The decision had been made. We were going to have a baby. We would do our thing, get pregnant and voila baby is born nine months later right? That is until we faced our first roadblock. My blood results were back and I was low in Vitamin D and Iron. So What? You may be thinking, but apparently a normal, healthy 32-year-old with a healthy diet containing red meat isn’t normally this low in iron and again a healthy 32-year-old who spends lots of time outdoors at work and on the weekends apparently shouldn’t be this low in Vitamin D.
The dark and scary news is that this could mean I have stomach problems that could dramatically increase my risk of things like stomach cancer down track if we don’t sort it out, so its time to investigate further and that means an endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure for me, also known as a gastroscopy and colonoscopy. I head straight to see a gastroenterologist and book in my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure as soon as possible so we can get straight back to our goal of trying for a baby.
What is an Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Procedure?
An endoscopy procedure also known as a gastroscopy is a test that allows doctors to look at your stomach and part of your small intestine via your oesophagus. To say I was a little freaked out about a tube being put down my throat was an understatement but rest assured you are sedated and if your lucky like me knocked out altogether so you don’t remember a thing. A colonoscopy procedure looks at your colon aka large intestine and you guessed it, it enters via the other end – your anus.
Endoscopy Cost/Colonoscopy Cost
Hopefully you have private health insurance to help cover your endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure but be aware that not all levels of private health insurance cover these procedures. I was caught out by this as even though I had top level health cover in preparation for obstetrics costs, I had only recently changed my cover level and was told I was not covered for my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure and learnt an expensive lesson. To rectify this, I had to go through a long process of proving that this was not a pre-existing medical condition and show that I had only started going through the blood testing process and the actual endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures after I updated my cover. In the end I got most of my money back but be aware it would have cost me around $2000 per procedure and even with cover you will still have to cough up for your excess and out of pocket expenses which are usually a couple of hundred dollars depending on your excess level.
colonoscopy prep tips
Its super important to follow the colonoscopy prep that your doctor gives you. If you don’t and your bowel is not empty it can make it very hard to conduct the procedure and you may even be sent away to do the colonoscopy prep all over again for another day. Trust me, you do not want to do this twice.
Colonoscopy prep starts a few days before when it’s a good idea to start eating a low fibre diet and definitely avoid things like nuts, grains and seeds.
The day before your Endoscopy and Colonoscopy procedure you need to start full on colonoscopy prep by fasting but can still consume clear drinks such as light-coloured cordials and juices, black tea, clear soup and of course lots of water. During this time, you will start your bowel prep for colonoscopy by preparing and drinking the colonoscopy prep drink that was given to you by your doctor. A few hours before your procedure you will be told to stop drinking as well.
Endoscopy and colonoscopy prep can be uncomfortable but there are some things you can do to make it more bearable.
- Keep hydrated with lots of the allowable liquids to prevent headaches and dehydration during your colonoscopy prep
- Make sure you are at home and dressed comfortably to spend lots of time in the toilet
- Organise some Netflix and books to keep you occupied or just rest on the couch or bed
- Pre-prepare your colonoscopy prep drink and stick it in the fridge to chill as this will make it much nicer to drink
- Free yourself of any responsibilities such as work or children during your colonoscopy prep so you can just relax at home between bowel movements
- Buy some premium toilet paper, the softer the better as things are going to get rough
Foods to Avoid Before Colonoscopy Procedure
Part of your endoscopy and colonoscopy prep will be fasting and avoiding certain foods in the lead up to the procedure. When keeping hydrated, ensure you stick to light coloured drinks and particularly avoid those that are red, blue and purple. You should also avoid things like nuts and grains and generally stick to a low fibre diet in the days leading up to your colonoscopy procedure. Make sure you don’t eat any fruit or vegetable skins or seeds and don’t forget things like popcorn should also be avoided in the lead up to your colonoscopy procedure.
Foods to Eat Before Colonoscopy
It’s really important to stay hydrated during the endoscopy and colonoscopy prep. I had terrible headaches and nausea during the fasting period and really should have tried to drink more fluids. Just make sure they are clear fluids including water, juices, cordial, black tea, clear soup and sports drinks in light colours like yellow. In the lead up week to your colonoscopy procedure you should stick to a low fibre diet such as white bread, pasta and rice, seedless fruit without skin, vegetables without the skin and well cooked, eggs and lean meat such as chicken and fish. Switching to soft foods a couple of days before your colonoscopy procedure may help with the prep when you need to empty your bowel.
Want to know all the gritty details of endoscopy and colonoscopy prep? Click here to read my minute by minute diary of the prep and procedure.