What not to expect from a colonoscopy

by Scott Kessman

Photo of an article on what not to expect from a colonoscopy. Image is of closeup portrait of asian man with a headache on white background.
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Do NOT expect to maintain your dignity

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©Bavorndej / Adobe Stock

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What NOT to expect from a colonoscopy?

Throughout my life, I’ve faced several uncomfortable and awkward situations that I was all too happy to forget afterward. Meeting my girlfriend’s parents for the first time wasn’t exactly an exciting endeavor. Having to explain a significant mistake to my boss wasn’t exactly the highlight of my career. But these are all situations that thankfully occurred only once or twice in my life. I was able to move on, shoving the memories into a part of my mind that I seldom visit.



I found it ironic once I turned 50, not only would I be facing a new uncomfortable experience but also that I was paying for it. It is the colon cancer screening test, and it’s, unfortunately, a necessary part of life for all males ages 50 and up. The test is conducted regularly to ensure detection of precancerous growths or cancerous cells in their early stages so that treatment can be way more effective.

My physician gave me all the fun details of what the test – a colonoscopy – would involve. I tried not to squirm uncomfortably in the chair, my anus silently screaming that things are supposed to go out of that hole, not in. Nevertheless, while I was well versed in what to expect from the colonoscopy, there are a few things I learned NOT to expect as well.

Do NOT expect to maintain your dignity

If there was ever a test that was developed to ensure that you shed every ounce of dignity from start to finish, it’s probably a colonoscopy. The test lasts about a 30-45 minutes, but before it even begins, you’ll need to take a laxative the night before to ensure that your colon is sufficiently cleaned out.



So there was definitely no enjoying a steak dinner or watching much television the night before the test, and there definitely wasn’t any cuddling with my spouse later that evening. Periodic runs to the toilet, along with the accompanying noises of expulsion and the smell that wafts underneath the crack of the door don’t exactly set the mood for a romantic evening.


Read more: What is it like having an endoscopy and colonoscopy on the same day?

Do NOT expect to go alone

No chance of keeping your a colonoscopy experience all to yourself. I needed someone to drive me to the appointment and home again, as I was administered a sedative that served to relax my digestive muscles. And besides, all the medical staff know what you are going through.

Do NOT expect to receive terrible news

While the colonoscopy itself is, of course, nothing to look forward to, even if you do receive a concerning diagnosis, you can rest assured that early detection offers you the best hope for successful treatment.


Article by Scott Kessman

Scott Kessman is a professional writer, author of The Tales of Tanglewood.

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