I’m 25, and I’m getting a colonoscopy

The title says it all, no? In this post, I talked about my daily stomach pain and digestive issues and mentioned that the next step for me is a colonoscopy. I’d like to talk a little more about that here.

When I first met with my current GI doctor, he told me that a colonoscopy was likely in the cards given my symptoms (daily diarrhea, frequent intense lower abdominal pain and cramping) but he wanted to explore other possibilities first. When he ruled out other causes such as parasites or food allergies, he suggested it was time to consider a colonoscopy.

I was terrified. I’m still pretty scared. At first, I had no idea what to expect, but we talked, and I did some research, and I’m feeling a little more informed. I wanted to write this because I know colonoscopies are common for people over 40, but they are still rare for those of us under 30. The procedure is the same, but it’s nice to be able to relate to someone your own age.

The procedure will be performed in my doctor’s office rather than in a hospital and will only last about an hour. For that hour, I will be under general anesthesia (unconscious) via an IV in my arm. Some doctors will only sedate you (you remain conscious) for the procedure, but my doctor prefers this option and so do I. I’ve been under anesthesia before when I had my wisdom teeth removed, and it’s not very bad at all. I was most nervous about them sticking the needle in my arm, but as they asked me to count backwards from 10, I got to 9 and was out. I woke up asking when they would start the procedure, and it was already done!

While unconscious, a tube that blows air and a camera will be inserted into my rectum, colon and lowest portion of my intestines. The tube will blow air to expand the cavity and allow the camera to see all the areas of my colon. The doctor will look for any abnormalities (the most common being polyps)  and in my case he will be looking for inflammation (an indicator of Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and damage. If there are polyps, they will be removed and biopsied.

After the procedure, I’ll rest in the doctors office for a few minutes while the anesthesia wears off then I need Chris to drive me home as I’ll still be a little loopy. I’ve heard the procedure is so painless I could go to work that day if I needed to, but I’ll be getting it on a Saturday, so I’ll just rest.

That’s it! That’s the procedure. Not bad, right? I’ve read that the procedure is the easiest part. Rumor has it, it’s the prep that’s a pain in the butt (get it?).

Here’s how the prep works:

For three days prior to the procedure I have to stop eating all fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The reasoning behind this is that these foods are high in fiber and take a long time to digest (which is why they’re so good for weight loss). My colon and lower intestines will have to be free of solids for the doctor to get a good look at their linings, so this window gives enough time for even slow digesting foods to exit my digestive system.

The day before the test, I begin an all clear liquids diet. I can drink chicken broth, water, yellow Gatorade, light soda, black coffee, or light colored Jell-O, but I can’t eat anything. That will likely be the worst part for me because I’m always hungry.

On the day of my fast, I also have to take a laxative and a prescription liquid specific to the test. It’s all designed to flush out my colon, so I have to stay very close to a bathroom. Obviously, I will not be working that day.

On the day of the test, I can drink water up to four hours before, then it’s nothing at all until after the procedure. That’s pretty standard when you’re receiving anesthesia.

I think I’m most nervous that the prescription liquid will make me sick because I have a sensitive stomach that’s even worse when it’s empty, and you have to keep the liquid down. I’m secondly most nervous (not a phrase, I know) about the hours leading up to the procedure. It’s at 10:30, and in the city, and I just know I’ll be up at 7 pacing my apartment’s floors and panicking. I’m an anxious person to begin with and thoughts of going unconscious will probably make me a wreck.  Also, my doctor is in the city, so I’m third most nervous about feeling sick and being stuck in Holland Tunnel traffic on the way in. I’m hoping the day and time will bode well,  but I never know with New York.

I’ll spare you guys the gory details but will provide updates about the prep and procedure in case anyone has to go through anything similar. Hopefully, I get some answers out of all this.

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10 thoughts on “I’m 25, and I’m getting a colonoscopy

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  3. I am 25 years old. I had two colonoscopies and an endoscopy done one year ago. I had quite the opposite symptoms. I had lost 63 lbs in two months. I was a wreck! Turns out i have celiacs disease, the most mis-diagnosed and undiagnosed disease in the GI world apparently. Lol! Anywho… For the first colonoscopy i took the gallon of Go Lightly (must be super cold and the only flavor worth trying is the cherry… Juss sayyin). That was not enough to “Clear” me out. I was knocked out and had the endoscopy… BUT they had to perform another colonoscopy. It wasn’t bad seeing as the valium and benedryl they gave me for the endoscopy had me in a “I don’t give a poop” feeling (for lack of better terms) . My second one I ended up drinking two gallons of the dreaded Go Lightly and a bottle of magnesium citrate. Here is what i learned… 1) Magnesium Citrate is THE BOMB! It got the process going quite Smoothly. 2) Keep the Go Lightly COLD! Or else it tastes like straight up GARBAGE! 3) Chicken Broth! Every few 8oz doses of go lightly i would drink warm Chicken Broth. It definately eased my hunger and helped me take on both gallons! Made it much more bearable! I wasn’t completely sick of the go lightly afterwards. 4)Fluids!!! Gatorade was my buddy during this! 5) do not ask a 50 year old man about a colonoscopy… He will scare you! Lol! At least the one i asked did!!

    All in all, it wasn’t so bad. I do not remember the proceedure or afterwards up until i got to leave. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I am glad I got it done though! Because I sure was in bad shape before hand!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for these great tips! You were definitely spot on! I hope you’re feeling healthier these days. I can’t imagine what Celiac’s must be like, but I’m sure it’s awful.

      Reply
      • Thank You! It isn’t so bad… Unless you were born and raised in Wisconsin… and you used to enjoy Wisconsin Brewed Beers… And you cannot drink them anymore. LOL! No I am getting better with it. I hope you find out what is up with your health as well. No matter what anyone says, I think GI problems suck the most! Anyways, feel better and hope everything goes in your favor.

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  5. I wasn’t sure what I would find when I googled, “I’m 25 and getting a colonscopy,” but it was nice to be able to read your perspective on it. My appointment is next Wednesday, and while I’m nervous about it, I just hope I find out what’s been going on. I have a tendency to ignore health symptoms, so I’ve sort of been avoiding talking to the doctor about my stomach issues, for, oh, 4-5 years. Guess it’s about time to find out. Anyway, thanks for the post!

    Reply
    • I’m glad I was able to offer my experience. Stomach issues are easy to ignore because they tend to come and go. I kept hoping mine would just go away on their own, but they haven’t. You’re doing the right thing for sure. The colonoscopy was a hassle, but really not bad at all. They didn’t find anything on my test, but now we know what it’s not, so we’re a little closer to figuring out what it is. I hope you get some answers and can find some relief. If you have any questions, please ask! Good luck 🙂

      Reply
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