What is a Colonoscopy

What is a Colonoscopy?

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure used to examine the inner lining of the large intestine, including the rectum and colon. It’s particularly helpful in assessing conditions like rectal bleeding, abdominal pains, persistent diarrhea, or other colon-related symptoms. The colon, also known as the large intestine, is where digested food waste from the small intestine gathers. Here, water is absorbed, and stool is formed. The rectum, linking the colon to the anus, measures about 6 inches in length and plays a role in controlling bowel movements through its muscular and nervous mechanisms.

During a colonoscopy, which typically occurs as an outpatient procedure, it’s essential for the bowel to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure clear examination. Following your doctor’s instructions on laxative use is crucial for this purpose. Sedative medication is administered intravenously to induce relaxation and drowsiness.

The procedure employs a colonoscope, a flexible instrument with a diameter of about 1/2 inch and a light source. This device is inserted through the rectum and gradually advanced into the colon, allowing for thorough examination. Additionally, it facilitates medical interventions such as biopsies, removal of abnormal growths, or polyps.

Colonoscopy serves various purposes, including screening for colorectal cancer or polyps, investigating causes of rectal bleeding or changes in bowel habits, diagnosing conditions like chronic diarrhea or iron deficiency anemia, and evaluating abnormal stool test or barium enema results. It’s also instrumental in managing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and diagnosing persistent abdominal pain.