A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure to check inside your bowel to find out the cause of your bowel symptoms. The procedure uses a narrow, flexible, telescopic camera called a colonoscope to look inside your large bowel, also known as the large intestine or colon. The large bowel is the last part of your digestive tract, absorbing water from the remaining indigestible food and moving the waste from the body.


When is a Colonoscopy Advised?


A colonoscopy is often advised when you are experiencing the following bowel symptoms:


  • bleeding from your bottom or blood in your poo
  • persistent diarrhoea or constipation
  • a change in your bowel habits
  • abdominal pain
  • weight loss for no known reason
  • a raised temperature, feeling generally unwell, feeling or being sick, and extreme fatigue, in combination with any of the above


A colonoscopy can be used to look for bowel conditions like:


  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diverticular disease or diverticulitis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Internal haemorrhoids
  • Polyps


Most of the time it will not find anything to worry about. But sometimes it might find something that needs a closer look or further testing.


What to Expect

You may be asked to modify your diet to very plain food in the days leading up to having the procedure. Your bowel will need to be completely empty for the procedure so you will be given a strong laxative to take the day before. The laxative can make you open your bowels very quickly and you may feel some discomfort or bloating in your tummy so it’s best to be at home and able to relax.


The procedure will take 30 to 45 minutes.  You may be offered sedation to help you relax.  The colonoscope, a thin, flexible tube, will be inserted into your colon. Air will be pumped in to your rectum to open up your bowels so the tube can go through all of your large bowel. You may feel little discomfort and maybe some bloating or cramping, but you will not feel pain.


Any polyps (growths) will be removed during the procedure but you will not be able to feel this. A sample may be taken of any tissue removed so a biopsy can be performed. It’s not uncommon to have polyps in your bowels, and most of the time they’re harmless. However, they can sometimes become cancer so they need to be checked.


Following the Procedure

Following the procedure you will feel bloating but this will pass within a few hours. Patients can usually go home after 2 hours. You may have some bleeding but this is normal. You should be able to return to work the next day unless otherwise advised.


Children and Young People

We have specialist Gastroenterologists qualified and experienced in treating our younger patients. Please contact us to find out more.


Need Help?

At One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire, we can book you in to see a specialist Gastroenterology consultant for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours. 


You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Colonoscopy treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance, please contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at One Hatfield Hospital.

Why One Hatfield

  • Modern purpose-built hospital opened in December 2017
  • Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, X-ray and Ultrasound
  • Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
  • Specialist physiotherapy and nursing teams
  • Little or no waiting time
  • ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
  • Freshly prepared food
  • Calm, dignified experience

Contact us and find out more

If you are based in and around Hertfordshire, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford, North London, Welwyn or Bedfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.

Contact the Hospital About Colonoscopy