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  • NASPGHAN North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
  • NASPGHAN Foundation North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Foundation
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Colonoscopy for Kids

A Colonoscopy is a test in which a doctor looks directly into the last part if the intestines with a narrow bendable tube mounted with a camera to find out why kids have diarrhea, bleeding and stomach pain. Download the GIKids Colonoscopy Fact Sheet to why kids may need a colonoscopy, how to prepare for a colonoscopy and what to expect after a colonoscopy.

Fact Sheets




Colonoscopy comic strip

Comic Strip - How to prepare for a colonoscopy - Bowel Prep - Coutesy of Harpreet Pall, MD, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children

What is a Colonoscopy?

Your doctor has recommended a Colonoscopy. This is a special test that allows your doctor to look directly into the last part of the intestines to help find out why children have diarrhea, bleeding and stomach pain. After the doctor gives you medicines which will help you sleep, he/she will take a narrow bendable tube with a camera and a light to look inside your bottom. The doctor may take very small tissue samples, the size of a pinhead. This can help your doctor explain why you might have tummy (stomach) pain, watery poops (diarrhea) or bleeding when you go to the bathroom.

Reasons why children may need a Colonoscopy?

There are many reasons why children may need a colonoscopy including:

  • Blood in the poop
  • Diarrhea
  • Belly pain
  • Bottom pain
    • What happens before and after the test?

      Before the test, you will be given medicines to be swallowed to flush out all the poop (also called stool). You will also need to drink lots of clear fluids. It is important that during this time you do not eat any food. By getting all the poop out, it allows your doctor to see what’s happening inside. On the morning of the test, you are not supposed to eat or drink anything as this can cause problems with the medicines used to help you sleep during the test. Your nurse or doctor will tell you when to stop eating and start the medicines.

      After the test, your doctor may have pictures to show you and your family. At the same time, he/she can tell your family if there are any medicines for you. Once you are drinking well, you can start eating again and go home. A few kids feel sick after the test and may be watched a little longer until they feel better.

      After the test, have your parents call your doctor if you have...

      • Tummy pain for more than an hour: most kids feel fine after the test.
      • Throwing up several times: to make sure this isn’t a problem, try to drink small amounts of drinks like Sprite or ginger ale, or eat a little bit of popsicle.
      • Bleeding: passing small amounts of blood (less than a spoonful) may be normal for 1-2 days, but if it is more than that or it continues let your parents and doctor know.
      • Fevers: if there are persistent fevers, let your doctor know.
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        IMPORTANT REMINDER: This information from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) is intended only to provide general information and not as a definitive basis for diagnosis or treatment in any particular case. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.