In order for doctors to diagnose diseases and other health conditions of their patients, laboratory and diagnostic examinations are necessary. These tests are able to give a clearer perspective to physicians as to what the main cause of problem is. Some of these tests include blood exams, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and a lot more. All these examinations are useful in determining alterations in different parts of the body. However, if a doctor wants to examine the internal environment of the colon, then it is best to use colonoscopy. What is colonoscopy and what are the colonoscopy side effects?
Definition of a Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy is a type of diagnostic procedure used to visualize the inside of the colon and the rectum. Since it is considered a diagnostic test, this procedure aims to diagnose certain problems and diseases that affect the colon and the rectal portion of the GIT. This particular procedure is capable of detecting inflammation in colon tissue as well as ulcers and other abnormal growth like cancer. Because of this, early signs of colon-rectal cancer are diagnosed, which can help explain alterations in bowel habits and other abnormalities such as abdominal pain, sudden weight loss and bleeding from the anus.
Colon and Rectum
Both the colon and the rectum are parts of the large intestine. Most of us would associate colon as the entire large intestine; however, colon is only one part of it but due to its size or coverage, both large intestine and colon are commonly used interchangeably. Aside from this, the large intestine is also termed as large bowel. The rectum on the other hand is seen or located at the distal portion of the large bowel. This is recognized the last portion of the GIT and is attached to the anus.
Procedure of a Colonoscopy
In doing the colonoscopy procedure, a long, lighted and flexible tube known as colonoscope or scope is inserted by the doctor through the anus and is slowly pushed to the rectum and into the colon. Once inside the scope will then inflate the large intestine with carbon dioxide gas in order to allow better visualization of the area. The scope is also attached with a small camera that can transmit a video image from the inside in order to allow the doctor to carefully examine what is inside the intestine as well as the health status of the intestinal lining. Doctors would usually instruct the patient to adjust in position in order to give good access for the scope thus allowing better viewing.
The scope will usually reach the opening of the small intestine. Once this is done, the scope will then be slowly withdrawn while examining the large bowel lining once again. It is possible that puncture and bleeding can occur during the procedure; however, these complications are considered uncommon in colonoscopy.
Indications for a Colonoscopy
We already know that colonoscopy is used as a diagnostic examination. However, it can also be used in the removal of abnormal tissue growth such as polyps, which can be examined in the laboratory to test for signs of cancer. Most malignant growths usually start as polyps, which is why removing polyps can be an effective way in preventing cancer formation. Because of this function, colonoscopy is also efficient for biopsies. Biopsy is a type of procedure wherein a tissue sample is obtained in any parts of the body in order to provide more extensive analysis and testing. This is a good procedure in confirming hard to diagnosed health problems and diseases. Bleedings can also be hindered through an electric probe that is part of the colonoscope. Medications can also be given in order to provide instant relief to the injured area. The entire procedure will usually last for about 30 to 60 minutes.
Side Effects of Colonoscopy
There are a lot of possible side effects of colonoscopy. Cramping and bloating during the first hour after the procedure is always expected and is possible to occur. Doing this test requires the use of sedatives, which its effects can wear off only after some time. This test can be done in an out-patient setting wherein the patient is required to stay inside the clinic an hour or 2 after the examination. Some of the rare side effects that can possibly occur after colonoscopy include fever, severe abdominal pain, dizziness, constipation, weakness and bloody bowel movements. Once these things are experienced, referral to the doctor is a must. Increasing oral fluid intake and high fiber diet can also help in the recovery from the procedure.
These are some of the important guidelines and information about the procedure colonoscopy. It is necessary for us to know these things first before we decide in submitting ourselves for such examination. As we all know, knowledge is always the best weapon we can have in undergoing intricate procedures such as colonoscopy.