What is a colonoscopy?
It’s when an endoscopist puts a thin flexible tube with a camera on the end up your bottom so they can see the inside of your bowel. It can be a little uncomfortable but it’s a really effective way for doctors to get a close up view of your bowel to see if there is anything wrong.
Bowel Cancer UK has put together some helpful information to get you prepared:
- Before your colonoscopy, you’ll be asked to drink a strong laxative. This cleans your bowel thoroughly so the endoscopist can spot any changes, but it will mean frequent trips to the toilet.
- When you arrive at your appointment you’ll be asked to change into a gown, which keeps you modest during the colonoscopy. A nurse will explain the procedure and ask you to lie on your side. The endoscopist will then put a thin flexible tube with a camera on the end up your bottom so they can see the inside of your bowel.
- It’s usually painless and only takes about 30 minutes – there can be some discomfort, so you’ll be offered a painkiller or sedative if you wish.
- The endoscopist may remove polyps (non-cancerous growths) or tissue samples if they think anything needs a closer look.
Most people who have a colonoscopy won’t have bowel cancer. But, if bowel cancer is detected at its earliest stage nearly everybody is treated successfully.
That's why if you have an appointment for a colonoscopy, it's really important that you attend – let's keep your bowel in good health.