There she was Katie Couric On TV, I caught it on aol.com/news,in her hospital 'johnny' looking slightly dazed and out of sorts but otherwise fit as a fiddle. She had just had a colonoscopy. Hats off to Katie Couric for making us all a bit more aware.
A colonoscopy is an examination of the large intestine using a flexible tube which can be inserted the whole length of your large intestine. This examination will reveal danger signs of cancer and other things you would like to know about your health.
Polyps are abnormal growths in the mucosa lining of the large intestine. There are various kinds of polyps; some are benign, others may be the precursors of colorectal cancer. Although the presence of polyps is not always apparent,signs to watch out for include blood in the stool, and rarely, watery diarrhea. If your doctor suspects polyps,diagnosis is usually made via barium enema and colonoscopy examination. Polyps are removed with a specially equipped colonoscope and examined for the presence of abnormal cells.
There are two different preparations depending on your physician’s choice:
(1) You may be put on a clear liquid diet for a day or two before the test and you are instructed to take a laxative the night before the examination.
(2) You may be instructed to drink a gallon of special liquid which is prepared by a pharmacist. Enemas may be given before the test.
An intravenous line will be started in your arm before the test begins. You must tell the nurse if you have any allergies and what medications you take.
The test is done in a special room called the Endoscopy Room or in the X-ray suite.
You will take off all of your clothes, fold them, place them in a laundry bag and put them away securely. You then put on the hospital “Johnny” with the opening in the back. You will be placed on a special table lying on your left side with your knees drawn up towards your chest. The scope, a fiber optic tube, will be inserted though your rectum and passed into your large intestine. Air may be introduced so that your doctor can see the folds of the lining of your intestine. Because your cooperation and responses are important, it is essential that you be awake during the test. (I honestly don’t remember anything during the examination.) You are given medication thru the IV to relax you before the scope is inserted and if necessary during the test to keep you comfortable. As the scope is inserted you may have the urge to move your bowels. (Don’t worry about it, it’s mostly air.) There will also be some crampy feeling if air is introduced. Both of these will pass when the air is expelled and the scope removed. Otherwise this is not a painful procedure.
You should have no discomfort but you might feel tired from the examination. If a biopsy is done or a polyp removed you may have some slight bleeding. This is usually of no consequence. Your physician may want to observe you for a short time after the test before sending you home.
It is important to make arrangements for someone to accompany you to and from the hospital as you will not be able to drive after the test because of medication.