When the time comes in your life where you need a colonoscopy procedure, you may find yourself in an unfamiliar situation and feel unsure or even a bit nervous. However, a colonoscopy is a routine procedure that everyone should go through several times throughout their adult lives. To get yourself prepared for your first colonoscopy procedure, there are some steps you should take and things you should know about the procedure. By going into the process well-informed, you will make the experience easier and less stressful for yourself.
You Will Want To Take A Day Before And After The Procedure Off
While a colonoscopy is a routine procedure that holds very few risks for the patient, that does not mean that you can just run into the doctor's office one day to have the procedure done and rush back to work as soon as it is finished. A colonoscopy requires preparation and recovery time.
The day before your colonoscopy, you will be on a diet of clear liquids only. Additionally, you will be prescribed laxative medications by your doctor that you will need to take during the 24 hours before the procedure. These laxatives are powerful and fast-acting, requiring you to have constant and quick access to a restroom at all times.
The purpose of this extremely limited diet as well as the laxatives is to clear out your intestinal tract and colon prior to the colonoscopy procedure. By doing so, you will allow your doctor to get a clear view of the interior surfaces of your colon and will help them to detect any polyps or other signs of colon cancer.
Following the procedure, you will likely still be drowsy from the anesthesia. And the next day, you may still have the residual effects of the anesthesia as well as the laxatives and restricted diet from prior to the procedure. As such, it is a good idea to take an extra day off after the fact to recover and get back to feeling normal again.
You Will Need Somebody To Come With You The Day Of The Procedure
While not all patients and doctors prefer general anesthesia for a colonoscopy, there is always some form of anesthesia used during the procedure to keep the patient calm and still as well as to prevent discomfort or pain. As such, even if you do not plan to be unconscious during your colonoscopy, driving yourself home after the fact will be impossible.
Rather than have to stay in a hospital waiting for your anesthesia to wear off completely after your colonoscopy procedure, you should plan to have someone come with you on the day of the procedure. They can provide you with transportation home but will also provide moral support while you wait to head back and will be a comfort to you while you are in the procedure if you are nervous about it. Ask a family member or friend well in advance so that you know you have a ride home and will have assistance getting into bed once you get there.
For more information, contact Northwest Gastroenterology Associates or a similar organization.