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Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy is a medical procedure that involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached, known as a colonoscope, into the rectum to examine the colon and rectum for signs of disease or abnormalities. The procedure allows doctors to check for colon cancer, polyps, ulcers, inflammation, and other conditions that may be causing symptoms. During a colonoscopy, the doctor can also remove any suspicious polyps or tissue samples for further analysis. Colonoscopy is considered to be a crucial diagnostic tool for detecting colon cancer early and can also help prevent it by removing pre-cancerous growths.

A colonoscopy is recommended for adults aged 50 and above to screen for colon cancer, even if they have no symptoms or risk factors. However, individuals with a family history of colon cancer or other gastrointestinal issues may need to start screening earlier or more frequently. Additionally, if you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, or unexplained weight loss, you should speak with your doctor about the possibility of having a colonoscopy.

During a colonoscopy, the patient lies on their side while a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end, called a colonoscope, is inserted through the rectum and advanced through the colon. The camera transmits images of the colon to a monitor so that the doctor can examine it closely. The colonoscope can also remove small tissue samples or polyps, and it can be used to treat certain conditions. The procedure usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour and is performed with sedation to minimise discomfort. After the colonoscopy, the patient is monitored until the sedative effects wear off and can resume normal activities the next day.

While colonoscopy is generally considered a safe procedure, there are some risks involved. These can include bleeding or perforation of the colon, which are rare but can require additional treatment or surgery. In very rare cases, complications from sedation or infection can also occur. Some people may experience discomfort or bloating after the procedure, but this is usually mild and resolves quickly.