Colonoscopy is a procedure used to detect abnormalities in the large intestine viz. inflammation, colon cancer, polyps, etc. A doctor or a nurse practitioner is responsible for performing a colonoscopy. A long and narrow telescopic camera called a colonoscope is used to carry out a colonoscopy. In colonoscopy, the doctor inserts the colonoscope into the bowel through the anus.
Doctors use colonoscopy to detect various symptoms. These symptoms may be the result of conditions like polyps and colon cancer. If the patient is not under an increased risk of colon cancer or polyps, colonoscopy can help in examining the conditions. Some symptoms examined by colonoscopy are:
- Bleeding in feces
- Persistent diarrhea
- Feeling of weakness
- Bleeding from the rectum
Colonoscopy is performed in the hospital and the whole procedure may take 30 to 45 minutes. Preparation is required before the examination. The doctor advises the patient about the advance preparation before carrying out the procedure. The doctor provides the preparation instructions for preparation at home. The process of preparation also includes diet changes.
Before starting the procedure, the bowels of patient should be empty. Flushing the waste materials from the intestine is an important part of colonoscopy preparation. Taking a strong laxative two days before the procedure is recommended. Doctors may advise the patients not to consume iron tablets as these may cause constipation that can interfere in the procedure. Another preparation includes changing the diet two days before the procedure. Diet changes can help to reduce the amount of fiber present in the intestine.
The doctor may advise the patient to stop taking unusual medicines that may interfere with the procedure. There is a discussion with the patient about requirements before, during, and after the procedure. Patients of diabetes or those taking insulin medicines are given specific information about the diet to be followed after the procedure. Patients should also ask the doctor in advance about the preparation, benefits, and risks involved in the procedure.
Preparation also involves one to two days of a liquid diet and flushing out the large intestine. Remaining confined to a liquid diet helps the doctor to clearly examine the intestine. A liquid diet includes water, broth, pulp-free fruit juice, plain tea, popsicles, and soft drinks. Beverages of red, blue, and purple color should not be included in the liquid diet. Solid food can interfere in the examination, which is a liquid diet is advisable. Patients should carefully follow the specific instructions given by the doctor.
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