is a colonoscopy? Colonoscopy is an outpatient
procedure in which the rectum and the inside of the lower large
intestine (colon) are examined. Colonoscopies are commonly used to
evaluate bowel disorders, rectal bleeding or polyps. Colonoscopies
are also performed to screen people over age 50 for colon and rectal
What happens during a
colonoscopy? During a colonoscopy, your physician
will use a colonoscope (a long, flexible instrument about 1/2 inch
in diameter) to view the lining of the colon. The colonoscope is
inserted through the rectum and advanced to the large intestine.
If necessary during a
colonoscopy, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis and
polyps can be identified and removed. In most cases, colonoscopy
allows accurate diagnosis and treatment without the need for a major
In order for
your doctor to get the best possible view and make the colonoscopy
easier, your large bowel needs to be cleaned out of all waste material.
receive a preparation kit which contains full instructions. Usually this
involves a special diet for a day or two, consisting of no solid food,
lots of clear fluids and laxatives the day before the procedure.
It is important that
you have nothing to eat or drink for six hours before the procedure is
you may have a sip of water with your regular medications.