Endoscopy

Endoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the gastrointestinal tractThe gut, which begins at the mouth and ends at the anus., using a tube with a tiny digital camera at its tip, to view the lining of the gastrointestinal tractThe gut, which begins at the mouth and ends at the anus.. To assess possible bowel problems, two types of endoscopyExamination of the inside of the body using a tube equipped with a light source and either a small camera or an optical system. may be used, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopyExamination of the colon and rectum with a colonoscope, an imaging instrument that is inserted through the anus., depending on which part of the colonThe large intestine. is being examined.

  • Sigmoidoscopy involves looking at the lower part of the large intestineThe section of gut, or gastrointestinal tract, from the stomach to the anus. (the rectum and the sigmoid colonThe large intestine., which is about 60cm in length), using an instrument called a sigmoidoscope that is carefully inserted through the anusThe external opening of the back passage, the rectum.. The sigmoidoscope is a short tube with a camera and a light at the tip. Air can be pumped in to inflate the large intestineThe section of gut, or gastrointestinal tract, from the stomach to the anus. to provide a better view of the tissues.
  • Colonoscopy is similar to sigmoidoscopy and involves looking at the lining of the entire large intestineThe section of gut, or gastrointestinal tract, from the stomach to the anus. (about a metre and a half in length) through a flexible tube that is carefully inserted through the anusThe external opening of the back passage, the rectum.. The doctor passes the colonoscope through the anusThe external opening of the back passage, the rectum. and along the large intestineThe section of gut, or gastrointestinal tract, from the stomach to the anus..

If necessary, small samples of tissue A group of cells with a similar structure and a specialised function.('biopsies') can be taken during the endoscopyExamination of the inside of the body using a tube equipped with a light source and either a small camera or an optical system. procedure and examined under a microscope to help with diagnosisThe process of determining which condition a patient may have.. This is painless and quick.

These procedures are not painful but may be slightly uncomfortable. Some people find it awkward and may feel embarrassed. It may be helpful to remember that this is a routine procedure for the doctor, who does it frequently.

You may notice bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. in your stools for 24 hours after the endoscopyExamination of the inside of the body using a tube equipped with a light source and either a small camera or an optical system. if a biopsyThe removal of a small sample of cells or tissue so that it may be examined under a microscope. The term may also refer to the tissue sample itself. has been taken.