What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is an endoscopic medical procedure to view the entire large intestine. Colonosocpy uses a long, flexible, lighted tubular instrument called a colonoscope
Who should undergo a Colonoscopy?
Dr Neeraj Goel, Consultant-GI Surgeon at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Patparganj says, Colonoscopy is recommended to any patient having bleeding from rectum or have recent change in the bowel habits.
It is used as screening procedure for normal individuals after age of 50 years and earlier if there is strong family history of large intestinal cancer. Colonoscopy can be used for removal of small polyps and biopsy of the tumorous growth.
It is also used bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. It is used after treatment of bowel cancer for keeping a watch on any growth that may arise again
What are the symptoms of Colon Cancer?
- Bleeding from rectum(bright red or dark)
- Recent change in bowel habits which troubles persistently.
- Incomplete evacuation (sensation of not able to pass stools completely.
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Feeling very tired (weakness and fatigue)
Any or a combination of these symptoms can be present in a patient. The signs and symptoms will also differ in severity based on the cancer’s location in the colon, size and growth.
Can Colonoscopy be painful?
The procedure usually takes 5-10 minutes depending upon the ease of advancing the colonoscope. It is usually well tolerated by most of the patients. There is a little sense of cramping because of air being put in the large intestine. Sedation helps in keeping the patient relaxed during the procedure
What are the risks of Colonoscopy?
The procedure is virtually free of any complications and risks.
- 2 in 1,000 cases may cause a perforation (a hole) in the intestinal wall. Most of the cases get alright with observation only. A few may require corrective surgery.
- Uncontrollable bleeding after polyp removal or biopsy site occurs infrequently, in less than 1 in 1,000 cases.
- Some patients may have adverse reactions to the sedatives
- Infections due to a colonoscopy are also extremely rare.
- Patients with artificial or abnormal heart valves are usually given antibiotics before and after the procedure to prevent an infection.
If you have any of these symptoms at any age, or if you have a strong family history make an appointment with your gastroenterologist or gastrosurgeon for investigations.
Colon cancer can develop at any age!