What to Expect Before and During a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a very common screening exam used by doctors to check the colon for abnormalities. They may be looking for signs of what may be causing a patient discomfort, looking at the progression of ulcers or colitis, and they are also used to check for polyps and cancer in the colon. While the procedure is not pleasant, it is necessary to ensure that the colon is clear and the lining is intact.
Before the Colonoscopy
It is important for a patient to clear out their system before a colonoscopy exam. This requires the patient to drink clear solutions which include a laxative the day before that flushes out the colon and bowels so the doctor can have an unobstructed view. The patient must also refrain from eating solid foods the day before the procedure. In some cases the patient may have an enema before the procedure to be sure the intestines are clear.
During the Procedure
The patient is given a mild sedative to relax them during the procedure. The patient lies on their side while the doctor inserts the colonoscope into the rectum. A colonoscope is a small camera on the end of a flexible tubing that is about 1/2 inch in diameter. It allows the doctor to see into the colon and intestines to look for abnormalities. It will also blow air into the colon to allow the walls to be seen clearly. The procedure lasts between 30 and 60 minutes and may cause cramping during the procedure. If they doctor sees any polyps, they will be removed as they could prove to be cancerous later.
Its important that the patient have someone to drive them home after the procedure. The doctor will be in contact with the results and any next steps needed for further treatment. Many situations affect the colon and your overall health, so colonoscopies should be performed when recommended. Ask your health care provider if you should have a colonoscopy scheduled in the future.
Posted on behalf of:
David P. Yamini, M.D.
Westside Gastro Care
2001 Santa Monica Blvd #1286
Santa Monica, CA 90404