Before the colonoscopy, you must undergo a bowel prep. You drink a laxative liquid that causes diarrhea, so you must stay close to a bathroom that day.

During the procedure, doctors insert a long flexible tube with a camera (a colonoscope) into your back passage and the large intestine. It is often uncomfortable, but the sedation makes it easier to tolerate the pain.

Preventing Colon Cancer

A colonoscopy is an effective way to detect colorectal cancer. It also allows doctors to remove polyps and tissue samples for biopsy. These growths on the inner colon and rectum can turn into cancer, and removing them decreases the risk of cancer in people at higher-than-average risk, according to a study from researchers at the National Polyp Study.

Before the procedure, you must clean out your colon and rectum, a painful process involving drinking a liquid laxative solution that causes temporary diarrhea. Fortunately, new kits are available to simplify the process and make it less unpleasant.

During the test, your doctor at Gastroenterology Of The Rockies Colonoscopy Denver inserts a long flexible tube with a camera at its end into the rectum and colon. He or she can then move the colonoscope along the entire lining of the rectum and colon, checking for precancerous adenomas and cancers. You may see a bit of blood in your first bowel movement after the procedure, but this is normal and should stop shortly.

Detecting Colon Cancer Early

Many colon cancers start as polyps, which are growths in the colon that may become cancerous. Polyps that are at high risk of becoming cancerous are called adenomas. A screening colonoscopy can detect and remove these adenomas before they become cancer. This can dramatically lower the risk of colon cancer.

People who have a family history of colon cancer or certain genetic predispositions should have screening colonoscopies every ten years. This is particularly important for African Americans with a higher chance of developing colorectal cancer.

During the colonoscopy, your doctor may remove some tissue from your bowel wall to send it to a laboratory for testing. This can take a few days to a week or more. Your doctor will likely recommend treatment if the test results show colon cancer. You might need surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, depending on the cancer stage. A follow-up colonoscopy can help your doctor determine how well the treatments work.

Detecting Diverticulosis

A colonoscopy is a routine procedure that examines the lining of your large intestine. It is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Still, you will require a designated driver to take you home afterward because of the sedative administered during the exam, which can leave you feeling lethargic.

During the exam, your doctor inserts a thin tube into your back passage (rectum) and colon. The tube is flexible, allowing your doctor to move it around the curves of your bowel. The doctor may blow air into your colon to stretch it out for a better look. The doctor can pass instruments through the scope to perform biopsies and remove polyps.

Bleeding is a possible side effect of having a colonoscopy. Letting your gastroenterologist know immediately if you experience rectal bleeding is essential. It could indicate a ruptured colon. It is usually treated with antibiotics and won’t require surgery unless the problem is severe. It is also important to tell your doctor if you have had previous episodes of diverticulitis.

Identifying Polyps

Your gastroenterologist uses a flexible tube with a camera on the end (called a colonoscope) to enter your anus, rectum, and colon. They use the camera to look for polyps and other abnormal tissue. The doctor may also take a biopsy during this exam.

Polyps in the colon can potentially lead to cancer or be pre-cancerous growths. Doctors can easily remove polyps during a colonoscopy by passing a small instrument through the scope. The doctor may also control bleeding by using medications, sealing off the area with heat treatment, or applying clips.

If the test finds a polyp, your gastroenterologist will tell you when to return for a follow-up colonoscopy. Depending on the polyp size, age, and other risk factors, you should return for regular screening every few years. The procedure results and any biopsy taken are sent to a lab. Bleeding during the test or afterward is rare.