Having a colonoscopy is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Many people refuse to have a colonoscopy because they are embarrassed or think that it will hurt. Some people are just uneducated about the importance of having the procedure. So many lives are saved each year because of this procedure and everyone should consider have a colonoscopy.
For those who are unsure what a colonoscopy is, it is a procedure that allows a physician to see inside your colon to look for suspicious cells or growths. Many of these growths could be cancerous or pre-cancerous and could ultimately cause colon cancer or death if not found in time. Without having a colonoscopy, cancer could grow very large and advance into stages that are not as successfully treated. If pre-cancerous cells are found or if a small cancerous growth is detected during a colonoscopy, it can be treated immediately and lessen the chances of further damage being done to the colon and greatly increase the chances of survival of the patient.
The procedure itself may seem very scary but it does not take very long and is well worth the few minutes of embarrassment or uncomfortable feelings that one may have about the procedure. Most people who feared having a colonoscopy report that it was not nearly as bad as they had anticipated and were glad they had the procedure performed. They either found relief in knowing that everything was okay or found out they did in fact have something that could have developed into a life threatening condition. Either way, having a colonoscopy is beneficial.
Preparing for a colonoscopy can be just as mental as it is physical. Before you are scheduled for your procedure you will need to discuss any of your concerns with your doctor. Make sure you thoroughly understand the procedure and what exactly will take place at your appointment. Knowing what to expect can help you relax and feel more comfortable about your colonoscopy. Your doctor will give you a list of instructions to follow leading up to your colonoscopy that will ensure your body is prepared for the procedure. It is crucial that you prepare your bowels before the procedure or else the procedure results will not be accurate.
To prep your bowels you will have a special diet to follow for at least one to three days leading up to your appointment. The bowels have to be emptied from all solid foods so therefore the patient must follow a strict liquid diet. Clear liquids that do not contain red or purple food dyes are recommended. Broths, Gatorades, jell-o, fruit juice, water, coffee and tea may all be consumed. Some doctors also recommend that the patient use a laxative or use an enema before the procedure to ensure the bowels are completely emptied.
A sedative is generally used during the colonoscopy and may take some time to fully wear off. After the procedure is completed the patient will not be allowed to drive so it will be necessary to have someone available to drive you home. Make sure that you have discussed with your doctor all your previous medical conditions and all medications or other supplements you may be currently taking before having the procedure. Follow all the directions given by your physician and feel free to ask about anything you do not completely understand. As long as you are prepared mentally and physically, your colonoscopy should go smoothly. If you are age 50 or older and have not had a colonoscopy then it is time to discuss scheduling your colonoscopy as soon as possible.