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Colonoscopy: A Comprehensive Guide on the Procedure and Its Importance

October 31, 2023


A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows specialists to look inside the colon and rectum. As intimidating as it may sound, a colonoscopy is the most effective way to lower your chances of developing colorectal cancer. In fact, there is compelling evidence showing that colonoscopies may reduce your risk of dying from this type of cancer by 88%.

Read on to clarify your questions about colonoscopies, why they matter, and what to expect from this procedure. This easy-to-understand guide may eliminate any fear or second thoughts about colonoscopy.

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How Does the Colonoscopy Procedure Work?

Colonoscopy may sound like a complex process, but it’s common and quite straightforward. Let’s break it down for you.


Before you undergo the colonoscopy, your colon and rectum must be empty to check clearly inside your entire colon. The doctor will instruct you to prepare by fasting and cleansing. This typically means having a special diet and using laxatives prescribed one or two days before the procedure by your doctor. You need to dutifully follow the instructions given by your specialist to ensure a safe and effective colonoscopy.

During the Procedure

During the colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist carefully inserts a long, flexible instrument, known as a colonoscope, into your rectum. This instrument is equipped with a tiny camera on its tip to closely inspect the interior of your colon. By guiding it gently and slowly through your colon, the doctor can effectively monitor your colon and identify any potential health concerns.

In short, every detail of the procedure is thoughtfully designed to ensure both your comfort and your safety.

After the Procedure

After the effects of medications have worn off, you will spend just a few hours in recovery.

Are There Possible Complications after a Colonoscopy?

Most colonoscopies go smoothly, but there could be a few complications in rare cases, including:


There could be slight bleeding at the site where a polyp was removed, or a biopsy was taken. Usually, this bleeding stops on its own, or the doctor can control it.


In very rare cases, the colonoscope can create a small tear in the colon or rectum. If this happens, it’s usually a minor issue that can be resolved without any significant intervention.

Reaction to Medication

Some people may have an adverse reaction to the sedative used during the procedure, but professional healthcare providers closely monitor patients to ensure a speedy response to any problems.

After a colonoscopy, typical signs such as bloating or mild cramps are common and usually disappear quickly. Serious symptoms like severe abdominal pain, blood in your stool, fever, or weakness are not part of the norm, and you should notify your doctor immediately if you experience them.

Why Might You Need a Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a powerful preventative tool, particularly against colorectal cancer. Avoiding the topic because it seems uncomfortable doesn’t do any good. Let’s take a closer look at why colonoscopy is so important.

The main reason is that your doctor can spot polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum before they have a chance to develop into cancer. During a colonoscopy procedure, these polyps can be safely and painlessly removed.

Colonoscopies can also help in diagnosing other colon conditions, such as

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Diverticula
  • Ulcerations
  • Any other objects stuck inside the colon

Recent reports have shown that colorectal cancer rates have risen among young people. In fact, 1 in 5 new colon and rectal cancer cases are diagnosed among people in their early 50s. That’s the reason why the American Cancer Society suggests everyone over the age of 45 should start getting regular colonoscopies.

As you can see, a colonoscopy is not just any medical examination; it’s a key ally in your fight against colorectal diseases, ensuring a healthier and more secure future. 

What Should You Assess Before Getting a Colonoscopy?

When it comes to colonoscopy services, you want to ensure you’re in capable hands. As you evaluate potential providers, consider these key factors:

Board Certification

Look for a board-certified gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon who performs colonoscopies regularly. This will give you confidence in their expertise and experience.

Supportive Staff

Seek a clinic where the staff is friendly, patient, and willing to answer all your questions. Remember, you deserve a healthcare team that eases your concerns.

Preparation and Follow-Up Care

Make sure your chosen provider thoroughly explains the necessary preparation steps and offers appropriate follow-up care. This will ensure a smoother overall experience.

Choosing the best colonoscopy services is essential for maintaining optimal health. At Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center, we provide top-quality, patient-centered health services so you can feel confident you’re in great hands.

FAQs About Colonoscopy

When it comes to our health, we all have questions and concerns, especially about procedures like colonoscopies. For that reason, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about colonoscopies answered, dispelling myths and helping you take charge of your well-being:

At What Age Should You Start Getting Colonoscopies?

As stated before, the American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer should begin regular colonoscopy screenings at age 45 instead of waiting until 50. However, individuals with a family history of colon cancer or certain pre-existing conditions might need to start earlier. You should consult your doctor about the best time to begin.

Are Colonoscopies No Longer Recommended after a Certain Age?

There isn’t a fixed age for stopping colonoscopy screenings. However, the procedure may not be necessary for adults older than 75, depending on their individual health and medical history. Your doctor will help determine if you need further colonoscopies as you age.

How Often Should You Have a Colonoscopy?

For most individuals, a colonoscopy every ten years is the general recommendation. However, if polyps or other issues are detected, you may require more frequent screenings.

It’s essential to think of colonoscopies as a proactive step toward your long-term health and well-being. By understanding the procedure, its importance, and how to find the best service providers, you’ll be well-equipped to take control of your health.

At Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center, we’re dedicated to helping you live a healthy, fulfilling life. If you have further questions about colonoscopy or other health issues, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us today for more information on our services! We are here to guide and support you every step of the way.