A Colonoscopy is a test that allows a Doctor to look directly at the whole of the large bowel (colon).

This test can help to find out what is causing your bowel symptoms or other conditions. The alternative to a colonoscopy is a barium enema, a type of X-ray that does not include treatment or provide biopsies.

Click on the headings below to learn more about this procedure:

What to expect

    In order to do this, a flexible tube (the thickness of a finger) with a light on the end of it is carefully passed through the anus into the rectum and large bowel. This can be briefly uncomfortable as bends in the colon are negotiated.

    To allow a clear view, your bowel needs to be completely empty and that is why it is important to follow our instructions and diet sheet carefully.

    The Doctor will give you an injection in your arm to make you drowsy and relaxed. A Nurse will be with you throughout the test pictures and samples (known as biopsies) may be taken and sometimes, small fleshy knobs on the lining of the bowel, which are known as polyps, can be removed.

    In some cases an enema may also be given prior to examination.

After the Test

    You will be allowed to rest for approximately one hour and given biscuits and a soft drink of your choice. When the effects of the injection have worn off arrangements will be made for you to return home. Any information will be given to you in writing.

    Because of the sedative you have had, it is essential that someone collects you to take you home. The effects of the sedative can last longer than you think so you should not drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or sign legal documents for the rest of the day.