“Without dismissing people’s feelings, a colonoscopy is a relatively small inconvenience compared to potentially missing an early onset colorectal cancer,” says Dr. Rustgi.
Typically, a colonoscopy only requires one day off work. “The day before your colonoscopy, you can work normally, you’re just on a limited diet, which might mean clear liquids like chicken broth or a small low-fiber breakfast like eggs and white toast,” says Dr. Rustgi.
The prep drink will take about 12 hours, start to finish: You drink the first half of the laxative the night before, and finish it in the morning. Once you take the prep drink, your diet should be clear liquids only until the procedure. The procedure itself is only 30-45 minutes, and you’re back to normal activities the following day.
“What I tell people is, it’s one day of your life, hopefully not more frequently than once every 10 years to prevent colon cancer,” she says.
There is also no reason to be embarrassed. Your body is completely covered during the exam, and your gastroenterologist is focused on a monitor displaying the inside of your colon. They also perform these procedures frequently.
“It’s not as scary as people think, and once people learn more about it, they realize that,” says Dr. Rustgi. “One of the most common things my patients tell me after their colonoscopy is, ‘That was much less of a big deal than I thought it would be. I wish I would have done it sooner.’”