What’s a Colonoscopy?

If you are over the age of thirty, it’s time to at least educate yourself on this important procedure. Ask your favorite health care professional for a recommendation on when you should schedule a colonoscopy.

Oh, before you read those links, check out the newest Kosher Cooking Carnival. If you read all about a colonoscopy first, you might not feel up to reading about food.

Let’s cheer on Carl in Jerusalem for taking care of himself yesterday and inspiring me to (finally) write a post on the importance of colonoscopies. Another blogger wrote about hers recently (she knows who she is).

My mother died of colon cancer. The week before my most recent colonoscopy my father mentioned that one of the only early symptoms of her illness was she only had a bowel movement every few days. When I changed my own diet(I eat a lot of brown rice, vegetables and fruit in addition to some protein foods) soon after my mother got sick, I noticed my own bowel movements came more easily. When I eat too much of my delicious homemade challah, I get a bit constipated again. So also know your own body.

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10 thoughts on “What’s a Colonoscopy?

  • Thank you Leora, but with mammography and MRI scheduled for the end of June, I guess I’ll wait a bit before I have colonoscopy.
    However as some people in my family have died of cancer or have cancer I think I tend to be careful.

  • Ilana-Davita, the colonoscopy requires blocking out an afternoon of prep and a morning of the actual procedure, and one needs someone to drive you home, too. So you have to plan ahead. I procrastinated for a while before getting my most recent one. An mammogram, in comparison, takes less time, but in New Jersey the waiting list is six months, because of lawsuits against radiologists, I think.

  • I had the “pleasure” of getting a sigmoidoscopy when I was 23. I am told that because of the drugs the colonoscopy feels much less invasive.

  • Jack, the colonoscopy itself is no big deal; I felt better right away both times I had the procedure. The preparation, on the other hand, can be a bit unpleasant. When I had one almost ten years ago, whatever they gave me (was it barium sulfate?), which didn’t bother me much, but my recent colonoscopy prep was with phosphosoda, which made me nauseated. So I felt pretty lousy that afternoon. But as I said, I felt fine once the actual procedure was over.

    Next time I do it (in five years?) I am going to ask more questions about the prep. I think I was given too much.

  • Leora,

    The last two times, I used the stuff I pictured in my post for preparation. I had to drink a 45ml bottle of it the night before followed by at least six glasses of water within an hour and then repeat the same thing in the morning (I drank two liters of water each time). The stuff pictured in my post is vile – it tastes like sugar water (think “glucose test”) with a very heavy dose of salt.

    Two times ago, they gave me two two-liter plastic bottles of water with the stuff mixed in. The taste wasn’t quite as strong and I don’t remember being bothered by it (okay, that was eight years ago). But when I asked the doctor, he said that they stopped using that stuff because people had trouble drinking so much (not a problem for me) and if I want the old stuff I should ask for it next time. Now to remember that next time….

    It may also bear pointing out that if you don’t do a colonoscopy and you’re a woman, you are taking a greater risk. Even without testing, men will often have blood in the stool before a tumor gets very advanced (although I would not take that risk, that’s how my father’s cancer was discovered in 1976). Women, on the other hand, tend to get tumors deeper in the colon and by the time there are any outer symptoms they are much more advanced. So if you’re a woman and you have ANY kind of family history of this stuff, you should do the test as prescribed and not put it off.

    I was tested for the gene many years ago and apparently do not have it, even though my father is a survivor (bli ayin hara) and his father died of colo-rectal cancer in 1970.

    By the way, thank God I was clean and got told to come back in five years. And for those of you who are scared of the test, go read my post on it. It’s hysterical. I can tell you that since I didn’t write most of it….

  • Carl, thanks for sharing all that. Important point about women…I didn’t know that. I do know that they did not detect my mother’s cancer earlier because it was so high up in her colon.

    Also, even if you do have the gene for colon cancer, it does help to adjust your diet. If I find the actual research on this, I will post it.

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