It's common to be nervous before your first colonoscopy procedure. After all, the process itself doesn't sound very appealing, and preparing for the procedure probably doesn't sound like much fun either. However, a colonoscopy is actually a really simple procedure. Learn about the basics of a colonoscopy before you have your first one completed.
Why Should You Have a Colonoscopy?
Did you know that colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths? It's also the third most-common type of cancer diagnosed. It's common and dangerous. So, you should have a colonoscopy once every 10 years beginning at age 50. This way, if you do develop colon cancer, your doctor can catch the disease in the early stages, while it's still able to be treated.
What Happens During Your Colonoscopy?
During a colonoscopy, your doctor examines the inner lining of your large intestine, also known as your colon, looking for signs of cancer. He does this by inserting a colonoscope into your rectum and gently pushing it up through your colon. The colonoscope is a thin, flexible tube that has a small camera attached to the end. The video camera allows your doctor to examine your entire intestine by video to look for bleeding, ulcers, areas of inflammation, tumors, and colon polyps that could be cancerous. If your doctor finds any abnormalities, samples are collected and sent to the lab, where the tissue is tested for cancer.
How Do You Prepare for Your Colonoscopy?
You'll start preparing for your colonoscopy the day before the procedure. During this time, you aren't allowed to eat any solid foods, you can only drink clear liquids, and you'll drink a prescription laxative solution that helps clear your bowels completely. It's important to follow your doctor's preparation instructions, because if your bowels aren't clear, your doctor might accidentally overlook an abnormality that could have been caught if the view wasn't restricted.
What Happens After Your Colonoscopy?
It's common for people to be groggy after a colonoscopy because the medication used to put you to sleep takes awhile to wear off completely. Because of this, you shouldn't make important decision, operate heavy machinery, or drive for the 24 hours after your procedure. Also, you'll need to drink a lot of water after your procedure is complete to rehydrate your body, and if the doctor collected tissue samples during the procedure, it's possible that you'll be on a restricted diet for a few days.
The fact is, colonoscopies are routine procedures. It's common for people to be nervous about getting a colonoscopy if they've never had one because the way the procedure is completed sounds uncomfortable. But you shouldn't worry. Just follow your doctor's instructions and the procedure will be over before you know it. For more information, speak with professionals like Northwest Gastroenterology Associates.
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