Many people fear or put off getting a colonoscopy, but the procedure is not as scary as you may think, and can help you catch polyps before they turn into cancer. Colon Cancer is the second-most common form of cancer and costs 50,000 people their lives every single year. So it’s time to buckle down, drink the large amounts of solution, and go get your colonoscopy.
It’s important that you arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure (because the colonoscopy involves sedation), that you follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to your medications and diet before the procedure, and that you finish the entire bowel prep regimen as described.
Most people say that the preparation for the colonoscopy is the most unpleasant part and that by the time you get to the actual procedure, it’s no big deal.
- The doctor will give you a bowel prep medication
- There are several different kinds of bowel prep medicine available, the doctor will choose the one she believes is best for you based on your history and medications
- The bowel prep will cause an evacuation of the bowel (diarrhea) usually within a few hours
- Stay hydrated throughout the process by drinking clear liquids (cannot be red or purple)
- Do not eat 24 hours prior to the colonoscopy
- Some nausea and bloating can usually be expected, but should wear off
- If you experience more serious side effects, or they do not wear off, consult your physician
- All waste must be removed from the bowel to have a successful colonoscopy
- Follow the doctor’s instructions exactly
The colonoscopy can help the doctor see abnormal growths, polyps, inflamed tissue and ulcers. For the procedure itself you may be given a light sedative, or be sedated and possibly given pain medication. The patient lies on their side and a long lighted and flexible tube is inserted into the anus and guided through the rectum and colon. While doing the procedure, the doctor may also take a biopsy and remove any polyps that she sees.
Recovery from the procedure usually takes thirty to sixty minutes and the patient is usually fully recovered by the next day.