A colonoscopy is a visual examination of the rectum and colon to determine the presence of abnormalities in these regions and it is performed using a colonoscope. A colonoscope is a flexible tube about the size of a finger. It is fitted with a camera and connected to a TV screen. The specialist can guide the colonoscope through the rectum and colon with a view to determining the presence of abnormalities in the mucous membranes. Using a small pincers inserted through the colonoscope, the physician can take samples from the mucous membrane and remove polyps. This is painless.
Before a colonoscopy, there are a few things that you need to be aware of.
To ensure the successful performance and results of the examination, it is imperative that the bowel is emptied completely before the examination. Thorough bowel cleansing is therefore required.
The days leading up to the examination: Stop ingesting kernels and seeds in the week prior to the colonoscopy. This includes seeds in fruit and vegetables for example kiwi, tomatoes and quinoa.
8.00 am. A light breakfast must be eaten. After breakfast, do not eat solid food until after the examination.
1.00 pm. For “ lunch”, at least 1 glass is consumed, but preferably several glasses of “clear” liquid. By “clear” liquid is meant water, clear soup, juice without pulp, coffee without cream, tea, juice, etc.
1st dose. Immediately afterwards, dilute the contents of one of the letters Picoprep in a glass of cold water (150 ml). Drink the solution followed by at least 1 full glass of cold water (240 ml.). You may want to consume more clear liquid if desired. During the day, drink at least 3 whole glasses of clear liquid before bedtime.
8.pm. For “dinner”, drink at least 1 full glass of “clear” liquid.
2nd dose. Immediately after “dinner”, dilute the contents of the second letter Picoprep in a glass of cold water. Drink the solution followed by at least a full glass of cold water. Additional “clear” fluid may be ingested until the actual time of examination. It is important to drink plenty during the entire cleansing.
It is important to stay hydrated and drink lots of fluid during the bowel cleanse.
You will lie on your left side during the examination. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and up into the colon. The full length of the colon will be examined. A puff of air is pumped into the colon to ensure that the folds are open and that the physician can examine the colon walls systematically. You may find this causes discomfort and bloating. The physician will release some of the air at the end of the examination and the discomfort will dissipate. The examination takes approximately 45 minutes.
To minimize discomfort, a combination of analgesic and sedative can be administered at the beginning of the examination.
You may eat and drink normally after the examination.
If you have been given a sedative, you may not drive a car for the rest of the day. If a biopsy was taken, the results will be available within 1-2 weeks.
A colonoscopy is a very safe examination, which very rarely causes complications. Taking samples from the mucous membrane may result in small amounts of blood in the stool within the first 24 hours.
In extremely rare cases after removal of a polyp, severe bleeding or colon perforation may occur. In that case, contact the clinic or the nearest emergency room immediately.
The medicine can result in forgetfulness and you might forget what has been told. You will therefore receive written information about the results of the examination afterwards. You are also welcomed to bring a relative along.
Try to get both salt (stock) and sugar (soda) throughout the day.