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Colonoscopy In Children



is a procedure to look at the inside of your child's colon (intestine) with a scope. A scope is a long, flexible tube, with a small light and a camera on the end. The camera is attached to a monitor that allows your child's healthcare provider to see inside of the colon. Your child may need a colonoscopy to look for inflammatory bowel disease or to remove tissue growths. He may also need a colonoscopy if he has chronic diarrhea or abdominal pain.

How to prepare your child for a colonoscopy:

  • Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare your child for his procedure. Your child will have to drink liquid that contains medicine to help empty his colon. This is called a bowel prep. This will help his healthcare provider see more clearly inside of his colon. When your child is done with his prep, his bowel movements should not contain solids. It is okay if they are brown or yellow liquid with tiny solid pieces. Ask your healthcare provider how to give your child his medicine to clean out his colon. Call your child's healthcare provider if your child cannot drink all of his medicine or his bowel movements are solid after taking all of his medicine.
  • Your child will be on a clear liquid diet for 1 to 2 days before his procedure. Clear liquids are liquids that you can easily see through. Clear liquids include water, apple juice, lemonade, gelatin, and broths. Do not give your child clear liquids that are red. Give your child plenty of clear liquids to prevent dehydration. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid your child should have and what types are okay. Your child's healthcare provider may tell him not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of his procedure. He will tell you what medicines your child should take or not take on the day of his procedure.

What will happen during a colonoscopy:

  • Your child may receive IV sedation or general anesthesia. IV sedation will make him feel sleepy and help him relax during the procedure. General anesthesia may be given to keep your child asleep and free from pain during the procedure. Your child's healthcare provider may lay your child on his left side with his knees bent to his chest. He may examine your child's anus and use a finger to check his rectum.
  • Your child's healthcare provider will put gel on the scope and gently place it into your child's anus. He will pass the scope through his colon and up into his small intestine. He may take pictures. He may inject air and water into your child's colon to clean and expand it. This will help your child's healthcare provider see inside the colon more clearly.
  • Tissue samples may be taken from the walls of your child's bowel and sent to the lab for tests. His healthcare provider will pass a small catheter with teeth or a wire loop through the scope and remove tissues or growths. He may use electricity to burn a growth off or prevent bleeding.

What will happen after a colonoscopy:

Healthcare providers will monitor your child until he is awake. They will feel your child's stomach and listen to his bowel sounds with a stethoscope. Your child may feel bloated or have stomach cramps. If tissue or growths were removed, your child may have a small amount of blood in his bowel movements for 1 to 2 days after his procedure. Your child's healthcare provider will talk to you about what he saw or found during the procedure. Before your child can eat or drink, he may need to pass the air put into his colon during the procedure. Your child may need to walk around or lie on his side to help move the air out. Once he has passed gas and is able to drink, he can go home.

Risks of a colonoscopy:

Your child may have bleeding or pain after the scope or growths are removed. He may have a slow heartbeat, decreased blood pressure, or increased sweating. He may have cramping, nausea, or vomiting after the procedure. The scope may make a hole in his colon. He may need surgery to repair the hole.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has a large amount of bright red blood coming from his rectum or in his bowel movements.
  • Your child's stomach is very painful, feels hard, and is larger than usual.
  • Your child does not have a bowel movement for 3 days after his procedure.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever or chills.
  • Your child is nauseated or is vomiting.
  • Your child's skin is itchy, swollen, or he has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care for your child after a colonoscopy:

  • Limit your child's activity to prevent bleeding. Have your child lie on the couch or rest quietly until the day after his procedure. Your child can take short walks to the bathroom or around the house to help pass gas. He should not play sports or do vigorous activity after his procedure. Ask your healthcare provider when your child can return to his normal activities.
  • Relieve your child's gas and discomfort. Have your child lie on his right side. He may need to take short walks to help move the gas out. Give your child small meals until his bloating has improved. Start with clear liquids such as juice. If he does okay with clear liquids, start giving him his usual foods. Ask your child's healthcare provider if your child needs to be on a special diet.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Ask your child's healthcare provider when and how you will get the test results. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.