How It Feels
The colon prep will cause diarrhea. Some people also have cramping.
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
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
There is a small chance for problems from a
colonoscopy. The scope or a small tool may tear the lining of the colon or
After the test
After the test, call your doctor
immediately if you:
- Have heavy rectal bleeding.
severe belly pain.
- Develop a fever.
- Are very
- Are vomiting.
- Have a swollen and firm
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
- 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.
The lining of the colon looks
smooth and pink, with a lot of normal folds. No growths, pouches, bleeding, or
inflammation are present.
Some abnormal findings
of colonoscopy include
hemorrhoids (the most common cause of blood in the
polyps , cancer , 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).
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Having a
barium enema within a week before the test. Barium can
block your doctor's view of the colon.
- Not doing a good colon prep before the test. If you still have stool (feces) in the
colon, your doctor may cancel the test and you will have to reschedule and do the colon prep again.
- Having a colon that has many turns, past surgery on the colon, or a lot of pain
during the test.
- Taking iron supplements. This may make your stool
turn black and make it hard to clean out the colon. Do not take iron
supplements for several days before a colonoscopy.
- Drinking red or purple fluids, such as grape juice or fruit
- Eating red or purple foods, such as grape ice pops or