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3 Biggest Fears About Getting a Colonoscopy

Have you been putting off getting a colonoscopy because the very thought of it fills you with dread and terror?

Have you been putting off getting a colonoscopy because the very thought of it fills you with dread and terror? You are not alone! I personally witness so much fear around this procedure. Guess what? The fear is unnecessary. The procedure, however, can save your life. So i’m sharing the 3 biggest fears that most people have about getting a colonoscopy … and why they shouldn’t prevent you from making that appointment. But first, I’m dropping a little knowledge about the seriousness of colon cancer and why you should drop your pants to protect your health.

It’s the #3 cancer killer in the United States.

  • Approximately 140,000 people in the united states are diagnosed with colon cancer every year. Over 50,000 people die annually.
  • Your risk for getting colon cancer is about 1 in 20. Certain factors further increase your risk (age, ethnicity, lifestyle, family history, etc.).
  • No symptoms doesn’t mean no colon cancer. Most people don’t experience any symptoms until it’s too late. (see why that colonoscopy is crucial?)

Now let’s put those fears to rest. 

1. It’s going to be embarrassing!

Patients have been known to put off this procedure for years … all because they don’t want anyone looking at their backside. They don’t want to feel exposed, judged and embarrassed. I get that. But here is what you need to understand. During a colonoscopy, your doctor is not staring at your butt. Your doctor is intently focused on the monitor that is showing what is going on internally. He or she is only concerned with identifying any potential issues that could affect your health. No one in that room is there to judge your body. So if you’re worried that a sketch artist – or a photographer with a hi-tech zoom lens – is going to sneak into the room and capture evidence of a little cellulite (or a bad tattoo from your college years), you need not worry. No one is paying attention to your backside … only your insides.

2. It’s going to be painful!

If you’re due for your first colonoscopy, you might be having nightmares about your doctor chasing after you with a 400 foot spiked tube. No wonder you’re scared it’s going to hurt! I promise you, the anticipation is the worst part. This procedure is not painful. I even did it with no anesthesia! And that nightmare-inducing tube? In reality, it’s called a colonoscope and is a thin, flexible, hollow tube with a tiny camera on the end. You will be comfortably sedated before the colonoscope is inserted, so you won’t feel a thing. (some patients may experience some mild bloating post-procedure, but this is nothing more than trapped gas that will naturally make its way out.) As for where it’s going? Probably not your first choice. But prevention is key, and this procedure is the gold standard for colon cancer prevention.

3. I’m afraid to get the results!

Some people, especially those who have put off getting a colonoscopy for years, are afraid of getting a bad diagnosis. The fear of being diagnosed with colon cancer is enough to make them avoid the very procedure that can help prevent the illness in the first place. While this is a perfectly normal concern, i urge you to remember that preventative action is the best thing you can do to protect yourself! And if there happened to be an issue? Catching it as quickly as possible is your best bet for a positive outcome. When colon cancer is detected early, the treatment options are much more favorable than those available in later stages. And let’s not forget the many lives that are saved every year because pre-cancerous growths are spotted during a colonoscopy and removed before the illness takes over.  


Feeling better about getting a colonoscopy?

The vast majority of people can prevent colon cancer, and this easy, painless procedure is the best way to do it. It saves lives. And it might even save yours. Any power you have to increase your odds of living a cancer-free life is a gift that i hope you accept. Don’t let a little fear or embarrassment take that power away and increase your risk of a life-threatening diagnosis. I swear, it’s no big deal, and it will help you live a longer, healthier life. Not a bad reason to drop your pants. Make healthy living a part of every day. The light in me honors the light in you. Namaste. Dr. Nandi if you found this helpful and want to see more, join my newsletter community!

Partha’s prescriptions

  • Speak up. Talk to your doctor and ask if a colonoscopy is in your near future.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions (even if you’re a little embarrassed) and advocate for yourself.
  • Calm down. Nervous about an upcoming colonoscopy? You don’t need to be, but if you’re feeling on edge, calm your body and soul with some great relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga or breathing exercises.

Become your own health hero.

If a colonoscopy is needed? Step up, schedule the procedure and feel like a real hero knowing you conquered your fears and took action to protect your health and happiness!

If you found this helpful and want to see more, join Dr. Nandi's newsletter Health Hero community!

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Partha Nandi

Partha Nandi M.D., F.A.C.P is the creator and host of the medical lifestyle television show, “Ask Dr. Nandi”.

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Betty Mathis Rodriguez
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Betty Mathis Rodriguez

This is so very true !! Several years ago. , they did find cancerous pollups and removed 4 or 5 !!! Getting ready to have another one !! The part I don’t like the most is the preparation , the night before,, drinking the gallon of fluid !!! But, it is very important to have them !! Lost my Dad because he didn’t have a colonoscopy !!! It was way too far gone !!! He passed away 2 years later !!! Please don’t put it off !!! 😞😥

Eula
Guest
Eula

It is very easy I had done nothing to be afraid of good for your health

Vickie Cipparuolo
Member

A colonoscopy saved my life. The hardest part is the prep!!! As for the actual procedure you don’t feel it at all. I had colon cancer it was caught at stage 1. I din’t have to have chemo or radiation. So please get one!!!

