Q:

Is bleeding normal after a colonoscopy?

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Quick Answer

Patients who experience bleeding after a colonoscopy should consult their gastroenterologist as soon as possible, as colon perforation may have taken place. However, patients who undergo hemorrhoid treatment at the same time are the exception, as several of those procedures lead to minor bleeding afterward, notes Digestive Health Associates.

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A 2009 study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that bleeding leading to either hospitalization or transfusion happened in a total of 2.3 patients out of every 1,000 examinations. Other potential risks of colonoscopy include diverticulitis and postpolypectomy syndrome. However, the benefits of cancer prevention and early detection make colonoscopy's benefits more than outweigh the risks, as stated by Digestive Health Associates.

In addition to bleeding, other warning signs after a colonoscopy include flu-like symptoms, such as body aches, fever and chills. This could be a reaction to the sedative given for the colonoscopy, especially if propofol was the medication. If these symptoms are also accompanied by abdominal pain or tenderness, the colon may have been perforated during the exam. In either case, immediate medical attention is necessary. After the procedure, the doctor presents initial results before sending the patient home, and if tissue is sent to the lab for further analysis, those results generally come back within 1 to 2 weeks, states Digestive Health Associates.

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