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What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure designed to examine the inside of the entire colon (large intestine) and rectum. It is performed using an endoscope – a small flexible tube with a light and a camera on the end.

How will this test help in the management and treatment of your IBD?

The information obtained from this test will help your G.I identify inflamed tissue, ulcers, bleeding, and abnormal growths.

What’s involved in a Colonoscopy?

  • Before the procedure: The day prior to your procedure you will need to consume a large volume of laxative liquid or tablets. This will completely empty out all waste material from your bowels, allowing for a safe and thorough examination
  • During the procedure: On the day of the procedure you will be intravenously administered a relaxant to make you sleepy. Whilst in this state you will be placed on a flat surface in the examination room. The scope will be slowly inserted into your rectum and into your colon. The scope inflates the large intestine with air or carbon dioxide gas to give the doctor a better view. As the scope is passed through you the images from the camera will be relayed to a monitor for observation
  • After the procedure: After the procedure you may feel a bit drowsy and will be kept in hospital for a short while until the medications wear off
  • Length of procedure: Time required for the colonoscopy will vary with individual circumstances, but typically takes approximately 30 minutes with 1-4 hours recovery time following the procedure when sedation has been administered

Colonoscopy - Commonly Asked Questions

Is the procedure painful?

No, the procedure is painless as tests are performed using IV sedation. This induces drowsiness and also has a mild amnesic effect. As a result, most awake with no recollection of having had the test done. A few patients prefer to have the test without sedation - this is fine.

The oral prep is making me nauseous, what can I do?

If you are feeling sick and nauseous, take a 30 minute break from drinking the solution. Try drinking the solution ice cold through a straw, and adding some non coloured flavoring and colouring, or drinking with allowed fluids - this can help mask the taste. If none of these suggestions help, ask your doctor about prescribing you some anti-nausea medication or another type of laxative.

Will I need to take time off work?

As the sedative takes a bit of time to wear off, people need to take the day off work.

Constant toilet trips are hurting my bottom, what can I do?

After each bowel movement use wet wipes instead of toilet paper. Using Vaseline or other barrier cream around the anus can reduce irritation from loose bowel motions.


If you are interested in other gastrointestinal-focused information and intervention websites developed and hosted at
Swinburne University of Technology,
please go to:

IBSclinic.org.au for individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Gastroparesisclinic.org for individuals with Gastroparesis


This website and its content is not intended or recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

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