A colonoscopy is an important medical test that can help determine the overall health of the large intestine (colon) and identify certain health problems in this part of the body. Almost everyone is advised to have a colonoscopy procedure at different points in life, and a doctor will let you know when exactly you should schedule this test.
Why a Colonoscopy Is Done
The main purpose of a colonoscopy is to check for polyps or other growths that may be cancerous. If colon cancer (sometimes referred to as colorectal cancer) is found, surgery or other forms of treatment may stop the cancer in its early stages when cure rates are usually higher. Precancerous growths or other cellular changes may also be found during a colonoscopy procedure, and additional measures can be taken to try to prevent cancer from developing.
A colonoscopy can also be done to check for other problems inside the colon. Diverticulosis and diverticulitis are conditions that occur when pouches form along the intestinal walls and sometimes become inflamed. The diagnosis of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) known as Crohn's disease can also be confirmed with a colonoscopy.
Preparing for the Procedure
Before a colonoscopy procedure, the digestive tract must be emptied of all stool so that a clear view of the colon can be seen. You'll likely be given a special solution to drink the day before your test to empty your colon. You'll also be instructed not to eat solid foods and maintain a clear liquid diet 24 to 72 hours before your colonoscopy. Certain medications may also need to be stopped before your procedure.
How a Colonoscopy Procedure Is Performed
The doctor will insert a colonoscope through the anus and into the colon after you've been given general anesthesia so that you'll sleep throughout the procedure. The colonoscope is a narrow, flexible tube with a camera on its end that can access and capture images of the inside of the colon. If any suspicious growths are found in the colon, the doctor may take tissue samples for biopsy or remove a growth entirely while you're still asleep. Most colonoscopy procedures can be completed in 15 to 60 minutes.
By knowing what to expect from a colonoscopy procedure, you'll be able to prepare better. A medical professional can tell you more about what a colonoscopy involves and answer any additional questions you might have about the test.
For more info, contact a local company like Gastro Health.
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