3 Tips for Facing Your Colonoscopy Fears

Do you need a colonoscopy? Are you afraid of going through with the procedure? You're not alone. For many people, just the thought of a colonoscopy is painful. However, colonoscopies are important medical procedures. In fact, it could save your life if the test identifies a tumor, polyp, or other dangerous growth. While colonoscopy fears are certainly understandable, it's important that you overcome those fears and push ahead with the test. Here are three tips to help you face your fears:

Consider the alternative. Yes, a colonoscopy is a scary and possibly painful procedure. However, it's probably not as painful as regular cancer treatments. If you've noticed changes in your bowel movements, extreme unexplained weight loss, or blood in your stool, then it may be possible that you have colon or intestinal issues. By putting off the test, you may be allowing those issues to spread and expand.

If you wait too long, your condition may have progressed from something that is easily treated to a more serious issue that requires radiation and chemotherapy. As unpleasant as a colonoscopy may be, it's a procedure that's usually over quickly, as opposed to cancer treatments, which can stretch on for weeks or even months.

Talk to your doctor about your fears. Remember that your doctor wants you to get the test. They'll do everything in their power to make the process easier for you. They may be able to administer sedatives and pain-relief drugs that make the test less unpleasant. They may even be able to put you to sleep. However, for them to help, you need to talk to them about your fears. If they know about your anxiety in advance, then they can work with you to make sure the process is as comfortable as possible.

Explore the option of a virtual colonoscopy. Some doctors now use a combination of x-rays and CT scans to perform a virtual colonoscopy. You'll still have to prepare ahead of time by emptying your bowels. However, you won't have to deal with any insertions into your colon and intestines. Instead, the doctor will use detailed images to examine your digestive system. Not all doctors do virtual colonoscopies. Also, the test isn't appropriate for all conditions. If you're having serious symptoms, your doctor may still want to do a traditional colonoscopy to get a full view of your system.

Talk to you doctor about your concerns and your options. They can offer more tips to help you prepare for the exam. Consider talking to a doctor at Lincoln Surgical Group PC if you'd like more information.