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It is a procedure that allows physicians to examine the lumen of the colon. Usually, It is needed to detect causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits or to evaluate symptoms such as abnormal pain, rectal bleeding and weight loss.


What is the colon?

It is a large bowel located in the last part of the digestive tract. It starts at the end of the small intestine and ends at the rectum and anus. The colon is about 5 feet long; of his functions is the storage unabsorbed food wastes and absorption of water and body fluids before elimination of wastes as stool.  


How should you prepare yourself before the procedure?

  • Your colon should be completely empty for the procedure. You will be given a liquid diet for one to three days beforehand. This diet shouldn’t contain any food colorings, but it should be fat-free, water, fruit juice, plain coffee, plain tea, diet soda or gelatin.
  • You will be prescribed laxatives or enema (inserting a bottle of water into the anus to clean the bowel before the procedure)
  • You should inform your physician about your medical condition if you have or if your taking any medications such as aspirin, arthritis medications, blood thinners, diabetes medications or any vitamin that contains iron. 


What to expect during the procedure?

  • The procedure takes usually 30 to 60 minutes
  • First, you will be asked to lie on your left side on the examining table.
  • You be given a medication for pain that keeps you comfortable
  • The nurse and the physician will monitor you vital signs to detect if there are any sings of discomfort
  • Then, the physician will enter a lighted long tube called “the colonoscopeâ€? into your rectum and slowly will guide it into the colon. This colonscope will transmit an image of the inner side of the colon into a video screen so the physician can examine carefully the lining of your colon. 
  • Sometimes, you will be asked to change you posture so that the physician can examine different parts of the colon. The colonscope blows air and inflate it thus giving a better view.
  • The physician may remove any abnormal polyp growth in your colon by using tiny tools inserted through the scope (Polyps are sent to laboratory for investigation). Sometimes a biopsy is performed that will be followed with a laser shot, heater probe or electric probe in order to stop bleeding.
  • You may feel of mild cramps sometimes during the procedure. This could be alleviated if you take several slow deep breaths.
  • At the end of the procedure you should lie 1 to 2 hours in the colonscopy facility so the sedative wear off
  • You may feel pain after the procedure that should last in an hour.
  • If you feel of abnormal pain, bloody bowel movements, dizziness or weakness you should immediately inform your physician.
  • Please ask for your discharge instructions and stop any medications such as blood-thinners for a short time after the procedure


What is the advantage of this procedure?

In most of the cases, colonoscopy allows accurate treatment and diagnosis of colon, without the need for major operation.  

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