Colonoscopy is generally a safe procedure. For most people, the benefits of having a clear diagnosis, or quick and effective treatment, are much greater than any disadvantages. However, like all invasive medical procedures, there are some risks. These can be divided into the risk of side-effects and the risk of complications.
Side-effects of colonoscopy
These are the unwanted, but usually mild and temporary, effects of a successful procedure. After a colonoscopy, you may feel bloated and have wind pains, but these usually clear up quite quickly. Any sedative may make you feel sleepy.
Possible complications of colonoscopy
Your doctor will be very experienced at performing this type of procedure, but, even so, a few colonoscopies are not successfully completed and may need to be repeated.
Other complications are uncommon, but it is possible for the colon to be damaged or perforated during the procedure. This can lead to bleeding and infection, which may require treatment with medicines or surgery.
The chance of complications depends on the exact type of procedure you are having and other factors such as your general health. You should ask your consultant to explain how these risks apply to you.