Know What to Expect
Knowing what to expect when you go for your first colonoscopy can help to ease some of the anxiety you may feel about the procedure.
Making the Appointment
Overcoming inertia can sometime be the most difficult part. It is normal to be nervous or even dread the unknown. And it’s understandable to be scared of what the test might uncover. But millions of people have been through it. Some high-risk patients even go every couple of years. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Once you’ve made the decision to take action, HCA Midwest Health makes it simple. As the largest healthcare provider in the Kansas City area, we can help you schedule your colonoscopy in a way that best fits your needs. Whether you want the procedure done close to home or work, or are looking for a certain day of the week, we can find a location and doctor that works for you.
Preparing for the Procedure
Your doctor will provide you with instructions for how to prepare for your colonoscopy. There are a couple of different types of prep but most involve a clear liquid diet the day before the procedure, as well as a prescription laxative beginning at a certain time. If the prep is something that concerns you, talk to your doctor about your hesitation. Maybe they can offer some tips or prescribe a particular prep type that works best for you. Here are some tips that have worked for others but be sure to check with your doctor to make sure they are OK with the prep you’ve been prescribed:
- If you would like, a couple of days before prep day start to cut down on the quantity of food you eat and be mindful of foods that can be difficult to digest like meat. The less that goes in, the less that needs to come out
- Gummy bears dissolve to a clear liquid at body temperature and can help give you something to eat on prep day
- Chicken broth, light colored jello or ice pops (avoid anything with red, orange or purple coloring)
- Stay away from the kitchen if other family members are cooking
- If you’re not fond of the taste of the prep, try drinking it cold or it through a straw
- Stay close to the bathroom
- Baby wipes and petroleum jelly
- Make light of and laugh about the experience with a friend or family member
- Remember, it’s worth it
It’s very important to follow the colonoscopy prep instructions your doctor provides. The better you prep the easier it is for your doctor to navigate your colon and identify any abnormalities or polyps.
The day of your procedure, you will have nothing to eat or drink until completion. You will have to arrive to the location of the procedure a little early to be checked in and meet with the anesthesiologist. The colonoscopy will only take about 30 minutes but the entire experience from arrival to departure should take about 2-3 hours.
During the procedure, you will most likely be sedated. Many doctors and anesthesiologist choose conscious sedation. Conscious sedation is when a combination of medicines are used to relax you and block pain. The procedure is virtually painless and many people fall asleep.
A colonoscopy involves inserting a thin, flexible tube used to look at the surface of the colon and rectum. Most of the time, if the doctor finds polyps they can remove them right then and there. The screening and removal of polyps at one time is a benefit of a colonoscopy over many other screening methods. It will take about 7-10 business days to get your results. And as long as there are no issues, you will not need to return for a couple more years.