"We recommend periodic colonoscopies for those patients who have a suspicious lesion or who have family members who have had colon cancer".


Colonoscopy is a scan that allows the visualization of the entire large intestine and the final part of the small intestine (terminal ileum), using a flexible tube inserted through the anus.

During the colonoscopy, small samples of mucous membrane (biopsies) can be taken and if polyps are detected, they can be removed using an electric scalpel. In addition, sclerosing substances or other coagulation methods can be administered for treatment of bleeding sites, elastic bands for treatment of hemorrhoids, pneumatic balloons for dilating narrow areas, etc.

None of these additional procedures usually cause pain, since the mucosa of the large intestine has no sensitive nerve endings.

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When is colonoscopy indicated?

Colonoscopy is the ideal test routinely performed for the early diagnosis of colon cancer.

In addition, your doctor may indicate it when there are other symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements or weight loss.
  • Abnormal changes (such as polyps) found on sigmoidoscopy or radiographic tests (CT scan or barium enema).
  • Anemia due to low iron (usually when no other cause has been found).
  • Blood in the stool or black or tarry stools.
  • Follow-up on a previously detected condition, such as polyps or colon cancer.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease).
  • Family history of colon cancer.

Most frequent indications of this test:

  • Colorectal cancer.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Diverticulosis and diverticulitis.
  • Crohn's disease.

Do you have any of these diseases?

You may need to have a colonoscopy

How is a colonoscopy performed?

In the Clinic we use CO² instead of air, as the discomfort caused by colonoscopy is greatly reduced.

To carry out the exploration, you will be given analgesics and sedatives so that it will not be painful. The approximate time of the exploration is between 30 and 60 minutes.

At the end, you may experience abdominal discomfort and a feeling of abdominal pressure, with the need to evacuate your intestine. These discomforts are banal and resolve in a short period of time

If suspicious lesions are found during the examination, it is very common to take a sample of these lesions (biopsy) to make an anatomopathological diagnosis.

The preparation of the colon for a colonoscopy (and eventually polypectomy) should be very good.

A poorly prepared colon can never be adequately explored, and this can lead to diagnostic errors and discomfort for the patient, due to the repeated explorations it causes.

If you are taking Sintrom®, acetylsalicylic acid or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you should contact your specialist or family doctor so that they can tell you what to do with this medication.

It is recommended that you come accompanied, since after the test you will not be able to drive because of the sedation or anesthesia you will have been given.


Three days before the exploration you should take a low-residue diet.

  • You can take: rice, pasta and broths. Grilled or boiled meat and fish. Eggs. Hard cheeses, cookies without fiber and toasted bread. Filtered juices, coffee, tea and infusions. Non-carbonated beverages.
  • You can not take: salads, vegetables, legumes and potatoes. Meat and fish in sauce. Fruit. Sausages. Milk, cakes and carbonated drinks.

It is convenient to come accompanied, since the medication administered can markedly alter your reflexes and your sensory capacity.

During the rest of the day, you will avoid driving cars or other types of vehicles or making important decisions.

We suggest that you rest quietly after the scan.

Afterwards, you will be able to live a completely normal life and will have to go on a soft diet the first day, being able to eat normally after a few hours.

Complications that may arise are: abdominal distension, pain, hypotension, phlebitis, allergic reactions, infection, bronchial aspiration, bleeding, perforation and cardiorespiratory arrest.

These complications are rare, less than one per 1,000 scans, but they can require urgent treatment and even surgery. These risks are somewhat higher when colonoscopy is used with therapeutic application (removal of polyps, dilation of stenosis, etc.).

You should inform the Digestive Service doctors if you have significant abdominal pain, accompanied by fever or rectal bleeding, in the hours or days following the colonoscopy.

Where do we do it?


The Department of Digestive
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Digestive Department of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra is composed of a multidisciplinary team of specialists who are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive tract.

Our objective is that each diagnosis be carefully established and the treatment plan adjusted to each patient.

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Why at the Clinica?

  • Medical specialists who are national references.
  • Specialized nursing team.
  • Endoscopy Unit and High Risk Digestive Tumor Prevention and Consultation Unit to offer the best care to our patients.

Our team of professionals