested by your doctor.
To empty your colon, here are the special advices for you to prepare your body for colonoscopy:
Eat Special diet the day before the exam.
• You have to avoid eating solid food one day prior to the colonoscopy procedure.
• Drink clear liquids like plain water, tea and coffee without milk, broth.
• Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.
• Avoid red liquids, which can be confused with blood during the colonoscopy.
• Use of laxative.
• Take the laxative prescribed by your doctor. Use the laxative both the night before and the morning of the colonoscopy procedure. It could be in the form of either pill or liquid.
• If your colon is still not clear you may be instructed to Use an enema kit either the night before the exam or a few hours before the exam to empty your colon.
• Adjustment of your medications.
• If you are using medications for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or any blood thinning medications you might have to avoid those medications before colonoscopy. For absolute necessary medications, your doctor may adjust your dosages temporarily.
What happens during the colonoscopy: The Procedure
A usual colonoscopy procedure takes about 20 minutes to an hour.
During the colonoscopy, you might be lightly sedated due to the Sedative given by your Doctor to minimize any discomfort during the procedure.
You have to lie on the exam table; the doctor will insert a colonoscope into your rectum. By the help of the colonoscope the doctor will pump air into your colon to inflate the colon for a better view.
You might feel cramping or the urge to have a bowel movement during colonoscopy.
The colonoscope is used by the doctor to obtain tissue samples (biopsies) or remove polyps or other areas of abnormal tissue in your colon.
After the colonoscopy
After the colonoscopy, it takes about an hour for you to recover from the sedative. You’ll need someone to take you home because it can take up to a day for the full effects of the sedative to wear off.
Avoid driving or any other work for the rest of the day.
You might feel bloated or urge to pass gas for a few hours after the exam, as you clear the air from your colon. Walking may help relieve any discomfort.
A small amount of blood with your first bowel movement after the exam is normal after colonoscopy. If you continue to pass blood or blood clots or if you have persistent abdominal pain or fever after colonoscopy then Consult your doctor.
About your Results
Here’s what your colonoscopy results means.
If your result is Negative
A negative result means there are not any abnormalities in the colon.
If the colon was not properly clean which prevented complete view of the colon, your doctor will likely recommend a repeat exam sooner.
If your result is Positive
A positive result means that the doctor found polyps or other abnormal tissue in your colon.
Majority of the polyps are not cancerous in nature, but some might have the potential to develop into cancerous at the later stages.
The Polyps removed during the colonoscopy are sent to labs to find out whether they are cancerous, or not.