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What is a colonoscopy and do I need one?

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Investigating digestive disorders or bowel conditions sometimes requires a closer look at what’s going on internally with a procedure called a colonoscopy – where a thin, flexible tube with a telescopic camera at the end is carefully inserted into the colon (also known as the large intestine/bowel) via the rectum. 

Here are 3 key examples of when a colonoscopy should be considered:

Investigating digestive problems

Symptoms of gut health conditions often overlap. For instance, ongoing diarrhoea and constipation and abdominal pain could indicate a number of things, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), coeliac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, so getting to the root cause can sometimes be a lengthy process. A colonoscopy can help doctors check for signs of abnormalities such as inflammation. 

Diagnosing bowel cancer

If there’s any suspicion of bowel cancer, a colonoscopy can be carried out to help detect abnormal growths, lesions or cell changes that may indicate cancer. The nurse of doctor carrying out the procedure will take photographs of the bowel lining and remove cell samples at the same time (known as a biopsy) to be sent to the labs for examination. Find out more about bowel cancer symptoms

Detecting and removing polyps  

Polyps, growths that form in the lining of the colon, are very common. They’re often completely harmless, although polyps can sometimes cause symptoms including discomfort, rectal bleeding and changes in bowel habits – and there is a risk they’ll become cancerous further down the line. If polyps are spotted during a colonoscopy, it’s usually possible to remove them at the same time. 

 

To enquire about colonoscopy and other bowel and digestive health tests we offer, book a free consultation today.

 

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