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HealthInfo Canterbury


Colonoscopy is a procedure that lets doctors see inside your bowels.

In a colonoscopy, a doctor passes a thin, flexible tube into your bottom, and then through to your large intestine. The tube is about the width of an index finger, and has a tiny video camera at the end, which sends images to a screen so the doctor can see inside your bowels. The doctor can also take small samples of tissue if necessary.

Colonoscopies are done in hospital, and you can usually go home the same day. You don't have to have a general anaesthetic, but you are usually given a sedative to relax you so you don't feel much discomfort.

Your bowels need to be completely empty before a colonoscopy. If you need to have one you will be given information about preparing your bowel, which involves taking laxatives the day before. It is important to follow the instructions closely, so the doctors can see inside your bowel clearly.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2017.

See also:

Colonoscopy & sigmoidoscopy if you have diabetes

Having an anaesthetic

Page reference: 20309

Review key: HICOL-20309