Why are sedatives given for a colonoscopy?


Quick Answer

Doctors prescribe sedatives for colonoscopy patients to allow comfort and relaxation. The process involves inserting a long tube through the rectum into the colon, and failure to relax during this process makes the examination much more difficult, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

The purpose of a colonoscopy is to examine the entire large intestine to explain the presence of unexpected blood in the stool, altered bowel-movement habits, and any signs that cancer is developing in the rectum or colon. This examination shows the doctor any ulcers, anomalous growths, swollen tissue, blood or muscular spasms throughout the entire intestine, as stated by WebMD.

The colonscope is a lighted, flexible tube that runs the length of the colon. The colon has many twists and turns, and the tube has to travel around all of them to the junction between the colon and the small intestine. During the exam, the scope blows some air into the colon, inflating it a bit for better visibility. While the tube is inserted, the physician has the chance to cut out polyps or other sources of inflammation, and the discomfort from possible cuts is another reason for the sedation. The doctor can also use electrical probes, heat probes, lasers and syringes through the tube. In extreme cases, puncture and bleeding in the colon can result from a colonoscopy, making relaxation very important, according to WebMD.

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