Colonoscopies are one of those medical procedures that somehow surrounds itself with myths. There tends to be a bad rap about colonoscopies. We’re here to debunk some common myths and things we hear the most.
1. I have to miss work/it’s a huge inconvenience
A colonoscopy really is a one day process; one day of prep which starts late in the afternoon the day prior to your procedure and one day for the actual procedure. At most, you would take off one day from work. The prep day is meant to cleanse your colon through a combination of clear liquid diet and drinking cleansing solution. You can return to normal activity the next day, including work and exercise. Considering you don’t have to get a colonoscopy for another five to ten years or so after your first exam (depending on the results), it’s very little inconvenience. Piedmont Colorectal Associates, PC also offers convenient Saturday colonoscopies. Call for your appointment at (404) 351-7900.
2. I don’t need a colonoscopy until I have symptoms of colon disease
The issue with colon cancer is that most people experience little to no symptoms at all. The colon is very large and it’s unlikely you will feel any growth in your colon before it’s too late. All it takes is a growth the size of a walnut to lead to malignant colon cancer. You should have your first colonoscopy at the age of 50 and consult with your colorectal doctor about when your next screening should be. The news is rampant now with a home fecal test meant for colorectal screening purposes. Keep in mind that this is only meant for the general population that has no personal or family history and it cannot tell you whether or not you have any growths. The test can only detect cancer, therefore, the home kits are not an appropriate replacement for colonoscopy.
3. It’s an embarrassing process
For many people, a colonoscopy is embarrassing and that’s enough to deter a person away from it. Remember, you’re not the only one getting this done, and millions of Americans go through this procedure every year; it’s very standard. Most hospitals and endoscopy centers try their best to make the process as least embarrassing as possible. Patients are kept comfortable and the anesthesia used allows the patient to awaken from the procedure refreshed and alert. The procedure itself takes only 15 to 30 minutes and is a life saver.
4. I don’t think I can properly prepare for one, it’s hard
Many people think the preparation is daunting because you cannot eat any foods for 24 hours. 24 hours prior to the procedure, you need to drink clear liquids all day and in the evening you will begin drinking the prep solution. Some physicians allow black coffee or tea, if you’re someone who needs to drink something other than just water. You can even eat some semi-solid foods like Jell-O. However, try avoiding it as much as possible. Some tips to get through prep day is to keep yourself busy, avoid being around food, watch movies to pass the time. Hydration is important for the cleanse, so drinking plenty of clear liquids will make your feel full. You will be surprised by how easily your body can handle this challenge.
5. This procedure will hurt
A colonoscopy should not hurt, and if it does, something is wrong. You will be anesthesia for your colonoscopy in the form of Propofol. This allows for a quick “wake-up” after the procedure without the groggy and drugged feeling. Propofol is the standard of care used for anesthesia. However, if you find that your insurance does not all for Propofol, a general anesthesia like Versed and Demerol can be used instead although you may experience some nausea post procedure. Some patients are also given an anti-anxiety medicine if the anxiety is severe. Most patients don’t even feel discomfort after the procedure. Regardless of the type of anesthesia used, ALL patients are required by hospital administration rules to have a someone responsible to drive them home after the procedure and this cannot be done through public transportation or taxi.