Turning 50 is a big milestone in a person’s life, particularly in regard to your health. At this age, those doctor appointments that you’ve been putting off need to take more of a priority, and now, in addition to regular check-ups, you need to schedule what may be your first colonoscopy. Of all health procedures people put off, having a colonoscopy tops most lists.
There are many misconceptions about colonoscopies which have created a general lack of comfort regarding the procedure. Frequent concerns include that the colonoscopy will hurt, that preparation is tedious and uncomfortable, or that there is a long recovery period. Fortunately, none of these myths is true. In fact, modern colonoscopies are designed specifically with patient comfort and convenience in mind.
Preparing for your colonoscopy
Preparing for a colonoscopy is as simple as it can possibly be at our surgical sites. Some of our offices use the “gold standard”, split-dosing method which has patients drink half the solution the day before the procedure and the other half a few hours before the colonoscopy. Although patients are still asked only to ingest clear liquids the day before the procedure, this can include soup broths, teas and coffee (no cream/milk) and even some sport drinks. Your gastroenterologist can provide more information about preparation, but most patients report that the pre-procedure process is straightforward and easy to follow.
During your colonoscopy
Many physicians use Propofol to sedate patients undergoing a colonoscopy in order to ensure that you will not awake at all during the procedure. This is a safe medication that allows for a quicker recovery period. Mild discomfort may be expected after having a colonoscopy, but this is likely due to bloating that will dissipate after passing gas.
After your colonoscopy
Patients wake from sedation more quickly with use of Propofol and are even able to have a coherent conversation roughly 10 minutes after the colonoscopy. Patients should not drive or return to work until 12 hours after the procedure but can return to normal activities after that time. Fortunately, you can return to your normal diet after the procedure, as long as you stick to lighter foods like small sandwiches or soups.