Krysha
Guest
Krysha

I had the same experience. It’s so important to get one.

Ruth E Barnhart
Guest
Ruth E Barnhart

I have had 3 in my life they are so easy
The day before the procedure keep plenty of reading materials in the bathroom you are going to spend a lot of time there. The first one was hard because I was so scared. By the third one it was a old hat and I spent a lot of time in the waiting room telling newbies they had nothing to worry about.

Ginadevera
Guest
Ginadevera

I love your article Dr.Nandi.Saving the lives of people are really important especially to those who got kids.As we all know that kids need support from their parents,so we need to take care of ourselves for the sake of our children.And this is a good reminder for all of us.But is there any something we need to know to avoid this kind of illness?

Tiffany Newsome
Guest
Tiffany Newsome

Great to know. I never once considered getting a colonoscopy. I have always thought I was too young and did not need one.

Margaret Graham
Guest
Margaret Graham

Thankyou excellent information.

Darlene Cole
Guest
Darlene Cole

I’VE HAD SEVERAL COLONOSCOPIES,I DON’T FEAR THEM BUT THE PREP IS BRUTAL BECAUSE I DEAL WITH SEVERAL COLON ISSUES..THIS IS A GREAT AND MUCH NEEDED ARTICLE..THANK YOU.. I’M TRYING TO GET MYSELF TO THE POINT THAT I REMEMBER THE PREP IS ESSENTIAL AND FLEETING.. PEACE AND LOVE..

Ginette
Member

I have a colonoscopy every 5 yrs and the intervention itself is harmless, I use the sedation before, and that goes very well, no pain, it’s done in a very short period!
The thing that I don’t like is the preparation beforehand, it’s yukky tasting and makes me feel nauseated, after this just have to stay close to the toilet, because you have to empty your intestinal system! On the overall, it’s not that incommodating

Sherryramlogan
Member

Dr Nandi…thanks for sharing this great article…I saw people did gascoscopy and colonoscopy and they looked a little uncomfortable but they said it was not painful….we have to do what’s necessary for our health, namaste bhai….

Teresa brooks
Guest
Teresa brooks

I was scared,but the procedure was bad.they put me out like a light.It was the solution I had too drink that was rough.its nasty tasting and so dang much.My question is if we HAVE TOO DRINK it why can’t they make it taste a little bit better

Sherry Meacham
Guest
Sherry Meacham

Hello, thanks for your information. Always had fears. Maybe now I will think more about it. Again thank you.🦋

Pat K.
Guest
Pat K.

Because everyone has been so negative, I felt I should write and tell you my positive story. My father had colon cancer, and he is clear now, they caught it in time when he went for his colonoscopy. My first endoscopy and colonoscopy were done under a light anesthetic that went into my iv. I got to watch the monitor for both, and found it very interesting. I watched as the Dr. removed 4 polyps from my colon, yet I didn’t feel a thing while he was doing it! I saw the pits of diverticulitis. 3 years later… I just went to have both an endoscopy and colonoscopy 2 months ago. This time my endoscopy showed the start of gastritis at the top of my stomach. If not treated, that can turn to throat cancer which to me, is the most painful way to die. I am being treated and monitored for that now. I also had a colonoscopy under general anesthetic, and had only 1 polyp removed this time. I go back again in 5 years now. I am grateful for these tests! If the polyps were left to grow on their own, they would have eventually turned to cancer. Now to me, THAT is what is terrifying, not the colonoscopy. If you don’t pass the FIT test, then be an adult and go to your colonoscopy, it just may save your life!!!!

Linda Crockett
Guest
Linda Crockett

I totally disagree Dr Nandi I had a colon scope 13 months ago and the Doctor that did it Rabin too a blockage and rather than backing out and get someone more qualified are at the very lest talk to my family and let them know and get permission to go ahead with it are call in someone more qualified but no he just hit the blockage full force and ripped my colon and whe the qualified doctor came in to it there wasn’t a lot he could do I have been on life-support six times and will never be able to get very far from a bathroom because when I need to go I have only about two minutes before it’s to late no matter where I am so I just can’t go any where not even to my nephew’s funeral 😢It was a graveside but there wasn’t a bathroom I could have gotten too . This happened the first part of April and my doctors thought they needed to talk to me about hospice in October at that time I couldn’t even turn over bye my self in bed my husband made very good money at his line of work but he stayed with me all except when he would come home and sleep a little bit but always had someone with me at the hospital because he dang sure didn’t trust the medical staff. Since I have been home I have had to go back several times and been on life support I don’t know how many times are for how long !!!! And still don’t know when I go to sleep if I will wake up so I fight sleep subconsciously. I’m on CPN now maybe for the rest of my life. And have 2 pick lines. So a colonoscopy is not as safe as you would like us to think it is . Linda Crockett

Shawnette
Guest
Shawnette

My dad pass away from colon cancer it’s a horrible illness. He was skin and bone before he pass also he was neglectful and in doubt.

