Colonoscopies in



A colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy used to detect abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. This is performed by inserting a long, flexible tube, known as a colonoscope, into the rectum. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows a doctor to see inside the entire colon.

This tube also allows doctors to remove polyps and other abnormal growths and take tissue samples (biopsies).

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Colonoscopies usually take about 30-60 minutes. However, your doctor will give you a sedative before the procedure, and recovering will likely take the rest of your day.

Colonoscopy procedures are nothing to worry about. In fact, in most cases, you won't even be awake for the actual procedure. It can take up to a full day for the effects of the sedative to wear off. Afterward, it is normal to experience some bloating, cramping, passing of gas, and you may even notice some blood in your bowel movements. Call your doctor right away if you experience more than a little blood, if the bleeding lasts for a long time, or if you experience any abdominal pain, fever, or chills.

Colonoscopies are a useful in preventing colorectal cancer and removing colon polyps before they turn into cancer. In addition to being a useful tool for colon cancer screening, they may be used to look inside your large intestine to find the causes of things like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits. They can help doctors diagnose inflammatory bowel disease and differentiate between Chron's disease and ulcerative colitis. A doctor may also schedule a follow-up exam if any polyps are removed during the procedure.

If you're age 50 or older and at average risk of colon cancer and have no family history of colon cancer or other risk factors, your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy screening every 10 years (or sometimes sooner).

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A virtual colonoscopy, also known as CT colonography, is a procedure in which a ct scanner is used to take multiple x-rays of the colon. These CT scans are put together to form a clear image of the colon and rectum which can then be analyzed by your healthcare provider. There are multiple reasons a virtual colonoscopy may be used.

  • It is less invasive and usually doesn't require pain medicine or anesthesia.

  • It's faster.

  • There's less risk of harming the large intestine and the colon lining.

  • It can be used for some people who aren't able to have a regular colonoscopy.

  • It may be able to show areas of the large intestine that regular colonoscopy can't reach. This might be the case if part of the intestine is narrowed or blocked.

Before a colonoscopy, you'll need to clear your colon of any residue that might obscure your doctor's view during the exam. To do this you must:

Follow a special diet. You likely won't be able to consume any solid foods the day before the exam. You'll be allowed only clear liquids such as plain water, tea, and coffee without milk or cream, broth, and carbonated beverages (avoid red liquids, as that may be confused for blood). You may not be able to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your exam.

Take a laxative. You may be instructed to take this either the night before or the night before and the morning of the procedure.

Use an enema kit. This is generally only recommended for clearing the lower colon and not the entire colon.

Adjust your medication. Make sure your doctor is aware of any medications you may be on. Particularly any blood thinners, anticoagulants, medicines used to reduce risk of blot clots or stroke; or heart medications.

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