How Long Does A Colonoscopy Take

Many people consider colonoscopy as a lengthy and painful process. Not only this, there are many assumptions made by people about the colonoscopy process. If you are the one who had heard those fake assumptions and started believing them then this article is for you. 

If you are afraid of colonoscopy due to these reasons then this article will help you in getting out of them by providing all the right information regarding colonoscopy. Read this article carefully to understand about the process and the time taken in the procedure.

In 2020 about 145,950 people are expected to suffer from colorectal cancer in the US. 

What is Colonoscopy?

Is it a lengthy and painful process? 

The answer is NO. 

Colonoscopy is a process of screening and examining your Colon. Which may also include the examination of small bowel and Rectum. 

Colon means large intestine or the last part of the digestive tract which reabsorbs the food and fluids . It reabsorbs the wanted materials and prepares food for elimination. Parts of colon are described as

  • Ascending and descending colon
  • Transverse colon is also it’s part
  • It include Cecum 
  • Sigmoid colon are also the parts of the large intestine.

Purpose of Colonoscopy:

As we know that colon cancer, ulcers and polyps are common worldwide. About 50 to 53 Thousand deaths occur annually due to this cancer. Many other lesions, ulcers and polyps are also found in the colon. These all need to be examined properly and removed. So the purpose of Colonoscopy is to screen these cancers or examine them by using CCD camera or fibre optic camera.

The lesions, ulcers and polyps are removed after sometime. Doctors take samples from your Colon with the help of the process known as biopsy.

Process of Colonoscopy?

In the process of Colonoscopy an instrument called  colonoscope ( 1-2 inch long ) is inserted through your rectum. It has a camera which allows 2D and 3D visualisation.

When Colonoscopy is needed?

Colonoscopy is needed in various conditions which include following:

  • If you have some changes in your bowel then you need to go through Colonoscopy.
  • If doctors diagnosed any cancer in your Colon.
  • If you have any polyp or lesion in colon or rectum
  • If any inflammation is observed in rectum or colon.
  • In the case of any haemorrhage in your gastrointestinal tract you need to go through a Colonoscopy.

How long does Colonoscopy last?

There are many myths regarding the time and the duration of Colonoscopy. People think that it may take days and weeks to make a prep for the procedure. People also think that its recovery time is very long and it is a painful procedure.

These all statements are wrong and based on myths

The actual process of Colonoscopy is about 20 to 30 minutes long . It may require prep. Prep is simple and easy .

Bowel prep:

Before going through the process of Colonoscopy make sure that your Colon is clean and does not contain any solid particles of food or waste products. You are suggested to make bowel prep 2 days before Colonoscopy. Don’t take any solid food and use laxative solutions for 1 or 2 days before. 


After going to the hospital you may wait for some time in the waiting room. At your turn the doctor will sedate you. You will be conscious with the ability to talk but after sometime you will automatically forget the process. 

Colonoscopy process:

After sedation you will lie on your left side and the doctor will insert an instrument in your rectum and examine for any abnormalities. You may have any inflammation , lesion, cancer , polyp or ulcer in your Colon and rectum . 


You may recover from the whole process within 30 minutes. After the procedure of Colonoscopy you will be kept in the recovery room for almost 30 minutes. Doctors will examine you in the case of any complexity. 

Two of the most common complexities occurring after colonoscopy are

  • Perforation: It is the tearing of the wall of colon in the case of any carelessness.
  • Bleeding: Usually your Colon bleeds after the removal of polyp or biopsy.

You should not drive soon after colonoscopy because you are given sedatives by the doctor which may have mild effects till 8 hours.

What is ‘Polyp’?

Polyp is an abnormal , precancerous tissue growth which appears like tiny bumps on the surface of the colon . They may be present in the ear canal. A simple polyp becomes a cancerous polyp after 15 years .  These polyps are removed by surgeries. 


If you have any of the following symptoms, you should immediately contact your doctor.

  • If you have abdominal pain , consult your doctor.
  • In the case of any rectal bleeding or pain.
  • In case of sudden weight loss, you should contact your doctor.
  • Anaemia is also a symptom of colon problems.

Risk factors:

Following are some risk factors which may lead to colon cancers or polyps in the near future. So you should go for a colonoscopy at least once in 10 years.

  • First and most important risk factor is age. If you are above 50 then there are many more chances that you may suffer from colon cancer.
  • 90% of colon or rectal cancers are found in people above 50 years of age.
  • If colorectal cancer is in your genetics then there are 30 to 40% chances that you will suffer from it. 
  • If you take a high fat diet then there is also a chance to get colorectal cancer.
  • In the case of diabetes a person has 30 to 40% percent chances of getting polyp.
  • High intake of alcohol is also dangerous.


Colorectal cancer is not a big deal if you diagnose it early. About 39% of the patients suffering from this cancer  know it early. Colonoscopy is not a difficult or complex procedure . It is simple and easy. You should not believe in myths. It is not lengthy as well . You will approximately spend 2 to 3 hours in hospital . You may need to take one day off from your work or you can even go to the hospital in the evening. Just make your bowel clean by drinking plenty of water and fluids. Avoid taking solid food for 1 or 2 days before Colonoscopy and then go on for the procedure. 

After reading this article you will be 100% clear about the myths and realities. . 

By Caitlyn

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