Angeliki Anastasia
Member

All Doctors perform miracles!! They are Angels on Earth! Cancer, what a terrifying killer!!! All my family died from this very ugly, mean monster! My beautiful father, my gorgeous sister and many more!! My sister died from stage 4 colon cancer! My mom at 85 had colon cancer and she is a remarkable survivor! When a person is elderly the cancer cells do not multiply fast! Everyone including myself, we absolutely need a colonoscopy just like Dr. Nandi advised! I A colonoscopy is a scary procedure for all the reasons Dr. Nandi described!! I never knew there was no pain during this procedure!! Thank you Dr. Nandi for your miraculous advice!!!🙏🙏🙏

Cheryl
Guest
Cheryl

I have a colonoscopy 2 yrs ago. The doctor just told me he is going to do the procedure in finding where the bleeding can be found that causes my hemoglobin to drop down to 8. I was transfused 500 cc blood and There was no fear i felt about it to be done early morning the next day. To God be the glory i was discharged in the afternoon on the 6th day i was confined at the hospital. I was diagnosed and treated right and my hemoglobin rise to 11..

Wendy
Guest
Wendy

Will, I just had a colonoscopy and the out come left my bladder and rectum in pain. I had one before and had no complications. Went for a follow up and my Doctor reassured me it wasn’t from the colonoscopy. I beg to differ. I went there healthy and came out sick. My new doctor wanted me to get this done. I should of listen to my gut feeling and now i live with pain. He assumed that it was something else and prescribed antibiotics not once but three times this led into shutting down my immune system. Then having a hard time with my bladder and bowels. I cry every day and it has changed me and my way of
a healthy life. Warning people: When you go for a colonoscopy you will have to sign a waiver if there is complications and they aren’t liable. SO YOU SIGN YOUR LIFE AWAY LIKE I DID. SO ASK QUESTIONS AND IF YOU DON’T THE DR. WILL ASSUME YOU ARE OK WITH THE PROCEDURE.

IN PAIN

Mary Duvall
Guest
Mary Duvall

I have had a colonoscopy and endoscopy because my Dr that I found is awesome and wanted to find out why I am extremely anemic. I remember talking with the nurse about something other than the procedure. I knew they were going to put the anesthesia in my I V and I had asked when going to do it my nurse said we’re done. Endoscopy I remember the black piece for me to hold in my mouth the next thing I know it’s gone. Thankfully both results was fine.

Robina fazal
Member

Hi.Doc..Nanďi.. 💖👑💐First time hearing about..colonoscopy…Nice article to have it treated with courage and will power…as our own health hero.as you explained in detail colon..cancer..This era is really so hilarious.. dangerous . diseases we never heard about are spreading due to different reasons..not only genetic .because of stress..unhealthy food intake..bad and in healthy ways and living styles..e.t.c..we should have twice a year some important blood tests…according to the advice of the doctor.. make our selves happy..live healthy and relaxed life ..simple..eat well..exercise..do yoga..good food intake and if any symptoms do occur consult the doctor as soon as possible.or if not obvious symptoms..any pain..fatigue..stress or any kind of physical or mental stress..drowsiness..weakness..can’t been able to do normal works easily..get in touch as soon as possible with the physician…Lastly.. live a active life..do healthy activities.. drink water more..proper solid..high energy foods not with artificial flavours..but the foods should be in natural eatables..fruits..vegetables.. milk..yougurt …dry fruits..preferably chicken than meat ..fresh juices.. salads..green tea.citrus ..and a lot more like that health managing foods..and diets..that can build up your immune system against harmful diseases.. and their effects..love your self.. smile a lot..be active…lead a healthy happy life..and spread love and affection to other hearts…Life will be worth living..although we can’t predict about health or death.. But we should try to live a life with out stress with happy moods..and positive and constructive works.. God’s help care and love is for all..May we be blessed by happy health life..Amen

Monicakrogh
Member

If the first colonoscopy went like mine ….I wouldn’t get another one. First the Golytely ….wasn’t sure if to piuk or poop. Spent the evening and most of the night in The bathroom. The aesthetic did no take so I was awake at all time and when I could not endure pain I asked MD to stop. So he took me to another room where they inflated my colon with air for about 30 min.and they took an MRI that lasted forever (I’m cloustrofobic). They let me go home and 1 hour later I was pooping g my heart out for 2 days so bad they performed a stool test . I had to wear diapers for 4 days. Results : “is all ok”. I was 50 at the time. Now is coming back and ….I’m not in terror. I’m inSUPER TERROR.

RebelJim Allen III
Guest
RebelJim Allen III

Never heard of such a terrible issue. Wow!

PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU
Guest
PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU

THANK YOU

PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU
Guest
PRABHAKAR RAJARAPU

YES YOU ARE RIGHT AMEN