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Colonoscopy

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Introduction

A Colonoscopy is a procedure that helps doctors or surgeons examine the bowels or large intestine. It helps look for various medical problems or check for abnormal growths in the colon.

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What is Colonoscopy?

A Colonoscopy is a simple and safe procedure performed by doctors using a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube that has a light and a camera on its one end.

The colonoscope is inserted into the colon through the rectum to examine and check for abnormal growths or damage to the lining of the colon.

Apart from examining inside the colon, a colonoscopy may also help a doctor to perform the following functions:

  • ● Help clean the lining of your colon using a water jet attached to the colonoscope
  • ● Remove any stool on the inner lining using a suction device
  • ● Inject air inside the bowel
  • ● Make a cut or incision inside the bowel using surgical tools
  • ● Remove any tissue or abnormal growths for further examination

What Are the Various Causes for Which Colonoscopy May Be Required?

Colonoscopy will help your doctor look inside your bowels and determine the problems. The problems may include early screening for cancer, inflamed or swollen tissues, ulcers, or bleeding. Other reasons that may require a colonoscopy are:

  • Inflammatory Intestinal diseases: Various inflammatory intestinal conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease may also require colonoscopy.
  • Colorectal polyps: These polyps occur on the inside of the anus or rectum. If there are a large number of polyps present, they may cause pain and bleeding in that region. You may require colonoscopy to diagnose these polyps.
  • Colon cancer: Cancer in the colon or rectum can also be diagnosed or screened using colonoscopy.

What are the Symptoms That May Indicate a Colorectal Problem?

Many people during the early stages of intestinal diseases or colon cancer do not experience any symptoms. When symptoms appear, they may vary depending on the condition. Some of the symptoms that may appear if you suffer from a colorectal problem are:

  • ● Severe pain or discomfort in the bowel
  • ● A constant change in bowel habits
  • ● Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • ● Bleeding from anus
  • ● A feeling of fullness in your bowel even after passing stools
  • ● Weakness or fatigue
  • ● Fever or chills
  • ● Sudden weight loss

What are the Various Tests That a Doctor May Prescribe Before Undergoing Colonoscopy?

Before performing a colonoscopy, your doctor may perform the following tests:

  • Physical exam: Your doctor will first visually check the site of your anus and ask for your medical history.
  • Stool tests: The stool tests help your doctor check for blood in the stool and assess the presence of abnormal cells in the body.
  • Blood tests: The doctor will take a sample of your blood and test it for various bacterial infections.
  • CT scan: A CT scan helps produce cross-sectional images of the colon and rectum. It uses infrared rays to produce high-quality images and can help accurately detect abnormalities in the lower abdominal region.

What Treatment Options are Available If a Colorectal Issue Is Diagnosed After Colonoscopy?

Post the Colonoscopy, if the doctor finds polyps or any other issue in the colon, the following treatment options may be prescribed:

  • Polypectomy: This type of surgery involves making incisions in the stomach for access to the colon. The surrounding tissues are removed, and depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, it is cut off entirely or cut in parts.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: A laparoscopic surgery involves making several small incisions in the patient’s abdomen. This is then followed by passing a thin tube called a laparoscope with a camera at the end through one of those incisions.

The medical team then monitors the surgery on a video screen and observes the insides of the patient’s colon. Using a set of special tools, the surgeon blocks out the surrounding tissues and starts working on the repairs. Once this is done, the surgeon replaces the colon through the incision.

  • Chemotherapy: If the doctor detects cancer cells in the colon, the patient may have to undergo chemotherapy. This treatment will involve prescribing drugs to reduce the number of cancer cells and prevent it from spreading further.

What are the Results Associated with Colonoscopy Treatment?

Colonoscopies are a highly effective and harmless way to detect cancer and other problems of the intestines. It is suitable for all age groups; however, older adults should speak with their doctors before the procedure to avoid any complications.

What are the Risks Associated with Colonoscopy Treatment?

A Colonoscopy is a very safe and harmless procedure. However, several factors may contribute toward problems during this procedure and cause the following risks:

  • ● Perforated intestines
  • ● Bleeding from the colon or rectum
  • ● Severe abdominal
  • ● Increased blood pressure
  • ● Bacterial infection in the intestines
  • ● Adverse reaction to the anesthetic

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FAQ's

What Other Alternatives are Available if I am not Fit to Undergo Colonoscopy?

The various alternatives that can be used to diagnose colon or rectal problems are:

  • ● Stool tests
  • ● Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • ● CT colonography

You can get the above tests done if you’re not fit to undergo a colonoscopy.

How Long Does it take to Recover From a Colonoscopy?

It may take up to a day or two to fully recover from the mild side-effects of Colonoscopy.

What Foods to Avoid Before a Colonoscopy?

You should avoid the following foods before getting a Colonoscopy:

  • ● Seeds or nuts
  • ● Fatty or fried foods
  • ● Raw vegetables
  • ● Fruits with skin
  • ● Broccoli, cabbage, or lettuce
  • ● Popcorn

Can Pregnant Women Get a Colonoscopy?

Yes, Colonoscopy is a safe procedure, and women can undergo it during pregnancy. However, it is advised to consult your doctor before this procedure to avoid any complications.

Do I Need to take Laxatives Before a Colonoscopy?

Yes, a bowel prep will be provided to you a few hours before the surgery to help you clean your bowels before the Colonoscopy.

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