WHAT IS COLONOSCOPY?
Colonoscopy is a test that enables your surgeon to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). A flexible fibre optic endoscope, called a colonoscope, is inserted through the anus to look for ulcers, polyps, tumors or areas of inflammation or bleeding.
WHO SHOULD HAVE A COLONOSCOPY?
Colonoscopy is recommended for all adults aged 50 years or older as part of a colorectal cancer screening programme. Patients with a family history of colon or rectal cancer or polyps are advised to have their colonoscopy performed at an earlier age.
WHY UNDERGO A COLONOSCOPY?
- Evaluate the cause of blood in stools or rectal bleeding
- Evaluate the cause of any recent changes in bowel habits
- Evaluate the cause of dark or black stools
- Check for the cause of iron deficiency anemia
- Evaluate the cause of sudden, unexplained weight loss
- Evaluate the colon after abnormal results from a CT scan, MRI, virtual colonoscopy, stool test, or barium enema
- Monitor the efficacy of treatment of inflammatory bowel conditions
- Evaluate abdominal pain
HOW IS A COLONOSCOPY PERFORMED?
Before the test, you will need to clean out your colon. One to two days before a colonoscopy, our surgeons will instruct you to:
- Adopt a restricted diet low in fibre
- Consume prescription laxative solution that will result in mechanical cleansing of the entire colon
- Drink plenty of clear fluids to prevent dehydration
* You will receive a detailed instruction sheet on these points prior to your procedure
During the test, an intravenous (IV) sedative will be administered to you to help you to relax and fall into light sleep during the test. Air is used to gently inflate the colon as the colonoscope is introduced.
This facilitates the thorough evaluation of the colonic wall. Instruments can be introduced through the colonoscope to allow the surgeon to take biopsies, remove polyps, mark the sites and apply clips.
*You may feel the need to have a bowel movement while the scope is in your colon. You may also feel some cramping. Breathe deeply and slowly through your mouth to relax. This should help the cramping”.
After the test, you can expect to stay at the endoscopy centre for 1 to 2 hours prior to being discharged.
If you have received a sedative, do not drive, operate machinery, or sign legal documents for 24 hours after the test. Arrange to have someone drive you home.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AFTER COLONOSCOPY?
- Adverse reaction to the sedative used during the examination
- Bleeding from the site where a tissue sample (biopsy) was taken or a polyp was removed
Call your doctor immediately if you:
- Notice rectal bleeding
- Have severe abdominal pain
- Develop a fever
- Feel very dizzy
- Experience vomiting
- Experience abdominal distention