Colonoscopy is a medical procedure of examining the inside of a patient’s colon and rectum. Often considered as an outpatient procedure, physicians usually prescribe this procedure to assess the symptoms of rectal bleeding, bowel habit changes and abdominal pain of a patient. This is also instrumental for screening of colorectal cancer screening.
Before The Procedure
Prior to a colonoscopy procedure, the patient needs to remind the doctor of any existing medical conditions he may have. These include medication , allergies, heart conditions, pregnancy, lung conditions, etc. The physician will require a restriction of food and fluid intake prior to the procedure. Furthermore, laxatives may be taken by the patient to help clean the colon for a much better colonoscopy procedure.
Two enemas can be performed by the patient on himself or by the doctor as well. An enema can fully clean the colon making the colon walls easily visible during the procedure. Prior to going to the doctor’s office for the procedure, you need to have someone drive you to and from the hospital after the procedure. Sedatives are usually administered during the procedure and they take effect for 8 hours or more.
An experienced physician will need to perform the colonoscopy procedure which may last for between half an hour to a full hour. As mentioned before, sedatives will be given before the procedure starts leaving you calm, relaxed but drowsy. The doctor will use a colonoscope, a pliable tube-shaped and long instrument more than an inch in diameter. This instrument will send back images of your colon walls to see if any abnormal build exists. You may lie on the operating table on your left side.
The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and slowly goes forward to your large intestine. The flexibility of the colonoscope enables it to be maneuvered easily into the colon. When it reaches the colon, the colonoscope will blow air to expand the colon for the physician to get a better view of the organ. You may feel some mild cramping setting in your body during the procedure. When this occurs, breathe slowly and deeply to lessen the cramping sensations. After the procedure, the colonoscope is slowly withdrawn from the body.
After The Procedure
After the whole procedure is performed, you will be wheeled out of the operating room into a recovery room for close monitoring for about half an hour. You may still feel some cramping and feel that you have gas in your body. Often these sensations are gone within minutes. After the procedure, you can go back to eating a normal diet. You need to assiduously take note of discharge instructions. Your doctor may let you temporarily stop taking certain medicines for a certain amount of time.