A colonoscopy is a test used by a physician to examine the large intestine and rectum for any changes or abnormalities. The colonoscope, a long flexible tube attached with a tiny camera to the end of it, is inserted in the patient’s rectum and colon to get a visual of the inner workings and scan for possible problems. The doctor may suggest this procedure to identify causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, chronic constipation or diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal complaints. The colonoscopy is also commonly used to in colon cancer screenings. The colonoscopy is also used to check for polyps and remove them.
Before this test is performed, you will need to clean out your colon. Your doctor will give you specific instructions before your test but most of the time preparation consists of:
Following the procedure, the patient will usually spend about an hour resting in the doctor’s office or hospital to allow the sedative to wear off. The patient will need someone to drive him or her home. He or she may feel bloated or gassy for a few hours until any excess air is released from the colon. If any polyps are removed, the patient may notice a small amount of blood in the next bowel movement. The doctor will be in touch with the results of the test and suggestions for any follow-up appointments.
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