Colonoscopy is a procedure in which a trained specialist uses a long, flexible, narrow tube with a light and tiny camera on one end, called a colonoscope or scope, to look inside your rectum and colon. Colonoscopy can show irritated and swollen tissue, ulcers, polyps, and cancer.
A colonoscopy can help a doctor find the cause of unexplained symptoms, such as
To prepare for a colonoscopy, you will need to talk with your doctor, arrange for a ride home, clean out your bowel, and change your diet.
You should talk with your doctor about any medical conditions you have and all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines you take, including:
A health care professional will give you written bowel prep instructions before the procedure, so that little to no stool is present in your colon. A complete bowel prep lets you pass stool that is clear. Stool inside your colon can prevent your doctor from clearly seeing the lining of your intestine.
A health care professional will place an intravenous (IV) needle in a vein in your arm to give you sedatives, anesthesia, or pain medicine so you can relax during the procedure. The health care staff will monitor your vital signs and keep you as comfortable as possible.
For the procedure, you’ll be asked to lie on a table while the doctor inserts a colonoscope into your anus and slowly guides it through your rectum and into your colon. The scope pumps air into your large intestine to give the doctor a better view. The camera sends a video image of the intestinal lining to a monitor, allowing the doctor to examine
The doctor may also perform a biopsy. You won’t feel the biopsy.Colonoscopy typically takes 15 to 30 minutes.
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