Colonoscopy is used to diagnose change in bowel habits and to screen for colorectal cancer. It is a generally safe outpatient procedure that can be done at your physician's office in about 30 minutes. Prior to your procedure, your colon will need to be cleaned with a bowel preparation given to you by your physician.

During the colonoscopy, a lighted scope is passed through your rectum, through the colon (three to six feet), to the lower end of the small intestine. If anything unusual is found such as a polyp or inflamed tissue, a biopsy may be taken and sent to the lab for analysis.

Sedation is given and the procedure typically lasts about 20 to 30 minutes. Recovery time is about one hour.

Most people should have a colonoscopy every 10 years starting at age 50. Those at high risk for colon cancer should start screening at an earlier age and be screened more often.

To make an appointment for a colonoscopy, call 800-777-7775.