Colonoscopy

Specialist diagnosis of gastroenterological conditions with testing via colonoscopy

Endoscopy is the term used to describe a medical procedure that uses a fine flexible tube, which houses a light and camera in its tip, to explore parts of the human body such as the colon, stomach and bladder.

Colonoscopy is one such form of endoscopy and is commonly used in diagnosing gastroenterological conditions.

The point of colonoscopy is to routinely and safely examine the human large bowel or colon.

The benefit of this procedure is that the doctor can not only look and see, but they can actually take small samples of tissue, called biopsies, to aid in diagnosis.

Book a consultation now

About Colonoscopy

  • The flexible camera used in this procedure is about 120cm long.
  • The procedure may last thirty minutes or so.
  • The risks of colonoscopy are low
  • Risks include discomfort (air or gas is blown in to distend the colon), bleeding (1%) and perforation or tearing a hole in the bowel, which occurs in about 1 in 1000 cases.

The most common conditions picked up in a colonoscopy are:

Why would a colonoscopy be needed?

A colonoscopy could be needed to help with diagnosis, if you are experiencing any key symptoms of stomach and gut conditions, such as:

  • Change in bowel habit
  • Loose bowel movements or diarrhoea
  • Passing blood
  • A low blood count or anaemia
  • A history of colon polyps

Also…

If you are worried about a family history of bowel cancer, or are over age 50 where you can be screened for bowel cancer via colonoscopy.

What to expect from a colonoscopy procedure

It is always reassuring to know what to expect from an examination before you actually go. A specialist consultant will prepare you in advance and answer any questions.

Useful information

  • The endoscopy procedure is performed usually with small amounts of intravenous sedation so you are not completely asleep, remaining awake but comfortable.
  • The day before you would have had a powerful liquid laxative at home to empty your bowel
  • On the day of the procedure, the doctor undertakes a rectal exam, administers the sedative, and then the procedure can begin.
  • The scope is inserted and advanced around the colon whilst lying on your left side and knees bent up. The colon has a few awkward twists and turns that the doctor has to get around before reaching the beginning of the large bowel or colon, otherwise known as the caecum.
  • The doctor then slowly, over a few minutes, removes the scope while looking for any abnormalities along the way. Small benign polyps can be snipped off and sent for further testing, and anything unusual can be biopsied.

How to prepare for a colonoscopy procedure

It is important for the colon to be as empty and as clean as possible, so that when the doctor undertakes the colonoscopy the views are as good as they can be.

In addition to twists and turns in the colon, there are what one can describe as ‘dark corners’ and areas behind a fold, which could hide a polyp.

No test is going to be 100% perfect but a well-performed colonoscopy, in a clean colon, is the best colon cancer detection or bowel cancer prevention test there is available.

Before the colonoscopy you will receive instructions on what to do prior to the procedure. These instructions differ slightly from one doctor or hospital to another, but they are broadly similar.

Typically, the following will apply to prepare for a colonoscopy

  • It is best to only consume clear liquids the day before the procedure.
  • Prior to this for up to 5 days it is sensible to consume a diet that is low in fibre, avoiding foods such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Any medications that slow the gut, such as loperamide, must be avoided
  • Iron tablets should be stopped a week before the procedure.
  • The day before the test it is important to drink an oral bowel cleansing solution, which is in fact a powerful laxative.
    • There are many on the market. Some are made up to a large volume of nearly 4 litres, others less, but it is vital to drink plenty of clear fluids to accompany the prep so everything is flushed through and out.
  • Avoid red coloured clear fluids.
  • For two hours before the test you should be nil by mouth.

There are some medical conditions that require special instructions and alterations to the normal regime, for example in diabetic patients or those with heart failure, liver disease or significant kidney dysfunction.

The different approaches are too numerous to go into detail, but of course you should inform your doctor of all medications you are on and also what your past medical history is so that they can make proper arrangements and advise you specifically with regards to what special additional instructions you may need to follow.

Consultation

Book to see a specialist

For many years patients have been coming to Dr Anton Bungay for colonoscopy examinations and expert advice and diagnosis on a range of gastroenterological conditions, including:

  • Diagnosis of bowel cancer
  • Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis
  • Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease
  • Family history and early signs
  • Bowel cancer screening

Feel reassured that you are not alone and that specialist help is available.

dr-anton-bungay

How it works

  1. Arrange an appointment at the practice most convenient for you
  2. Dr Anton Bungay will carry out a thorough examination followed by expert advice on your symptoms
  3. If further testing is required this will be explained to you so you are always fully aware of the next steps
  4. After care is available if you have any questions following the consultation.