3 Conditions Diagnosed With A Colonoscopy

5 February 2019
 Categories: , Blog

A colonoscopy is an invaluable tool to help doctors visualize the large intestine. When you have concerning gastrointestinal symptoms, a colonoscopy may be used to rule-out serious medical conditions that warrant further treatment.


Obstructions can occur in the intestines for several reasons. Impacted stools, growths, or twisting of the intestines can prevent waste from moving through the gastrointestinal system. Doctors may suspect an obstruction based on symptoms, such as not having a bowel movement, nausea, and vomiting. To some degree, an obstruction might be seen with other imaging tests, especially once the intestines become distended. Another, rare condition, may also be diagnosed using colonoscopy. Chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction occurs when there are symptoms of an obstruction, but there is no physical blockage. An obstruction or pseudo-obstruction requires prompt treatment to evacuate waste and provide intravenous nutrition.

Polyps And Cancer

Polyps are benign growths that can occur in many areas of the body. In some cases, these growths become cancerous. Around age 50, or earlier in people with high risk for colon cancer, colonoscopy is used as a screening tool to detect cancer. If a polyp is detected during the colonoscopy, it is removed and sent to the pathology lab for testing. A similar process is used if lesions or other growths are found in the intestines. Fortunately, many instances of colon cancer can be found in the early stages with screening, and may not require further treatment. In most instances, removal of the cancerous tissue is the first step in treatment, unless the tumor is too large to remove. Larger tumors may require chemotherapy or radiation to shrink the tumor before it can be removed.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of autoimmune diseases that causes significant inflammation and damage at different places along the digestive system, depending on the specific type. Crohn's disease is more widespread than ulcerative colitis, with the latter being confined to the colon. A colonoscopy can be used to visualize inflammation and damage to the colon. If the upper portion of the gastrointestinal system needs to be evaluated, an endoscopy is performed. When IBD is diagnosed early, biologics may be used to help suppress the immune system enough to prevent further damage. Extensive damage to the large intestine may require removal of the damaged tissue, which can result in a temporary or permanent colostomy.

There are many conditions that may affect the large intestine. In conjunction with other tests, a colonoscopy is one of the best diagnostic tools for evaluating the large intestines.