What To Know About Getting A Colonoscopy

Has your doctor recommended that you get a colonoscopy, but you do not know much about the procedure? If so, you'll definitely want to know the answers to these common questions. 

What Exactly Is A Colonoscopy? 

A doctor performs a colonoscopy when they need to examine a person's large intestine. The goal is to find any abnormal issues within the large intestine that can be a cause for concern. For example, the procedure can help discover inflammation, cancer, or polyps within the colon.

How Is A Colonoscopy Performed? 

The colonoscopy procedure uses a flexible tube that has a camera on it, which is then inserted into the patient's rectum. This allows the doctor to view the inside of the colon through a monitor. If the doctor notices anything that is abnormal during their observation, they will take a biopsy to test the abnormality. 

How Do You Prepare For A Colonoscopy?

The patient will be given instructions by their doctor on how to prepare for a colonoscopy. This typically means taking laxatives and eating certain foods that will help clean out the patient's colon. A doctor will also review all of a patient's medications, and request that the medications are not used prior to the colonoscopy if it can interfere with the procedure. In addition, instructions will be provided about how the patient can empty their bowels before the colonoscopy.

What Are The Potential Risks Of Getting A Colonoscopy? 

A doctor will likely use some form of sedation so that the patient does not feel pain while the colonoscopy is performed. However, some patients can experience cramping or mild discomfort during the procedure. 

There are also risks of having a colonoscopy performed, which includes tearing within the colon, getting an infection, and potential bleeding. It's also possible for a patient to have a poor reaction to a sedative that was used for the procedure. However, the benefits of getting a colonoscopy will outweigh any of these risks, which are quite rare. 

How Often Should You Get A Colonoscopy?

Your doctor is going to make a recommendation for how often you should get a colonoscopy, which is going to be based on your age, risk factors, and existing health conditions. However, it is common for doctors to recommend getting a colonoscopy around the age of 45, and then getting an additional colonoscopy every 10 years after that. 

Reach out to your doctor if you have more questions about colonoscopies. 

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