Everyone over the age of 40 is aware of the “dreaded” colonoscopy. But really – we promise – it’s not that scary. Most folks say that the prep is the hardest part while the procedure is a breeze. If you’re still not convinced, having a colonoscopy is the single most effective way of detecting and preventing colon cancer, which is in the top three cancers in the United States. So just do it!
Here’s a bit more info about the procedure and why you should take the plunge.
Get screened if…
Most medical professionals agree that screening should start somewhere between the ages of 40 and 50 (check with your doctor to learn what they recommend), but if you have any symptoms, family history, or are of African descent, the sooner you’re screened, the better.
What are the symptoms?
If you’ve had any changes in your bowels, or experience regular diarrhea, constipation, or bleeding, you could be at a higher risk. Abdominal pain, weakness, weight loss and fatigue are also commonly associated with polyps and colon cancer.
Most insurance companies will cover genetic testing to better determine your risk level. The Colon Cancer Alliance offers this super fast quiz to see where you stand.
Colonoscopy prep tips
Some medical professionals say that certain dietary tweaks, such as avoiding meat in the week before, can really help with your entire prep experience. Also chill the beverage to ease the flavor and use a straw to help it flow. And if you enjoy grape soda, don’t choose grape flavored prep – that could ruin your beloved pop after the procedure.
Still not convinced?
If the idea of a colonoscopy is just too much for you to handle, your doctor might be able to recommend other screening options. However, if you fall into the high-risk category, a colonoscopy is probably going to be your best line of defense.
The bottom line
Tell your doctor if anything has changed in your bowels – and don’t be embarrassed. Colon cancer is 100% preventable if you’re screened early and often.