What is a colonoscopy?


A colonoscopy is a procedure used to detect changes or abnormalities in the colon and rectum. The colon, or large intestine, is part of your digestive system. It connects the small intestine to the rectum.

How it works


During a colonoscopy, a long and flexible tube called a colonoscope is inserted through the anus and carefully pushed into the rectum and colon. A tiny video camera at the tip of the tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon.

This procedure is usually done under sedation for the patient's comfort.

Why do you need a colonoscopy?

Your doctor might recommend a colonoscopy if you have symptoms that suggest potential abnormalities in your colon or rectum.

These symptoms include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in the stool
  • Changes in bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhoea
  • Abnormal weight loss
  • Abdominal pain

Screening for cancer

Colonoscopy is also a screening method for colon cancer, colon polyps and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Consider going for a colonoscopy if you:

  • Are above 45 years old
  • Have a family history of colon cancer

What are the risks and complications of a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is considered to be a safe procedure. Risks such as adverse reaction to the sedative, bleeding from the biopsy site or perforation of the colon or rectum wall are rare. Less than 1% of patients suffer from these complications.

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