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Not Delightful, But Doable: An Inside Look at Colonoscopy Prep

  • Category: Gastroenterology
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Emily Guidroz, Director of Marketing
Not Delightful, But Doable: An Inside Look at Colonoscopy Prep

As part of a battery of tests, my doctor recommended a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy??? As a healthy 40-year-old female, I was pretty caught off guard by the idea. The only thing I knew about a colonoscopy was what I had heard from the rumor mill–you have to drink a ridiculous amount of fluid, over a certain amount of time, and it will make you gag, maybe even throw up, and eventually use the bathroom uncontrollably. One friend even gave me the following advice: “The minute you feel like you kind of have to go the bathroom, RUN.” Boy was she right…

After digesting the idea of even having a colonoscopy I immediately turned to Dr. Google and began searching for terms like “my first colonoscopy” and “colonoscopy prep.” I came across the usual information you would find from healthcare providers about how modern medicine has changed and how the prep has come a long way. Apparently back in the day one would have to drink the equivalent of two milk jugs of chalky thick liquid. I can’t even imagine.

After reading more, the prep seemed pretty easy. I can do this, I thought. It’s clear. It looks like water. You can even add flavoring to it. It’s going to taste like flavored water. No problem. But then…..not so fast. You get the official directions from your doctor’s office and you realize the fantasy mocktail you had created in your mind is more than you bargained for -- no food, a lack of sleep, excessive bathroom trips, nausea and a drink that is so hard to get down you cry just thinking about it. Yes I cried.

By the time the morning came I was drained. I should have put a pillow on my bathroom floor because that is where I spent most of the night. The good thing was by this point, I didn’t even care about the procedure itself. I was tired, cranky and just wanted to get it over with. The colonoscopy was the best part of the whole process. You show up, get an IV, get some “happy meds” and go to sleep. It happens so fast and before you know it everything is done, and it is time to go home. At the end of the procedure the doctor gives you high level results.

I was surprised to learn that I had a polyp. It was non-cancerous, and they removed it. Colorectal polyps are pretty uncommon under the age of 40 so I was pretty shocked that they found one. I also think about how glad I was to have the colonoscopy. The prep was terrible, but it was definitely worth it in the end. Polyps grow very slowly but over time they can develop into colon cancer. Had I not gone through the prep, they would have never found the polyp. The risk of developing colon cancer increases as you age, so if you are due for a colonoscopy and are on the fence about the prep and having the procedure -- just do it. If I can do it, so can you!

Speak with your doctor about scheduling a colon cancer screening today. Learn more about your screening options