Colon cancer is one of the more preventable cancers, yet it is rampant among the population. Having the health of your colon examined regularly can help catch colon cancer early and increase the chances of successfully treating it. If you have problems such as abdominal pain, bloody stool or diarrhea, you should consider scheduling a colonoscopy with your doctor so as to investigate the underlying problems.
Colonoscopies can also be scheduled for screening purposes even if you are perfectly healthy and asymptomatic, especially if you are above the age of 50 or have a family history of colon cancer. This article will seek to give you two facts about colonoscopies that may help alleviate your fears about the procedure.
The prep work isn't horrible
Many people shy away from getting a colonoscopy because they think that preparations for the procedure are terrible. The main part of the prep work that often scares patients is the emptying of the bowels, which is necessary so that your physician can have a clear look at the state of the empty colon and detect any polyps and lesions.
Doing this does not have to be a terrible experience, however, as all that you need to do is stop taking solid foods a day or so before the procedure and go on a liquid diet consisting of foods such as broth and juice. This will give your stomach time to clear and make it easier to empty your bowels.
Another important part of preparing for a colonoscopy is taking an electrolyte solution that helps clear the bowels. The sheer amount of electrolyte solution that needs to be consumed can be a problem for some, so be sure to ask your physician to give you low-volume doses over several days if you can't stomach large volumes of the liquid in one sitting.
Colonoscopies aren't painful
There is a very prevalent myth that colonoscopies can be very painful, as the colon may get bruised by the internal scope inserted to examine the length of the colon. Contrary to popular belief, a colonoscopy is very tolerable, with patients often experiencing no pain at all or describing a slight discomfort that resembles the urge to have a bowel movement after the procedure.
This is because doctors usually use a combination of narcotics and sedatives to help you relax totally throughout the treatment, allowing the scope to run smoothly without causing any bruising. Most patients don't even feel any discomfort or remember the procedure as they are under sedation for the entire process.
If you are really scared of the procedure or are uncomfortable being sedated, you can schedule a virtual colonoscopy, where an external CT scanner is used instead of an internal scope. Talk to a colonoscopy expert, like those at Lincoln Surgical Group PC, to learn more.