5 Colonoscopy Myths You Should Know

Nowain2.small_-1024x767There are many colonoscopy myths you should know before setting up an appointment. Reports show that colorectal cancer is diagnosed in more than 130,000 people each year in the U.S. alone. One of the best tools for detecting and preventing colon cancer is a colonoscopy. It is recommended that most individuals should have a colonoscopy performed at the age of 50. For people who are high-risk – with a family history or of African American descent – should have a colonoscopy completed sooner. So what’s stopping you from scheduling your colonoscopy?

Let’s set the record straight regarding some common myths about colonoscopies:

Myth #1: The Prep Will Be Terrible

As part of the process, you have to empty your colon. The most common complaint of the colon prep involves the amount of liquid patients have to drink. While traditionally methods call for a large volume of liquid, newer bowel prep options include lower-volume alternatives. They are equally effective and easier on people who can’t drink a lot of liquid at one time. Remember: the cleaner your colon, the better the physician can detect polyps, which is, after all, why you’re there.

Myth #2: The Procedure Will Hurt

In actuality it shouldn’t. Before the procedure, patients are given IV medication by an anesthesiologist (doctor who specializes in sedation for procedures) to ensure that patients are safe and comfortably sleeping.  However, if you are still worried about discomfort, talk to Dr. Nowain and he can discuss your colonoscopy and sedation options.

Myth #3: It’s Too Embarrassing

Physicians understand that the procedure can feel intrusive and, because of this, physicians take every measure possible to make your experience private and respectful. Remember that doctors perform thousands of colonoscopies a year and view the colon the same as any other organ. To minimize the embarrassment at the Center for GI Health, you will get to know Dr. Nowain as well as his staff prior to your colonoscopy.

Myth # 4: There Could Be Complications

There is a very low risk of complications during a colonoscopy. In fact, your chance of getting colon cancer in your lifetime is much higher than your chance of experiencing complications from a colonoscopy. It is important to schedule your colonoscopy with a physician who is board certified. This will ensure that your doctor is familiar with the procedure, can perform it safely and successfully as well as be aware of the necessary guidelines that result in little to no complications.

Myth #5: You Don’t Need a Colonoscopy Until You Experience Symptoms

Please don’t wait to schedule your colonoscopy. The majority of curable colon cancers are found in individuals who did not have any pain or other symptoms. After symptoms are present, the cancer has already begun to spread into other organs. These late stage colon cancers have a significantly lower survival rate. The good news is that a colonoscopy helps physicians find polyps before they develop into cancer. Therefore, schedule your first colonoscopy based on these simple guidelines:

  • Get you first colon if you’re 50 years old or older.
  • If you are African American, you should have colonoscopies beginning at age 45.
  • If you are an individual with a family history of colon cancer, you should begin screening 10 years prior to when the youngest relative was diagnosed.
  • Lastly, adhere to Dr. Nowain’s instructions as to when you should schedule a repeat colonoscopy.

Talk to Your Los Angeles Gastroenterologist

If it is time to schedule your colonoscopy or you have questions about colonoscopies or colon cancer, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Nowain at (310) 657-4444. You can schedule your appointment today!