Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

Colonoscopy Procedure: What You Need To Know

by Stephen Silva

A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows for the visual examination of the colon and rectum using a colonoscope, which is a long and flexible tube that has a camera attached to its end. During the colonoscopy, the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum and moved through the colon. This allows for any abnormalities, such as polyps or cancerous growths, to be detected and potentially removed. 

The colonoscopy can also be used to collect tissue samples or treat certain conditions within the colon. This procedure is often recommended as part of regular screenings for colon cancer starting at age 50, with earlier screenings for those with a family history or other risk factors. While it can be slightly uncomfortable, sedation is typically used during a colonoscopy to ensure patient comfort. Overall, it is an important tool in preventing and detecting issues within the colon.

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy Procedure

Preparation for a colonoscopy procedure is crucial in order to ensure the best possible results. In most cases, patients will be instructed to begin a clear liquid diet two to three days before the colonoscopy and take a prescribed laxative the evening before. It is important to follow all directions your doctor or healthcare provider gives concerning medication and dietary restrictions during this preparation period. During the procedure, you will be sedated and may not remember much about it afterward. However, discussing any potential concerns with your doctor before the colonoscopy is still important. The procedure can go smoothly and provide valuable information for managing colon health by properly preparing for a colonoscopy.

What Happens During the Procedure?

During the procedure, a sedative may be administered, and air may be pumped into the colon to improve visibility. If necessary, tissue samples can also be taken for biopsy during a colonoscopy. The entire procedure takes around 30 minutes to an hour and helps detect conditions such as colon cancer or polyps. Overall, it is important to regularly undergo colonoscopies as recommended by your healthcare provider in order to maintain colon health and catch any potential issues early.

What Happens After the Colonoscopy Procedure? 

After the procedure, patients may experience slight discomfort or cramping and bloat from air introduced into the colon during the colonoscopy. These symptoms typically resolve within a day or two. The results from the colonoscopy will be reviewed by your doctor, who will then make any necessary recommendations or send referral letters for follow-up procedures. It's important to follow all aftercare instructions your doctor provides to ensure a successful recovery from the colonoscopy procedure.

To learn more about colonoscopies, contact a professional near you.