A colonoscopy is a preventive screening procedure in which a doctor assesses the inner lining of your rectum and colon. The doctor uses an instrument called the colonoscope, which is a thin tube that allows the physician to visualize the lining of your colon. Your doctor may recommend getting a colonoscopy for a variety of reasons: Colonoscopies are generally performed to detect signs of inflamed tissues, polyps, ulcers and cancer. This procedure helps investigate symptoms you may have been experiencing such as rectal bleeding, unusual changes in your bowel routine, or if you have a family history of polyps or colon cancer. .

Why You May Need …

At the doctor’s office or outpatient medical center, you will have to change into a medical gown and the medical professionals may give you medication to help you relax and ease any discomfort. Then you will be asked to lie down on your side or back. Next, the doctor will insert the flexible tube (colonoscope) through your anus into your colon. Small amounts of air are inserted through the tube to inflate the colon for better visibility. The doctor may extract tissue samples or polyps if found.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you get a colonoscopy every 10 years for people who do not have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.


  • The doctor’s office will provide you with bowel-prep instructions. For the procedure to be carried out accurately, it is essential to ensure that there is no stool in your intestines at the time of the colonoscopy.
  • Your medical history may be discussed.
  • Your endoscopist will take you through a consent form and the potential complications.
  • You will be given sedatives to help you relax.
  • Typically, there is a nurse with you throughout the procedure monitoring your vitals, addressing your level of comfort and explaining what’s going on.
  • A colonoscopy can take anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour.

About the Procedure 

  • Colon cancer is more common than you might think and a colonoscopy is used as a colon cancer screening test.
  • A colonoscopy is recommended if you are over the age of 45.
  • If you have a family history of colon cancer, cancer or colon polyps, your doctor will suggest getting the screening done.
  • Colonoscopies can help detect other bowel-related diseases, as well.


  • Reach out to your doctor’s office to learn about the prescreening precautionary measures you can take.
  • Write down your symptoms and any questions you may have regarding the procedure in advance so you don’t forget them.
  • Arrange for a ride home.
  • Consult your insurance provider to make sure this procedure is covered under your plan.

Possible Complications 

The treatment cost might vary based on your location, insurance provider and other factors.

*** IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The content herein is provided for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. Always consult your doctor before starting or changing treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 immediately.