Easing the Fear of Getting a Colonoscopy

Posted By Author on April 26, 2023

A colonoscopy may sound daunting to a new patient, but it’s a simple, routine procedure that can be essential for your health. There’s no need to worry about a colonoscopy, as it’s only done once every 10 years and could potentially save your life.

Here at Charleston GI, our doctors are in the business of keeping you healthy and easing your worries no matter the procedure. Keep reading to learn more about colonoscopy procedures and the benefits.

Risk Factors of Colorectal Cancers  

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer is 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women. 

Risk factors of colorectal cancer include:

  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Diets high in red meat and processed meats
  • Regularly cooking meat at high temperatures (frying and broiling, for example)
  • Low vitamin D blood level
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use

The good news is the above risk factors are all aspects that you have the option to change and in return, lower your risk of colorectal cancer. Other risk factors to take note of include:

  • Age
  • Personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancers
  • Personal history of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Racial/ethnic background
  • Inherited gene mutations

Routine colonoscopies play a major role in detecting colorectal cancers. A colonoscopy can be beneficial for early detection by allowing your doctor to easily remove polyps and take biopsies to be sent off to the lab for closer inspection. 

Prep and Foods to Avoid   

The first step in getting a colonoscopy is preparing your body for the procedure. We know, this part sounds unpleasant, but we are here to assure that it is worth it. The total prep time differs from patient to patient but can sometimes take up to 16 hours. 

A successful flush of your bowels is key for an effective procedure because an empty bowel is what allows your GI doctor to spot polyps and any other abnormalities that may be present. 

In the few days leading up to your procedure, lower your fiber intake and avoid foods like dried fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and raw fruits and vegetables. For the day before your procedure, stay away from solid foods and stick to clear liquids like clear broth, black coffee, tea, clear soft drinks, Jell-O, popsicles, etc. Do NOT put any milk or cream into your coffee or tea, as dairy products are not a clear liquid.

The Procedure    

With the experienced team at Charleston GI, your colonoscopy procedure should take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete. You’ll be under sedation for the procedure at one of our endoscopy centers, so you won’t feel a thing!

Your doctor will have you lie on your side before the procedure begins, so you are in the ideal position before the anesthesia sets in. The colonoscopy is conducted using a colonoscope, which transmits images of your colon and intestines to help your doctor spot any polyps or abnormalities. 

Remember, you’ll be sedated with anesthesia, so the procedure will be over before you know it. Our experienced doctors are here to make you feel comfortable and at ease for this potentially life-saving procedure. 

Questions? Contact Charleston GI Today!

Getting a colonoscopy can be daunting, but don’t believe every scary thing you read on the internet! Here at Charleston GI, our  board-certified gastroenterologists are experienced in treating a wide variety of conditions, and we can help you with all the information you need to feel more comfortable about your colonoscopy. 

We have four convenient Charleston area locations to choose from, in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and Carnes Crossroads.

Charleston GI doctors are ready 5 days a week to offer you medical relief. There’s no referral needed, so schedule your appointment today, with Charleston GI! 

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