To monitor your colon health, it is recommended that once you reach the age of 45, you should have a colonoscopy once every ten years. If you have been referred for a colonoscopy by your primary care physician, read on to learn more about this procedure.

What Is A Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure used to look for any abnormalities or signs of disease in your large intestine. Using a flexible, lighted tube gently inserted through your rectum, your doctor can observe the conditions of your colon and other sections of your large intestine. There is a video camera mounted on the end of the tube so that your doctor can see the inside of your colon as it is projected onto a screen.

What is a Colonoscopy? | Idaho Digestive Health Institute

Why Might You Need A Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is used to screen for colon cancer and other diseases of the colon. The procedure can provide your doctor with reasons why you might be experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Chronic constipation
  • Bleeding from your rectum

A colonoscopy may also be recommended for those with a family history of colon cancer or other intestinal diseases.

How To Prepare For A Colonoscopy

To prepare for your colonoscopy, you will need to empty your bowels completely. You will receive detailed instructions on the right combination of clear liquids and laxatives you need. Some people do well drinking a large quantity of a product called Suprep or by taking a similar version in tablet form. Other patients do better with a combination of over-the-counter Miralax and Dulcolax mixed with clear fluids such as Gatorade. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions for the preferred method of preparation.

Learn More About Preparing For A Colonoscopy

What Happens During A Colonoscopy?

During your colonoscopy, you will lay on your side on the bed. They will have already started an IV line for you, and the doctor will inject a sedative into your IV line. Most people have no recollection of their colonoscopy. In some cases, your doctor may choose to sedate you lightly to avoid discomfort, but you will be awake throughout the procedure.

Once sedated and relaxed, the doctor will gently guide a tube through your rectum and into your colon. This tube will have a light and a camera on it so that the doctor can look for any abnormalities. When the tube is in the correct position, your colon will be inflated with carbon dioxide so that the doctor will have a better view. If they encounter a polyp or suspicious tissue, they can remove the polyp or biopsy the tissue through attachments to the scope. A colonoscopy can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

What Happens During A Colonoscopy?

What Is Recovery Like After A Colonoscopy?

When the colonoscopy is completed, you will be wheeled into a recovery area while you wake up from your sedation. It takes one to two hours for the sedative to wear off, so you will not be allowed to drive yourself home. While you're in the recovery area, you may have some light cramping and feel bloated from the carbon dioxide gas. Although you will also feel hungry, it is best to stick with a soft or bland diet for the rest of the day. In most cases, you will feel back to normal the following day.

Some people may have dizziness or nausea afterward, and you might have trouble passing gas or pooping for the first 24 hours. You will need to notify your doctor immediately if you develop a fever, are bleeding from your rectum, or if you experience severe abdominal pain or cramping.

Why go to Idaho Digestive Health and see Dr. Woolf for this procedure?

At Idaho Digestive Health Institute, we make sure that your colonoscopy is as easy as possible. Dr. Woolf will help you understand every step of the process and will review your results with you as soon as possible. If you are in the Caldwell area and are ready to schedule your consultation with Dr. Woolf, contact us today to schedule an appointment.