A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure in which the doctor examines the large intestine (colon and rectum). A colonoscopy is used to evaluate gastrointestinal symptoms, such as intestinal and rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel habits. Colonoscopies are given to people who without symptoms to check for colorectal polyps or cancer. A screening colonoscopy is recommended for polyps which are over 50 years old, and for people who have relatives, parents children, siblings with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
What happens before a Colonoscopy?
For a successful colonoscopy, the bowel must clean so that physician can clearly view the colon. The doctor will give important that you read and follow all of the instructions given to you for your bowel preparation well in advance of the procedure. Without proper training, the colonoscopy will not be successful, and the test may have to be repeated.
If you feel nauseated or vomit while taking the bowel preparation wait 30 minutes before drinking more fluid and start with small sips of the solution. Some activity (such as walking) or few soda crackers may help reduce nausea you are feeling. If your nausea persists, you should contact your doctor.
Your may also experience skin irritation around the due anus to the passage of liquid stools. To prevent the skin irritation you can take the following steps:
Use Vaseline or Destin ointment on the skin around the anus before drinking the bowel preparation medication. These can be purchased at the drug store.
Wipe the skin after each bowel movement with disposable wet wipes instead of toilet paper. These are found in the bathroom supply area of the store.
Sitting in the bathtub with warm water for 10 -15 minutes after you finish passing a stool; after soaking, blot the skin until it is dry with as soft cloth, then apply vaseline or Destin ointment to the anal area, and place a cotton ball, directly outside your anus to absorb leaking fluid.
What Happens during a Colonoscopy
During a colonoscopy, an experienced physician uses a colonoscope (a long, flexible instrument about 1/2 inch in diaeter) to view the lining of the colon. The colonoscope is entered into the rectum and pushed through the large intestine. If necessary, during a colonoscopy, small amounts of tissues can be removed for analysis (a biopsy), and polyps can be identified and entirely removed, In many cases, a colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment of potential problems without the need for a major operation.
- You are asked to put on a hospital gown and remove eyeglasses.
- You are given a pain reliever and a sedative intravenously (in your vein) you will be related and perhaps drowsy.
- You will lie on your left side and your knees drawn up towards your chest.
- A small amount of air is used to expand to colon so the Physician can see the colon walls.
- You may feel cramping during the procedure, cramping can be reduced by taking slow deep breaths.
- The colonoscope is slowing withdrawn with the lining of your bowel is scanned.
- The procedure lasts from 30 minutes to one hour.
What happens after the Colonoscopy
- You will stay in a recovery room for observation until you are ready for discharge.
- You may also feel some cramping or of having gas, but this typically passes quickly.
- Unless your doctor advises otherwise, your may immediately resume your normal diet. It is recommended you wait until the next day after the procedure to resume your normal activities.
- If polyps were removed or a biopsy was taken, you should avoid taken products that contain aspirin or anti-inflammatory such as naproxen [Naprosyn®], ibuprofen [Advil®, Motrin®], or indomethacin [Indocin®]) for two (2) weeks after the operation. This will help reduce the risk of bleeding; you can take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®) if needed.
- If you are using Coumadin®, Plavix®, Ticlid®, or Agrylin®, the doctor conducting your colonoscopy will inform you when it is safe to resume taking blood thinners.
- If a biopsy was done or a polyp was removed, you may see light rectal bleeding for one to two days after the colonoscopy; large significant bleeding, the passage of clots, or abdominal pain should be immediately reported.