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What to Expect When Getting a Colonoscopy

Updated on February 15, 2018

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is an exam where the Dr. can look into your large intestine to make sure everything is okay. The Dr. can see the lining of the colon and rectum. They use a very thin tube which is called a colonscope. They can see if you have polyps, bleeding, inflammation or tumors. It is a great thing to have done because if you have any precancerous tumors (polyps), they can take them out during the colonoscopy. I will tell you what it's like, from my own personal experience. This way you don't have to go by what you read when you get the pamphlet. They don't tell you everything as far as details like I will.

A Colonoscopy Is One Of The Most Important Things You Will Do

Of course there are small risks involved in getting a colonoscopy, but they are very small risks and I have had about 7 or more in less than 8 years. Remember, if they see something, they can remove it right there. Polyps can turn into cancer, so that's another reason to get a colonoscopy. Why not get them out so they don't turn into colon cancer.

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What's The Hardest Part About Getting A Colonoscopy Done

The hardest part of getting a colonoscopy done is the preparation. It does suck, trust me. It doesn't hurt, it just plain sucks and there is nothing you can do about it, you have to do it. It's called a Bowel preparation. In other words, you get "cleaned out." It would be nice if you could just take a couple Ex-lax and call it a day, but that ain't gonna happen. They prescribe you a bottle of NuLytely. It does come in different flavors such as: Cherry, Lemon-Lime and Orange, but it don't matter. It is still not wonderful. I am not going to tell you it is. The jug is huge and you have to drink it all. You start off drinking one cup about every 10 minutes. The first couple cups is okay, then after that, you will want to vomit from the feeling of being so full, but it's just once every 10 years, (normally) so you can deal with it for one day.

The Colonscopy Procedure

Well, now that you are squeaky clean and have had nothing to eat after midnight (or before) depending on what time your colonoscopy is scheduled for, you can now get in your car (You may want to bring a towel to sit on just in case you aren't quite done yet), and head down to the hospital. I have had so many, that it doesn't even phase me, however; my husband had one done a few years ago, and he was shaking so bad that I had to drive him to the hospital. He was absolutely mortified.

When you walk in to the little prep room, you will get undressed of course, from head to toe. Nothing on except your birthday suit. You will put on your gown and go back to the pre-surgery area where you will get your IV and get your blood pressure checked, temperature, etc. When it's your turn to get violated, they wheel you and the cart you are laying on, into the operating room. Now, before I was used to getting them, I would ask them to sedate me a little bit before I saw the operating room. It just really freaked me out for some reason. So, I was lucky enough my first few times to be able to have that done, it depends on your Doctor and anesthesiologist.

Picture of Inside Your Colon

This is what a colonoscopy can see
This is what a colonoscopy can see | Source

Getting a Colonoscopy

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During The Colonoscopy

Now that you are laying there on the gurney, you are staring at the ceiling and looking at all the instruments you are going to be touched with. It's a little overwhelming and you want to get up and run like hell. Well, that's why I am writing this, so you don't have. Seriously! It's no big deal and it is one of the most important surgical procedures of your life. It could save your life, so think of it that way. What's better? To find something early and get it fixed, or be a chicken and find out later that if you would have went, you could have been cured if they find anything. It's your decision. Anyway, back to the story. The anesthesiologist will then put the medicine into your IV, so you don't even feel it. You will then be in so called "la la land." However, you are wide awake and answer to every move the Dr. tells you to do. The medicine used is called Versed (Ver-sed). The Versed makes it where you don't remember what you God forbid said basically (not really, makes you forget what you went through)- You don't care what is going on nor do you remember what happened afterwards. Now, you may be remember bits and pieces, but it's like trying to remember a dream. You either do, or you don't. But either way, you don't know, and you don't care. End of story. No other comments to make on that .

Are You At Risk For Cancer?

Getting a colonoscopy is so frightening to some people that they absolutely refuse. Again, I reiterate the fact of the necessity and life saving probabilities of getting a colonscopy. Not only can it detect any problems of colon cancer, but it can find the polyps, diverticulitis, crohns disease, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Get yours scheduled today and you will feel so much better that you did. Ladies, It's like getting your annual pap smears like you should. if you have not got your pap smear or pelvic exam, maybe you need to. If you read my personal journey of having cervical cancer, you may think twice. If you would like to read that story, feel free. You can read it here: My Story of Cervical Cancer.

