The Risks of Colonoscopy That You Should Know
There are several medical procedures today that help us to examine and check for abnormal changes in the different parts of our body. Colonoscopy for example, is a procedure performed to look at the insides of our colon to see any growths and changes, as well for early detection and diagnosis of colon cancer. While it serves several benefits, it also has its own risks.
How is Colonoscopy Performed?
The person who is about to undergo colonoscopy will be advised to empty all the solid foods from his or her intestines and go on soft diet 2 to 3 days before the procedure. He or she will ideally drink fluids such as water, tea, plain coffee and tea and broth and fruit juice.
Furthermore, the patient may have to take a laxative or perform an enema the night before the procedure to further loosen up his bowels. The patient is also required to talk about all the medications he or she is taking.
During the procedure, a long tube with a built-in camera will be inserted into the patient’s anus while he or she is lying sideways left. The tube will be pushed into the colon and into the lower parts of the small intestines. The doctor may ask the patient to move a little to get more angles with the camera.
What are the Risks of Colonoscopy?
Just like any medical procedure, there are risks of colonoscopy although they are often low and rare.
Some of the risks include:
- Perforation of the intestinal walls
- Allergic reaction
There’s a possibility for the inner walls of the intestines to be torn while the tube is being moved inside. If the perforation is large and visible, an emergency treatment may be required. If it is only a minor perforation, it can be treated with the use of medication and rest.
Bleeding usually occurs at the site where a polyp is removed. A polyp is a growth in the intestines removed to be checked if it is cancerous or not. Most bleedings heal on their own, but if it becomes severe, medication may be necessary.
Sedatives are often given to patients to make them feel comfortable during the procedure. It makes them sleepy and may make them not remember anything about the procedure. However, some people have allergic reactions to sedatives that may cause respiratory problems, vomiting, a drop in blood pressure and nausea.
The risks of colonoscopy are rare and can be managed. It is important to choose a doctor whose job is to perform colonoscopy over general practitioners. Patients who are not comfortable with the thought of colonoscopy may explore other options.