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Colonoscopy

How It Feels

This test can be uncomfortable and you may feel embarrassed. The colon prep will cause diarrhea and cramping which may make you use the bathroom often.

During the test, you may feel very sleepy and relaxed from the sedative and pain medicines. You may have cramping or feel brief, sharp pain when the scope is moved or air is blown into your colon. As the scope is moved up the colon, you may feel the need to have a bowel movement and pass gas. If you are having pain, tell your doctor.

The suction machine used to remove stool (feces) and secretions may be noisy but does not cause pain.

You will feel sleepy after the test for a few hours. Many people say they do not remember very much about the test because of the sedative.

After the test, you may have bloating or crampy gas pains and may need to pass some gas. If a biopsy was done or a polyp taken out, you may have traces of blood in your stool (feces) for a few days. If polyps were taken out, your doctor may instruct you to not take aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for 7 to 14 days.

Risks

There is a small chance for problems from a colonoscopy. The scope or a small tool may tear the lining of the colon or cause bleeding.

After the test

After the test, call your doctor immediately if you:

  • Have heavy rectal bleeding.
  • Have severe belly pain.
  • Develop a fever.
  • Are very dizzy.
  • Are vomiting.
  • Have a swollen and firm belly.

Results

Colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). If a sample of tissue (biopsy) was collected during the colonoscopy, it will be sent to a lab for tests.

  • Samples of colon tissue are usually sent to a pathology lab, where they are looked at under a microscope for diseases.
  • Other samples of colon tissue may be sent to a microbiology lab to see whether an infection is present.

Your doctor may be able to tell you the results immediately after the procedure. Other test results are ready in 2 to 4 days. Test results for certain infections may be ready in several weeks.

Colonoscopy
Normal:

The lining of the colon looks smooth and pink, with a lot of normal folds. No growths, pouches, bleeding, or inflammation are present.

Abnormal:

Some common abnormal findings of colonoscopy include hemorrhoids (the most common cause of blood in the stool), polyps camera.gif, cancer camera.gif, one or more sores (ulcers), pouches in the wall of the colon (diverticulosis), or inflammation. A red, swollen lining of the colon (colitis) may be caused by infection or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 07, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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