Do I need a colonoscopy?

   01/07/2016
colonoscopy

Do you need a colonoscopy? Does it hurt? What is colonoscopy prep like? I had a colonoscopy for my IBS. And although it was not pleasant, I’m glad I had it done.

A colonoscopy is not a cure for anything. It is, however, a major step in finding out if there is something serious you should know about. 

If you can, then do consider having a colonoscopy (or endoscopy) done. Your doctor or GI specialist will  most likely recommend one. Then you will know where you are.

It stops the mind chatter and all the “what if….” questions and stress.

Let’s face it, many of us imagine something serious like cancer. It’s good to know it’s not.

What is colonoscopy prep?

The prep refers to the oral laxatives you are given to take for a few days prior to the colonoscopy to clean out your intestines. 

If you struggle with IBS and digestive problems, this colonscopy prep can be really hard to take and not throw up. I regularly see people on IBS forums struggling with the prep.

But you have to keep going and do your best with it. After all, they can’t see anything when your intestines are full:)

Having a colonoscopy: Does it hurt?

Medical science is fantastic. The fact that they don’t have to open you up to look inside is just amazing.

On the day, know that colonoscopy is not comfortable. You are usually swallowing a tube that is several feet long. I was not sedated and I felt totally sick throughout (I think it lasted about 20 minutes).

My insides did not like having cells scraped off the walls for analysis, especially the parts that were inflamed.

Also, my stomach did not react well either to having extra air pumped into it, and few hours afterwards my intestines and stomach were bloating and cramping so badly I felt like I was going to explode.

My husband frantically called the specialist who said that this can be a reaction but it was “nothing to worry about” – and indeed it was not, but at the time it was a very stressful experience.

If I had known what to expect I would have taken the day off work, got my IBS medication ready and had someone come and pick me up afterwards and stay with me for a while.

I still don’t regret having had the colonoscopy. I found out that “I just had IBS“. The colonoscopy ruled out anything more serious that could have been going on and reassured me.

Costs

Depending on where you live and what medical insurance you have, the cost of a colonoscopy will vary substantially. It may be free, or come at a price. I have seen posted on several sites that in the US currently a colonoscopy costs on average around $3,000.

If having a colonoscopy puts you in a very difficult financial situation right now, you should not worry overly about it. The stress of that situation could start off other medical problems or worsen your IBS. Try to plan for one sometime in the not-too-distant future if yo can when you have better fortune.

As said before, having a colonoscopy will not cure your IBS.

What’s next

After my colonoscopy I went on a 25-year long journey with IBS of specialists, meds, diet tweaks, low Fodmaps, tests.

And nothing really worked. Everything was fine. But I didn’t feel fine!

Over time my IBS got worse. And I got really tired of dealing with it all.

That’s when I started looking into what no-one tells you about your digestive system. And that’s where I finally learned how to reverse IBS. 

 

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