A colonoscopy is an effective way of detecting many conditions of the bowel that can range in severity from uncomfortable to deadly. The test is standard for those over the age of 50 and involves the insertion of a flexible tube with a camera on the end into the rectum. It is then guided through the colon to look for growths or any other irregularities. How you feel after the procedure will depend largely on whether you had a routine experience, a tissue sample collected or polyps removed.
It is common following a colonoscopy to suffer from an upset stomach and irregular bowel habits for a few days following the procedure. This is typically caused by the bowel cleansing substances and fasting required prior to the procedure. Diarrhoea and constipation are also normal for a day or two.
Light bleeding from the rectum is normal following a colonoscopy due to irritation of the area. This is especially the case when a tissue sample is taken or a polyp is removed.
During the colonoscopy procedure, the colon is filled with air to make it easier to see. However, following the procedure, this air may exit the body in the form of gas and can cause bloating and some discomfort.
Since you will be placed under mild sedation during the colonoscopy procedure, it is normal to experience fatigue, confusion and a lack of coordination for up to 24 hours.
There are some complications that are abnormal and require immediate medical attention. These complications include chills, stomach pain, fever, blood in bowel movements and heavy bleeding from the rectum. Vomiting is also a sign that something might be amiss, specifically a colon perforation. This is rare, but would require immediate attention from a health care provider.