The Joys of Turning 50

Time to Get a Colonoscopy

When I turned 50, my doctor urged me to get a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy allows your doctor to look inside your intestines with a flexible tube, as you lie on your side. If polyps are found, they can be cut out and tested to see if there is any sign of cancer.

Unfortunately, I googled “colonoscopy” and read horror stories of people who woke up during the colonoscopy screaming and trying to get off the table. Others still remembered the pain a year or so later.

So I procrastinated until I was 60. I gave myself a pep talk beforehand, and it was over before I knew it. Here are three ways to prepare for a colonoscopy in menopause:

Ask Questions

Once you schedule your colonoscopy a nurse usually calls and goes over your list of medications. If you take aspirin, you may be advised to discontinue taking it a week before the procedure. Essential meds can usually be taken with just a sip of water before you go in.

You’ll be placed on a clear liquid diet a day or two before your colonoscopy, so if you have questions, don’t be afraid to speak up.

Follow Prep Day Instructions

Of course you would rather be out for a fun date with your husband instead of chained to the toilet, but remember it is only for one night, and you’re being proactive about your health.

You drink a big bottle of solution to clean your insides out, and it doesn’t taste like a root beer float. You can use Crystal Lite to cover the nasty taste. It is a temptation to just drink half a bottle, but if you’re not clean enough on the inside, you’ll be doing a repeat performance.

Plan Something Fun

In spite of your best efforts, a colonoscopy is no walk in the park, so after it’s over, do something fun if you don’t have to return to work. Go out for lunch, have a picnic, or catch a movie. In my case, I prefer a large slice of cheesecake smothered in whipped cream.

If I was flexible enough to give myself a good kick in the rear I would – for waiting so long. I had three polyps removed that could have turned malignant. Colorectal cancer death rates increase with age, so it is well worth a few days of inconvenience to save your life.