As we get older, we begin needing to look after our health in different ways. One example of this is the need to receive regular colonoscopies once we reach the age of 50. Colonoscopies screen for colon cancer and are meant to be done at least once every ten years.
But this procedure can be confusing and even a bit frightening if you’ve never had it done before. So keep reading. Below, you’ll find everything that you need to know about colonoscopies, as well as information about what to do immediately before and immediately after getting one done.
A colonoscopy involves the insertion of a long, tiny, flexible tube into the rectum. At the end of this tube, there’s a tiny video camera. The camera records the inside of the colon so that the doctor administering the procedure can see what it looks like.
If the doctor sees something that concerns them, then they may remove a polyp from the colon while this procedure is being done. They can then test that to assess whether it presents a problem that needs to be resolved or not.
The procedure might sound painful. But it’s actually not. Modern colonoscopies aren’t painful at all. Patients are typically placed under a light sedative anyway, so most can’t feel more than a tickle while it’s happening.
There are a few things to do in the days leading up to your next colonoscopy. First, you need to change up your diet to ensure the procedure goes smoothly. You can eat things like white bread, pasta, lean meats, and veggies without skin. But you shouldn’t eat fatty foods, whole grains, or tough meats.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to eat anything solid the day before your procedure. During this fast, it’s important to stay hydrated. Ensure you consume lots of clear liquids, such as water, sports drinks, and juice.
After a colonoscopy, you shouldn’t jump straight back into your normal diet. Doing so could upset or even harm your digestive system. Instead, use a gradual transition process but starting with lots of fluids and fluid-based foods like soups.
Additionally, most doctors recommend that you spend the day immediately following your colonoscopy resting. Doing so will ensure that the impacted parts of your body are able to recover properly, which is a process that doesn’t normally last more than 24 hours.
Original Medicare could cover a good portion of the costs of your next colonoscopy procedure. The insurance pays for screening colonoscopies once every 24 months for individuals who have a high risk of colorectal cancer. If a polyp is found and removed during the procedure, you’ll only pay 20% of the Medicare-approved amount.
You may be able to unlock even more coverage for colonoscopies by upgrading to a Medicare Advantage plan. If you’re not sure how to do that or would like some guidance, then consider contacting a partnered licensed agent through Time for 65.