As implied, colonoscopy refers to the examination of the large intestines as well as the rectum. In general, colonoscopy is performed using a fiber optic or CCD camera which is attached to a flexible tube. This procedure is primarily a diagnostic process for people with certain symptoms, but healthy individuals can be also screened without any signs of diseases. Here are the important details that you need to understand with regard to colonoscopy.
The general health guidelines suggest that every individual should get a colonoscopy screening before reaching fifty years at least once. After this, the procedure can be performed every ten years. The screening will allow the physician to get tissue samples and test for cancerous growth. You should also get a colonoscopy when you have symptoms that show colon and rectal problems. For example, this is a common diagnostic test for inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal hemorrhage and diseases associated with fecal occult blood such as ulcerative colitis and diverticulosis.
When your doctor recommends a colonoscopy, you will be provided with information on the preparation. However, the most important thing is for your colon to be free of solid matter. Otherwise, it will be impossible to get visual data or good tissue samples. You will be required to take a clear-fluid or low fiber diet one to three days before the examination. The common recommended drinks include sports drinks, apple juice, lemon and lime soda and even broth. The day before the procedure, you might be required to take a laxative or be subject to whole bowel irrigation.
The actual colonoscopy procedure is relatively simple to perform. The physician will have you lie on your side on the examination table for proper access. In addition, you will be sedated intravenously, although you can inquire about an oral alternative. This will minimize the pain and discomfort. You should note that there is usually no pain experienced when the flexible examination tube is inserted through the anus. The tool is about one centimeter in diameter and therefore narrower than stool. However, air is habitually blown into the intestine to provide better view and obtain good samples, and this can be uncomfortable.
There are some side effects associated with the colonoscopy procedure. Naturally, you should expect to feel a bit bloated, gassy and even sleepy because of the blown air and the sedatives. Some blood might be noticeable in your bowel movement after the procedure due to sample collection.