What is a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is a term used to refer to the internal examination of the large intestines or the colon and the rectum.  It is enabled by the use of a colonoscope.

How is the test performed?

The colonoscope comes with a tiny camera which is attached to a tube.  Colonoscopy does a scan of the entire length of the large intestines.  In order for the test to be conducted properly, you have to lie on your left side with knees drawn towards your chest.  You have to get sedatives or pain relievers before you can start the process of diagnosis.  The colonoscope is the inserted into the intestines via the anus. It is then moved gently into the large bowel and at times may extent to some part of the small intestines.  The colonoscope inserts air into the passage so as to give a better view.  Suction effect is used to remove any stool from the way.  

Thorough testing is done as the scope gets pulled out.  This is because the care provider gets a better view of the intestines when pulling the colonoscope out.  There are tiny biopsy forceps that are in-built in the scope to take tissue samples.  The colonoscope can also be used to remove polyps from the colon as well. This also takes photos of the internal structure of the colon.

Preparation for colonoscopy?

It is important to start by properly cleaning your intestines.  You will get instructions from your doctor on how best to approach this.   Some useful approaches are not eating hard foods, taking laxatives and enemas as well.  The doctor would most probably advice you to refrain from using any blood thinning medication several days before you undergo the test.  

On the other hand, you would also be required to drink lots of clear liquids. These are gelatin, coffee, sport drinks, water and also fresh fruit juices.

How the test feels?

The pain killers and sedatives that you will be asked to take before the procedure will help you to feel relaxed and also ensure you feel drowsy.  In most cases you would not have any story to narrate after the colonoscopy because you may not be aware of any test that is being conducted on you.  In the initial stage, a rectal test is done. This helps to ensure that there are no blockages in the colon.

During the insertion of the colonoscope, you may feel some aspects of bowel movement.  You would also feel some pressure when the colonoscope is moving inside your system.  Gas pains and cramping may be felt with the advancement of the scope.  You would be expected to pass some gas. This is pretty normal.  

In order to minimize any chances of discomfort, you can choose to take deep breaths. This in turn relaxes the abdominal muscles.  After the examination, you would tend to pass out more gas and also experiencing a cramping effect in the abdomen.  Sedatives may alter any chances of remembering what happened during the test. The effects of the sedatives are expected to go off in a short while after the exam.

Why colonoscopy is done?

Colonoscopy may need to be performed in the event of weight loss, abdominal pains and changes in terms of bowel movement. Anemic people also need to undergo this procedure.  If you notice blood in your stool, you may also have to do the test. People with past cases of colon cancer or polyps may have to undergo colonoscopy to assess if they are actually in a stable state.