- What does this mean?
- What is a colonoscopy?
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- What are polyps?
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What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test performed with a long, thin flexible camera. This tube is passed through the anus and can examine the whole of the large bowel. The image is projected onto a television screen and any abnormality in the wall of the bowel can be seen.
Mrs Badvie provides her expert opinion to help Bupa produce up-to-date information for patients seeking guidance on the procedure of colonoscopy.
Is it painful?
During the test, small amounts of gas flow through the camera to open the bowel so that the walls can be examined. This gas, and the passing of the camera around the bowel, can lead to the sensation of stretch and abdominal bloating. This can be uncomfortable but not painful. You will be given intravenous medication to make you drowsy (sedation) and strong analgesia to help.
Due to the effects of the sedation, after the test you must be collected by a responsible adult who should then stay with you overnight. You should not drive, operate machinery, drink alcohol or return to work until 24 hours have passed following the sedation.
Why do I need a colonoscopy?
If you need to have a colonoscopy, Mrs Badvie will explain to you the precise reason why it is recommended in your case. In general, the test is used to investigate symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation, rectal bleeding and unexplained changes in bowel habit. It is used to check for colorectal polyps (benign overgrowths) and bowel cancer, to remove polyps and to take biopsies (tissue samples). It is also used to rule out any disease in those with a family history of bowel cancer and to check for new polyps in people who have previously had polyps removed.
Do I need to stay overnight?
The test is usually performed as a day procedure, and you will be able to go home the same day.
Do I need to do anything before the test?
You will need to empty your bowel completely before the colonoscopy. This is performed using strong laxatives and modification of your diet for three days before the test. This process is called ‘bowel preparation’ and will be discussed with you. You will also be provided with a detailed information sheet on how to prepare your bowel.
It is vital that you follow the bowel preparation schedule carefully, as the views of the bowel walls should be clear of stool so that Mrs Badvie can examine the walls properly and give you a definitive result.
What happens after the test?
When you have recovered from the sedative medication, are fully alert and have passed all our post-procedure checks later that day, you will be discharged home. You and your GP will receive a copy of the colonoscopy report, and the subsequent management will be tailored to your individual case.