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Colonoscopy information

We understand that undergoing a colonoscopy may seem daunting or unfamiliar to you. However, rest assured that it is a routine procedure performed to detect and prevent colorectal diseases. This introduction aims to provide you with valuable information about colonoscopies, helping you feel informed and prepared for the procedure.

What is a Colonoscopy? A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows your doctor to examine the inner lining of your large intestine (colon) using a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope. This instrument has a light and a small camera that transmits images to a monitor, enabling your doctor to identify any abnormalities, such as polyps or signs of colorectal diseases.

Why is a Colonoscopy Performed? Colonoscopies serve several important purposes:

  1. Screening: They are an effective way to detect early signs of colorectal cancer, even before symptoms appear.
  2. Diagnosis: If you have symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits, a colonoscopy can help identify the underlying cause.
  3. Prevention: During the procedure, your doctor can remove precancerous polyps, reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  4. Surveillance: For individuals with a history of polyps or colorectal cancer, regular colonoscopies can monitor the colon for any new abnormalities.

Preparing for Your Colonoscopy: Proper preparation is crucial for a successful colonoscopy. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully, which may include:

  1. Dietary Changes: You may be required to follow a special diet a few days before the procedure, which may involve avoiding high-fiber foods, seeds, nuts, and certain medications.
  2. Bowel Preparation: Your doctor will prescribe a laxative or bowel preparation solution to help cleanse your colon. It is essential to drink plenty of clear liquids during this process to prevent dehydration. 

During the Colonoscopy: On the day of your colonoscopy, here's what you can expect:

  1. Sedation: You will be given medication to help you relax and may fall asleep during the procedure.
  2. Procedure Details: The colonoscope is gently inserted through the rectum, and your doctor will carefully navigate it through your colon. Air may be pumped into the colon to provide better visibility.
  3. Monitoring: Your vital signs will be continuously monitored throughout the procedure.
  4. Biopsies and Polyp Removal: If any abnormalities, such as polyps, are discovered, your doctor may take small tissue samples (biopsies) or remove them during the procedure. These samples will be sent to a laboratory for further analysis.

After the Colonoscopy: Once the procedure is complete, you will be moved to a recovery area. Here are some key points to remember:

  1. Recovery Time: You may experience some cramping or bloating, which is normal and should subside shortly. The sedation's effects may take a few hours to wear off, so it is important to have someone accompany you home.
  2. Results and Follow-up: Your doctor will discuss the initial findings with you after the procedure. If any biopsies were taken, the results may take a few days. Your doctor will provide guidance on any necessary follow-up appointments or treatments.

Potential Risks and Complications: While colonoscopies are generally safe, like any medical procedure, there are potential risks to be aware of. These include bleeding, perforation of the colon (a rare occurrence), adverse reactions to sedation, or infection. Your doctor will discuss these risks with you and answer any specific questions you may have.

The Importance of Colonoscopies: Colonoscopies play a vital role in the early detection and prevention of colorectal diseases. By undergoing this procedure, you are taking an active step towards safeguarding your health and well-being.

If you have any concerns or questions about your upcoming colonoscopy, please do not hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider. Remember, they are here to support and guide you throughout the process.

Stay proactive in caring for your health, and thank you for entrusting us with your care.

  • Phone

    +27 21 201 6582

  • Consulting Rooms

    Room 4,
    Durbanville Medisuite,
    9 Paul Kruger St, Durbanville,
    Cape Town 7550

  • Hospital

    Mediclinic Durbanville
    Wellington Road, Durbanville,
    Cape Town 7550