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A colonoscopy is an examination that allows you to see the inside of your entire large intestine using a flexible endoscope (colonoscope) as thick as your index finger. The main purpose of performing a colonoscopy is to assess the mucosa of the large intestine. How to prepare for this study? How does a colonoscopy work?

Colonoscopyinvolves inserting acolonoscopeinto the large intestine through the rectal vesicle, sigmoid colon and descending colon, transverse colon and ascending colon into the ileo-valve angular. Using additional instruments, duringcolonoscopyit is possible to collect mucosal specimens for histopathological examination and perform endoscopic procedures such as

  • removal of polyps (polypectomy);
  • stopping bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract
  • widening of intestinal strictures (e.g. after surgery);
  • in inoperable neoplasms, palliative reduction of the tumor mass in order to obtain patency of the lower gastrointestinal tract.

Indications for a colonoscopy

The indications for a colonoscopy are:

  • colorectal cancer screening;
  • colon polyps;
  • lower gastrointestinal bleeding;
  • change in bowel movements (constipation, diarrhea, pencil-like stools);
  • iron deficiency anemia;
  • colonic diverticula;
  • inflammatory bowel diseases.
Worth knowing

Successful screening colonoscopy

After the introduction of colonoscopy - endoscopic examination of the large intestine - for screening, in the last 15 years as many as 9,000 Poles were protected against colon cancer. Prof. Jarosław Reguła, head of the Gastroenterology Oncology Clinic of the Oncology Center in Warsaw, spoke about it during the 19th world congress of gastrointestinal cancer in Barcelona.Colonoscopy(colonoscopy) detects and removes polyps that can turn into a malignant tumor. Oncologists suspect that all malignant tumors of the intestine arise from polyps, which is why their detection and removal is so important in the prevention of colorectal cancer. In Poland, colonoscopy has been used in screening tests for 15 years. Since 2012, mailing invitations have been sent to people aged55-64 years of age, because in this group as many as 5% are at risk of developing colorectal cancer. So far, 50 thousand. such research. In 2022, for the first time as part of screening tests, reimbursed from the budget, as many as 110,000 will be carried out in Poland. colonoscopy, more than twice as many as in previous years. It will be possible thanks to increasing their financing.


How to prepare for a colonoscopy?

Correspondingpreparation for colonoscopyplease start 7 days before the examination:

  • stop taking iron supplements;
  • people taking anti-aggregation drugs (inhibiting the activity of platelets) such as aspirin, acard, etc. - should stop taking them after consulting the doctor who ordered the use of these drugs;
  • people taking anticoagulants such as sintrom, syncumar, acenocumarol - it is necessary to contact a physician in charge of anticoagulant treatment in order to switch to low molecular weight heparin;
  • patients with diabetes and other serious chronic diseases that may affect the preparation for the test must contact their doctor in advance to individually establish a detailed plan of conduct;
  • stop eating stone fruit, especially with small seeds (kiwi, strawberries, grapes) and grain bread, muesli, linseed, poppy seeds, etc. You should also avoid eating red beets (beetroot falsifies the color of the intestinal mucosa).

3 days before the colonoscopy examination you should

  • do not eat solid meals;
  • a liquid diet is recommended - any amount of coffee, tea, water, juices without fruit pulp and soups without vegetables and additives.

On the day before the colonoscopy examination

  • you can only eat breakfast, no fizzy drinks or milk;
  • you should start using oral laxatives (macrogols or phosphates). In each endoscopic laboratory that performs colonoscopy, patients are provided with information about the preparation for the examination and preparations to be taken.

The course of the colonoscopy step by step

1. Before the test, change into protective clothing and lie down on the test bed. The most common position is the left side position with the knees pulled up towards the chin, but during the colonoscopy it may be necessary to change the position of the body in order to better visualize the intestines.

2. The doctor first examines the area of ​​the anus (checks for fistulas, hemorrhoids, abscesses) and lubricates with gellocal anesthetic, and then performs a digital rectal examination (finger examination through the anus). A colonoscopy may be accompanied by a feeling of distension, flatulence and cramps in the abdominal cavity, therefore it may be performed under general intravenous anesthesia, which will allow the examination to be better tolerated. Air that is blown into the lumen of the intestine to reveal its walls and allow the endoscope to move further and further can cause discomfort. Do not be embarrassed when gases or fluid leak through the rectum during the examination as this is a common situation. A colonoscopy usually takes 15 to 40 minutes. In some cases, it is not possible to insert the colonoscope all the way to the end of the large intestine (where it connects with the small intestine). In such a situation, the doctor may order other additional tests or decide that the incompletecolonoscopyis sufficient.

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