When you reach a certain age, it seems that our schedules start filling up with more tests. From mammograms to pap smears to physicals to visits with the eye doctor to get reading glasses, there’s a lot going on. Suddenly, the calendar on your smartphone might seem to be your best friend!
Many diagnostic tests are designed to catch diseases before they become serious. Ideally, we won’t find any signs of disease at all. But, we recommend following your doctor’s suggestion and having those tests done, even if they’re not your idea of a fun day. Getting a colonoscopy is one of those tests that many people put off, but that can cause harm down the road. After you reach age fifty, many doctors will recommend that you come in and get a colonoscopy. Keep reading to learn about this important test.
Why Would I Need a Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopies test for changes and abnormalities in the large intestine and rectum. If you’ve been having issues with your digestion or bowel movements, a colonoscopy can help see what’s going on.
A colonoscopy is also a good test to look for colon cancer or the causes of digestive issues like constipation, rectal bleeding, chronic stomach pain, or chronic diarrhea.
If you haven’t been having stomach issues, then your doctor will likely recommend that you have a colonoscopy purely to look for polyps or signs of colon cancer.
How Do I Prepare for a Colonoscopy?
Part of the reason people are hesitant to have a colonoscopy done is that they know the colon must be clean for a good test. To prepare, you’ll need to forgo eating solid foods for twenty-four hours before your test. You can have clear liquids like water, tea, coffee without milk or sugar, and broth.
You may also be asked to take a laxative to help move things along. Oftentimes a liquid laxative is provided as part of the colonoscopy procedure. You will need to drink all of it in the schedule provided to make sure that your colon is clean and able to provide information. If your colon isn’t suitably clean, then you may need to come back for another test.