Colonoscopy is the process of examining the rectum, the entire colon and the large intestine from the anus to the part of the small intestine. Owing to the colonoscopy device consisting of a 60 cm long and 1 cm tubing and a camera at the end, the physician monitors the inside of the intestine and performs the necessary examination.
When should a colonoscopy be performed?
Colonoscopy screening is started at the age of 50 for people without any family history in bowel cancer, and without any intestinal complaints. It should be repeated every 10 years if no polyps were observed.
Colonoscopy screening age is 40 for people for first degree relatives developed bowel, breast, uterine or ovarian cancer before the age of 65. If the first degree relative of the patient is 10 years before the age of cancer, an early screening should be done before the age of 40.
Colonoscopy should be performed every year in patients with ulcerative colitis when the duration of the disease exceeds 10 years.
The screening age should start at the age of 15-18 for people with family history of inherited polyposis syndromes.
Colonoscopy controls should be performed at 1-3-5 or 10-year intervals, depending on the number and pathological types of polyps detected in screening colonoscopy. If screening is aimed only in terms of left colon tumors, flexible sigmoidoscopy can be performed every 2-3 years between long colonoscopy examinations.
If there is no discomfort or suspicion, the saying “colonoscopy should be done every year” is not correct. Colonoscopy should only be done once a year under special conditions. In cases where the patient does not prefer colonoscopy, CT colonography can be performed every five years. However, only diagnosis can be done in CT colonography. If any polyp or mass is observed, a re-colonoscopy is required for biopsy. In addition, it should be kept in mind that limited data are obtained with CT in the diagnosis of early stage colon and rectal cancer.
What to do in the colonoscopy preparation process?
For a successful colonoscopy result, the intestines must be as clean as possible. Therefore, the physician gives the patient a special diet list to start a few days before the procedure. In order not to leave fiber during the diet, the consumption of fiber foods is restricted. Solid food consumption is stopped the day before the colonoscopy, only liquid is consumed until the operation time. The physician gives some drugs to empty the intestines thoroughly, enema is applied before the procedure.
Before a colonoscopy, what should I pay attention to?
Do not smoke or drink alcohol before the procedure.
Inform your physician if there are regular medications under use.
Wear comfortable clothes such as tracksuits.
Carefully follow the diet list that our physician will give.
Use the medication prescribed to cleanse your intestines.
One day before the procedure, fatigue may be seen due to hunger. Resting should be done on that day.
Coming with companion would be better.
How is a colonoscopy performed?
Colonoscopy procedure is performed under mild anesthesia. In order to perform the procedure, the patient is dressed in a special dress that exposes the back. After the anesthesia is given, the patient is brought to the appropriate position and the physician carefully and slowly inserts the tube with a camera at the end into the intestine. The physician sends a small amount of air into the intestines to provide a more comfortable view. In case of a problem in the intestine, the physician can biopsy and take polyps during the special apparatus at the end of the colonoscopy device.
How long does the process take?
Colonoscopy procedure usually takes 15-20 minutes. However, if an extraordinary situation is encountered in the intestines during the procedure, this period may take up to an hour. After the anesthesia effect wears off, the patient can go home.
Is it a painful procedure?
Because of anesthesia and painkillers, the patient does not feel the slightest pain during the procedure. There is no pain after the procedure.
To what should I pay attention after colonoscopy?
The day of surgery should be taken for rest, and patient shouldn’t drive neither go to work.
As air was given to your intestines during the procedure, patient may experience some gas pains after waking up. Short walks around the house should be done to eliminate the gas problem.
In case of detecting a small amount of blood in stool after the procedure, patient should not worry. But he/ she should inform the doctor if the bleeding does not stop.