A Few Things To Put Your Mind At Ease About A Colonoscopy
If you have blood in your stools, chronic diarrhea or constipation, or if there is a history of colon cancer in your family, your doctor will suggest you have a colonoscopy. During this procedure, a gastroenterologist will be able to view the inside of your colon. This is done by filling your colon with air and then either inserting a flexible tube with a camera on it or using a CT scan to see exactly what is inside. You should talk with the gastroenterologist to determine which method will be used or ask for the less invasive one. Here are a few things to help you understand the procedure better,
You will need to empty your bowels before the procedure. The doctor will give you a laxative and/or an enema to make sure the colon is clear. Make sure you understand the directions for this. You may need to use the medications the night before the appointment or first thing in the morning. Be sure to ask what and when you can or cannot eat and drink as this can affect bowel cleansing. Finally, check to make sure you can take any normal medications before the procedure.
In most cases, you will be sedated and sleep through the procedure. If for some reason the doctor used a local anesthetic, do not worry. You may feel a bit of pressure or some cramping from the air, but it is not truly painful. You should plan on having someone with you, in the waiting room, to take you home once you are done. Expect the actual procedure to take up to an hour and then you will rest and be monitored for another hour or two.
You may be told if the doctor needs to take any biopsies or if any polyps are present, but you will not get the results of what was found while you were there. Once any testing is done, the doctor will set up an appointment to go over the results. Do not spend time worrying about things, just go about your business. If there is something serious, you will be contacted immediately. A long wait is generally a good sign that nothing is seriously wrong.
While a colonoscopy is something that should be taken seriously and not put off when your primary care physician orders one, it is not something to dwell on or be embarrassed about. Talk with the gastroenterologist and try to relax about everything. The sooner you get it done, the sooner they can start treating anything that is wrong.
Visit a medical service like Gastro Health to learn more.