Your doctor may want you to have a colonoscopy if you're having gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms or if you're at the age when it's time to have a routine colonoscopy done for cancer screening. A colonoscopy is a routine procedure that helps your doctor diagnose GI conditions. It also allows the doctor to find polyps and remove them before you develop colon cancer. Here's what you need to know about the colonoscopy procedure.
You Need To Prepare The Evening Before
Preparing for a colonoscopy can be unpleasant, and it's one of the reasons people put off having the test done. However, the unpleasantness only lasts for the evening, and it's worth it to protect yourself from cancer. Plus, newer ways of ingesting the preparation that causes diarrhea aren't quite as bad as the original method that required drinking a large amount of distasteful liquid to get results.
Your doctor will choose the best way for cleaning out your bowels. You might take pills or drink a solution. You'll still probably need to drink a lot of water to flush out your colon.
Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions for the timing of starting and stopping the preparation phase so your colon is cleaned out properly. Otherwise, you may need to go through the process all over again so the doctor can do your colonoscopy procedure without missing any polyps due to a dirty colon.
A Colonoscopy Is Done With A Scope
A colonoscope is used to visualize the inside of your colon. This instrument is a flexible, long tube the doctor passes through your anus and rectum to see the inside of your colon. It may sound like a painful procedure, but you'll have sedation so you won't feel too much discomfort. However, general anesthesia isn't needed.
The colonoscope has a light and tiny video camera on the end that sends images to a monitor the doctor can watch to look for polyps as the scope advances through your colon. If a polyp is found, an instrument can be sent through the tube that clips or burns the polyp off so it can be sent to a lab for a biopsy.
The Doctor Examines Your Colon For Polyps
A colonoscopy procedure is done to look at the inside of your colon for signs of irritation, abnormalities, cancer, and polyps. This information helps the doctor determine if you have a gastrointestinal disorder or precancerous polyps.
All polyps aren't cancerous, but the only way to find out is to remove the polyps and send them to the lab to be biopsied. You'll probably need to wait a few days to get the results back. If cancer is found, your doctor will discuss what this means for you and if you need additional treatments or more frequent examinations.
To learn more, contact a colonoscopy medical center such as Gastro Health.