What is a Colonoscopy used for?

By  , Expert Content
Feb 17, 2012

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Colonoscopy is an invasive medical test that lets your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine (rectum and colon). A thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope is used to look at the colon. Colonoscopy may be done for several reasons. Some of the common reasons for which colonoscopy is done include:

  • Check for colorectal cancer or polyps: Colorectal cancer is a common type of cancer in adults. There are a number of factors which increase your risk of developing this cancer. If you have signs and symptoms suggestive of colon cancer your doctor may recommend tests to confirm the diagnosis. Colonoscopy is considered as an effective method to prevent colorectal cancer in people who have factors which significantly increase the risk of colon cancer. Factors which significantly increase the risk of colon cancer include personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer, ulcerative or Crohn's colitis, or a strong family history of colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS), the American College of Gastroenterologists (ACG), the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend routine testing for people older than 50 years who have a normal risk for colorectal cancer. People at higher risk of colorectal cancer may be recommended earlier or more frequent testing.
  • Diagnose the cause of blood in the stool or rectal bleeding: Blood in stool may be caused due to common problems like haemorrhoids, or constipation or serious diseases such as colorectal cancer.
  • Diagnose the cause of change in bowel habits: If you have any changes in bowel habits such as diarrhoea or constipation or a change in the consistency of stool which persists more than or few days or becomes bothersome
  • Diagnose the cause of dark or black stools
  • Diagnose the cause of chronic diarrhoea.
  • Diagnose the cause of iron deficiency anemia.
  • Diagnose the cause of sudden, unexplained weight loss.
  • Check the colon if result of stool test or barium enema test are abnormal
  • Treat and follow-up inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Diagnose cause of long-term, unexplained belly pain..



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