When you find yourself approaching 50 years old, there are several things to look forward to such as:
- the reality of you being almost half a century,
- receiving a letter from AARP,
- and getting a preventive colonoscopy.
You may wonder what is a preventive or screening colonoscopy. It’s a colorectal cancer screening strategy. Other strategies include stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and CT colonography.
Cancer is the c-word no one wants to talk about. However, it’s important to take whatever steps to avoid it or catch it in its early stages especially if it runs in your family.
Colorectal cancer is also known as colon cancer. As you might have guessed, it’s a cancer of the colon or rectum.
So a colonoscopy involves examining the colon (large intestine) and the rectum. I know you’re probably visualizing a painful experience when you think of the location of the examination. However, with the aid of a good anesthesiologist, you won’t feel a thing except for a tiny prick when they insert the needle for the IV. If you don’t like needles, look away and think of pleasant things.
Now, the preparation for the procedure is perhaps another story. Depending on the doctor you go to, you’ll need to be on a liquid diet at least 24 hours before and take a laxative to empty your colon. I won’t go into any of the details but you’ll need to have a supply of bathroom tissue and entertainment.
What is an Esophagogastroduodenoscopy?
This 26 letter word is a bit intimidating. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy is also known as EGD. That’s a lot easier on the lips, tongue, and teeth. It’s an examination of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
Whereas the colonoscopy involved the bottom half of your body, the EGD deals with the top half. This exam is diagnostic which means the doctor is attempting to diagnose some symptoms you may have involving these body parts such as chronic heartburn, unexplained anemia, and difficulty in swallowing. Additionally, EGD sees the effectiveness of a treatment or tracks complications if you have conditions affecting these body parts.
You’ll need to fast 6 to 12 hours before the test and remove dentures if you wear them. Again, with the aid of a good anesthetic, you won’t feel a thing.
Surviving the Colonoscopy and Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) in One Visit
While there are risks with any procedure, getting both in one visit can be a pain-free experience. Once you get past the insertion of the IV needle, you’ll lay on your side and drift into la-la land. Then you’ll find yourself back where you started and wondering what happened. You deserve a round of applause for allowing the doctor to check your insides. Hopefully, you’ll receive a clean bill of health or be able to address any issues regarding your health.
Don’t let the thought of going to the doctor terrify you. It’s best to know than not to know and prevent any diseases or conditions if at all possible. It’s all part of living life to the fullest.