Video of Someone Getting A Colonoscopy


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    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 13 months ago from Central USA

      I've had family members that have still not got a colonoscopy and they're in their 70s! I keep telling them that it's not that big of a deal Of course there's risks to any procedure, there's people that have died from going to the dentist… But I had eight colonoscopies and done in less than two years

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      That was awesome! Thank you for sharing that!!

    • profile image

      Mike 5 years ago

      I feel compelled to share a funny, from my so far one and only everything looks fine and I'm good for another ten years colonoscopy last May.

      I was sitting on the bed/gurney, being prepped with BP, IV, etc.

      All of the activity; nurses and other staff was behind me, and they were talking amongst themselves.

      Next thing I know, I here a new voice; "Yeah, I'm a plumber, and I have a Work Order......"

      Fortunately, it was for a toilet seat repair in one of the nearby bathrooms...

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      The needle thing, well..Ya, that isn't real fun either..Didn't add that part

    • raciniwa profile image

      raciniwa 5 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

      well, this surely open my eyes about this process, i am hospitalized only twice, but i really am still afraid of needles...thanks for the reassurance...

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      I had a few other issues going on besides Polyps - but yes, sometimes they do tests that are not necessary, but my motto is, better safe than sorry :)

    • rosenartie profile image

      rosenartie 5 years ago from Hyde Park

      It is really a great hub that you put your personal experience out there. I have had first the lower intestine, then three full intestines but this is over around ten years, which has all been through the recommendation of my doctor. In each procedure I had polyps removed I was amazed to see that you have had 7 procedures done in 8 years. If none of your polyps were malignant that seems like overkill, for lack of a better word.

      I saw a program recently were they talked about doctors over prescribing tests, unnecessary tests. Even if you have polyps a normal time span between procedures is probably evry three years, depending on your age and how bad the lining is.

      I agree though that the day before the procedure is really tough

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      Amen to that~! Glad you enjoyed reading. Details had to be added~

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 5 years ago

      Loved this! An important topic covered with humor, facts, and...courage! gf has to have one of these babies every year - so - i've heard the gory details before! It's well worth the embarrassment and pain, tho - cause there are gorier details out there that we DON'T want to hear about when it's caught too late!

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      Wow! I am so glad you are okay! That is a reason people need to hear-your story right there..continue on your journey

    • jdflom profile image

      Jonathan 5 years ago from Sacramento, CA

      This is a great hub and it's important for people to get checked. I am only 30 and last August went in and they did find a tumor. I just finished chemo and everything is looking good. It was a later stage, but I have my age on my side.

      The worst part is definitely the prep, as the stuff tastes disgusting, even diluted... But as for the procedure itself -- I didn't feel a thing; before, during or after.

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      Gee, great! glad I could help! The worst part is getting cleaned out. Seriously!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 5 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thanks for opening my eyes to what this is and what happens ... If I ever need one of these I wont freek now.

      voted up etc.

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      No problem.. Hope it helped someone. I have been trying to get my mother to get one for years. I won't say how old she is, but she's about 20 yrs past due.

    • eye say profile image

      eye say 5 years ago from Canada

      very good info! thank for writing it down for everyone... sharing!

    • weezyschannel profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago from Central USA

      yes, I agree, getting prepared was horrible. I dreaded that, but well worth getting it done. My husband even said he freaked out for nothing. He was a big baby!

    • bankscottage profile image

      bankscottage 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Good Hub. The worst part of the colonoscopy is the prep. I have had many different preps and none of them are very pleasant. The actual procedure with the sedation is relatively easy. I have had several colonoscopies and the first one at age 42 was almost too late.

      Propofol is often used for sedation since it is very short acting. (Yes, this is the same stuff Michael Jackson was getting. The difference is you have a colonoscopy with an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist taking care of you, not a cardiologist. You have someone that can manage your airway if you get into trouble.)