A colonoscopy allows the physician to look inside your entire large intestine. The procedure enables him to see things such as inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers.
It is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It is also used to look for causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits and to evaluate symptoms like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.
During a colonoscopy, the doctor uses a colonoscope, a long, flexible, tubular instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter that transmits an image of the lining of the colon so the doctor can examine it for any abnormalities. If the doctor sees something that may be abnormal, small amounts of tissue can be removed for analysis and abnormal growths, or polyps, can be identified and removed.
In many cases, colonoscopy allows accurate diagnosis and treatment without the need for a major operation. Full recovery by the next day is normal and expected and you may return to your regular activities.