Colonoscopy Q & A
When are colonoscopies used?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure which is used to assess the inside of a person’s rectum and colon, also called the large intestine. This procedure is used to diagnose and treat conditions such as:
- Colorectal cancer
- Crohn's disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Determining the cause of rectal bleeding
A colonoscopy is also suggested for routine screenings for colorectal cancer. These are typically performed every five years beginning at age 50. These screenings should be conducted earlier and more frequently for those who are at a greater risk of colorectal cancer.
What happens during a colonoscopy?
Prior to the procedure, patients will receive an IV sedative to help them to relax. Patients will then lie on their side on an exam table. Once the sedative starts working, the colonoscope will be guided through the anus and gently moved through the rectum and colon. This special device takes pictures of the inside of the intestinal tract. These images will be displayed on a monitor so the doctor can see the large intestine. If polyps are found, they can be removed with instruments designed to be inserted through the scope. Biopsies, or tissue samples, are taken if necessary and then evaluated in the lab. Once the procedure is finished, the colonoscope will be withdrawn and the patient is taken to a recovery area.
What do I need to do to prepare for a colonoscopy?
The colon must be totally clean prior to the colonoscopy to make sure the doctor can see the organs clearly. The day before the colonoscopy, patients will need to take medications in either liquid or pill form to clean out the bowel. Patients should also be sure to tell the doctor about any medications being used before the procedure. At Premier Family Medical, the doctors can use this helpful tool to diagnose many issues affecting the large intestine and then provide the best treatments available.