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What are the risks of a colonoscopy?

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Quick Answer

There are a few risks associated with a colonoscopy including adverse reactions to the sedative, bleeding, and tearing of the rectum or colon, according to Mayo Clinic. These complications are not common, but a person should discuss them with a doctor before the procedure.

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Full Answer

During a colonoscopy, the patient is usually sedated and asked to wear a gown, explains Mayo Clinic. The doctor guides a scope through the rectum and into the colon. This scope has a light and camera on it, allowing the doctor to examine the sides of these organs. If polyps are found, the doctor can remove them with another instrument. He then can send the polyps for testing, as they may be a sign of colon cancer.

Following the colonoscopy, the patient usually needs about an hour to come out of sedation, claims Mayo Clinic. The patient is observed during this time to see if any side effects are present. A patient may feel as if they have to pass gas or feel bloated, but walking can help to alleviate these symptoms. It is common to find a small amount of blood in the stool following a colonoscopy. If blood continues to pass, if there is a lot of blood or the blood is clotted, the patient should inform the doctor who performed the procedure.

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