A colonoscopy is a slightly invasive procedure involving examining the colon through a colonoscope that provides a detailed, in-depth view. It's often performed to identify instances of polyps, many of which can turn into cancer if they continue to go untreated for too long. If you're having bowel problems or experiencing specific symptoms, such as rectal bleeding, chronic bloating, or unusual discharge in your stool, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who will perform a colonoscopy for you. 

Is It Painful to Have a Colonoscopy Done?

People preparing to undergo this procedure often worry if it's going to cause pain and discomfort. However, most would agree it's not painful because patients receive sedation for the duration of the treatment. While most are still awake and slightly alert, they typically won't feel any discomfort, making the idea of having a colonoscopy much less stressful for anyone feeling even the slightest bit worried about being uncomfortable. It's also helpful to know that the procedure typically lasts for 60 minutes or less. 

Perhaps the most uncomfortable thing about a colonoscopy is the liquid one must drink before the procedure. However, consuming the substance while following an all-liquid diet is necessary to ensure the area is clear of feces before the procedure begins. Unfortunately, this means you probably won't be able to have any solid food for around 24 hours.

Why Is It Beneficial to Have a Colonoscopy Done?

If your doctor has recommended a colonoscopy, you'll want to have it done for several reasons. First, colon cancer is one of several common cancers that can develop in people of all ages. And while it is more common in people over 65, a growing number of younger people are receiving this diagnosis, making it even more important to undergo a colonoscopy at an earlier age. Earlier detection of polyps or early signs of colon cancer can improve a person's chance of survival. If a diagnosis occurs, someone with colon cancer in its earlier stages will likely beat the disease compared to someone diagnosed in the later stages.

A colonoscopy may sound intimidating to some, but it's a painless procedure providing valuable information to medical professionals about what's going on with your colon. And, if the medical professionals find anything, they can make you aware of it and take action, which may include removing polyps before they turn cancerous. Because colon cancer is something that has taken the lives of millions of people worldwide, it's worth getting a colonoscopy to make sure you're in the clear.