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What Is Colonoscopy? All The Basics You Need To Know

doctors performing colonoscopy on a patient

Colonoscopy is a procedure that helps doctors to look inside the colon, or large intestine, for signs of disease or other problems. The colonoscope is a long, flexible tube with a tiny video camera at the end, which is inserted into the rectum. This allows the doctor to view the entire colon and remove polyps or abnormal tissues if necessary. In some cases, biopsies (tissue samples) may also be taken.

Conditions That Can Be Detected Through Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is used to investigate a number of conditions, including ulcers, polyps, swollen tissue and cancer. It can help to detect cancer in its early stages, as well as helping to diagnose conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. Colonoscopy is also used to monitor the progress of existing conditions and to assess the effectiveness of treatments.

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

Before undergoing a colonoscopy, you will need to prepare your body for the procedure. This typically involves a special diet and the use of laxatives or enemas to make sure the colon is completely emptied out. This is important because it allows the doctor to get a better view of the colon.

What to Expect During a Colonoscopy

During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on your side and your doctor will insert the colonoscope. You will be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time and the doctor may pump air into the colon to help expand it so that they can get a better view. As with most medical procedures, there is a small chance of complications, although these are rare.

Colonoscopy is an important procedure and can help to detect cancer in its early stages, as well as diagnosing or monitoring a range of other conditions. It’s important that you understand all the basics of the procedure and prepare your body for it before having a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor if you have any queries or concerns.

When is a Colonoscopy Recommended?

Are you uncertain about when a colonoscopy may be recommended? This procedure is an important tool for screening for colon cancer and identifying, removing, and treating other issues in the colon. Here’s a closer look at the scenarios in which a colonoscopy may be recommended by your doctor.

Screen for Colon Cancer

If you are 50 years old (or older) and at average risk of colon cancer, your doctor might recommend getting a colonoscopy every 10 years. This is the most widely accepted tool for early detection and prevention of colon cancer. If you have other risk factors, such as a family history of colon cancer, your doctor may recommend getting a colonoscopy sooner.

Look for Polyps

If you’ve had polyps in the past, a follow-up colonoscopy may be recommended to look for and remove additional polyps. Polyps are small growths on the lining of the colon that can increase your risk of developing colon cancer. Removing polyps during a colonoscopy can help to minimize this risk.

Investigate Intestinal Symptoms and Signs

A colonoscopy may also be used to help doctors explore the possible causes of rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other intestinal problems. This procedure can help to identify the source of the symptom and allow doctors to take the most appropriate course of action.

Treat Other Issues

Colonoscopy can also be used to help treat other issues in the colon, such as removing an object or placing a stent. This procedure can help to reduce the risk of complications and/or speed up the healing process.

A colonoscopy may be an important and necessary procedure in certain cases. If you’re unsure about when it may be recommended, talk to your doctor. They can assess your individual risk factors and discuss the best screening and prevention tests for you.

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