Colonoscopy is a procedure that ranks just above root canals when it comes to things most patients would rather avoid. In fact, the list of things the average person would sooner do before scheduling a colonoscopy is rumored to include swimming with sharks, jumping from airplanes, and just about anything else.

As GI specialists, we know we aren't everyone's favorite appointment of the day. Don't worry; we won't take it personally. Fear of colonoscopy is a very common phobia. However, there's no need to fear a colonoscopy procedure. Anxiety over the unknown is often the scariest part of a colon screening. Although caring for your gastrointestinal health isn't the most pleasant task on your to-do list, prioritizing wellness is one of the best ways you can practice self-care and prevention.

The team at GI Associates has 5 simple reasons why a colonoscopy isn't so bad.

1.) The Pain is Overrated

Patients are often surprised to learn that a colonoscopy isn't painful at all. There's no mad gastroenterologist tying patients down and torturing them. In fact, patients are sedated prior to the procedure so no pain is felt during a colonoscopy. Patients have a range of options from a mild sedative to general anesthesia. During a colonoscopy, your doctor will use a tiny camera attached to a thin, flexible tube to identify any colorectal abnormalities. The tube is inserted into the rectum and the entire procedure only lasts 15 to 60 minutes. Don't worry -- you won't be able to feel the tube and it will be gone by the time you wake up.

In fact, most patients don't even remember having a colonoscopy. The most common side effect is cramping and bloating lasting 2-3 days post-procedure. Most patients do not experience severe discomfort and, on the off chance that you do begin to experience pain, our knowledgeable GI team is here to help.

We'll get you feeling better in no time with a clean bill of gastrointestinal health.

2.) The Prep Isn't Terrible

Of course, the procedure itself isn't always the number one phobia on patients' lists. Colonoscopy prep is dreaded by many as the process of clearing out one's bowels in advance of the procedure is understandably not the best way to spend your day. However, when it comes to preventing colon cancer, a colorectal cancer screening is well worth the inconvenience of the preparation.

Colonoscopy prep typically involves a clear liquid diet formulated to clear your bowels with colon cleansing minerals like magnesium citrate. Plan the prep well in advance to minimize stress. Wear loose clothing, relax with a good book or movie, and stay close to the bathroom. If the all-liquid life gets too boring, mix it up with Jello, popsicles, and juice as approved by your doctor.

If you're looking for a non-oral colonoscopy prep option, HyGieaCare is a convenient alternative to traditional oral colon cleanses. Patients will arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment and complete their colon cleanse via a safe, effective, and discreet hydrotherapy system that is often more thorough than a traditional cleanse. There's no discomfort and you'll be done with the procedure in less than an hour.

Think of colonoscopy prep as dealing with a stomach bug; unpleasant, but you'll get through it with a little willpower and humor.

3.) Costs are Typically Covered by Insurance

A colonoscopy is 100% covered by your insurance provider under preventative care. In general, screening colonoscopies for people at average risk are recommended every 10 years by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Under the law, preventive services are covered at no cost by insurers if they meet the task force's recommendations. It is recommended that men and women over 50 begin scheduling routine colonoscopy screenings per the preventative care guidelines. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer or those who are at high risk due to other factors may begin to schedule colon screenings sooner and still receive full coverage under most insurance policies.

Our caring office staff is here to help navigate pre-approvals and other insurance scenarios so you can stress less and focus on prepping for the procedure.

4.) A Colonoscopy is The Perfect Cleanse and Reset

Colon cleanses are a helpful reset for your overall gastrointestinal health and wellness. A doctor monitored cleanse removes toxins from the body, cleanses free radicals, and boosts your immune system. The colon and liver both benefit from routine cleanses that improve overall GI function. Colon cleanses have also been found to improve skin and assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Getting rid of all that sludge can even boost your energy. After the discomfort fades, most patients feel better than ever, relaxed and rejuvenated with a gastrointestinal reset.

While we wouldn't recommend scheduling more colorectal cancer screenings than you need, one every 10 years is the perfect cadence for a healthy digestive tract. Think of colonoscopy prep as a way to prioritize your wellness alongside taking responsible preventative measures.

5.) Colonoscopies Protect Your Health

Your health is worth protecting. There's no greater value than looking after our personal wellness for ourselves, our families, and our futures.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for men and women combined in the United States. This is a tragic statistic considering how preventable colon cancer is with routine screenings. A colonoscopy can dramatically reduce your chances of developing colon cancer. Finding and removing any questionable polyps in the colon and rectum can reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 40 percent according to the Mayo Clinic.

Furthermore, early treatment of colon cancer is key to achieving remission. This aggressive form of cancer is highly curable if detected prior to the malignant cells spreading. There is a greater array of treatment options available when colorectal cancer is detected in the early stages. Many of these options are less invasive and come with less severe side effects. While screening may be daunting, an early diagnosis is the best way to stay empowered and in control of your health.

Don't put off getting a comprehensive colon screening out of fear of a colonoscopy. Our dynamic GI team is here to answer any questions you may have and ensure that you feel comfortable and supported during and after the procedure. Reach out to us today and get started with a consultation. Conquering colonoscopy fears one patient at a time is our mission at GI Associates!

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