Here’s what you need to know about colonoscopies in Hong Kong!
Do I have to be sedated? Will it hurt? What do I need to do for preparation? These are all questions that might go through your head when thinking about getting a colonoscopy done in Hong Kong. We’ll answer them below, so keep reading!
What is a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure to diagnose and treat issues related to the large intestine. A colonoscopy is when a small camera, called an endoscope, is inserted into your colon – through your anus – to check if you have signs of cancer or other potential issues.
As well as checking what your colon, or large intestine, looks like, it’s possible to remove problem polyps during the procedure. If the doctor sees something abnormal, it can usually be removed and then sent for testing to check for cancer.
Admittedly, it doesn’t sound like the most pleasant experience, but if you’re ever been for colonic irrigation, then it apparently doesn’t feel any more awkward than this.
Sure, you’ll feel strange having a doctor poke around your backside, but it’s for a good cause. Having regular colonoscopies after the age of 50 could detect early-stage cancer and potentially save your life.
Why would I need a colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy can be useful for diagnosing many medical issues, not just cancer screening.
If you visit a doctor with issues such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in your poo
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhea
And other digestive issues you might experience.
By checking your large intestine when you report these issues, problems may be found or it could simply rule out causes.
When should I consider doing a colonoscopy?
In terms of cancer screening, it’s recommended that you start regular colonoscopies after the age of 50.
The exam is looking for small growths, known as polyps, in your colon. Although not always malignant, or cancerous, they can become cancer so it’s best they’re found and removed early.
If no abnormalities are found in your first screening, you should get another one ten years later, and if there were issues you’ll probably be advised by your doctor to go back in 5 years or so.
What experience will I have as a colonoscopy patient in Hong Kong?
Having a colonoscopy in Hong Kong shouldn’t be dissimilar to anywhere else in the world where you may have had one done.
Your doctor and their team will do everything they can to make you feel comfortable.
The first question that we had, and you probably want to be answered too, is if a colonoscopy hurts.
You’ll be sedated during the procedure. It’ll not be as strong as a general anesthetic, so you’ll be awake but shouldn’t be able to feel anything. An anesthetist will be present for this.
There may be an option for lighter sedation that doesn’t require an anesthetist there, but this might be a little more uncomfortable. Your doctor will go through your options with you.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you have about the procedure. Having anything medically inserted into your body can be stressful, but choosing the right clinic and the right doctor will have a hugely beneficial effect on your colonoscopy experience in Hong Kong.
Colonoscopy preparation – what can I do?
There are going to be a few steps you need to take to prepare for your colonoscopy. They’re pretty standard, and we’ll go through them here, but make sure you follow your doctor’s specific requests, too.
If you take any medications, talk to your doctor about this because you may need to do something different for a day or two.
Three days before – colonoscopy preparation
You’ll need to change your diet a little as you prepare for your colonoscopy. This means you need to stop eating fiber – no more veggies or fruits, sorry! Fiber can get in the way when the doctor is checking out your insides.
The day and night before – colonoscopy preparation
For the whole day before, you’re probably going to be told you’re on a liquids-only diet.
Then – this bit isn’t the nicest in the world – you need to start taking laxatives.
Exactly how much laxative you need to take and when you need to take it will vary. Do exactly as your doctor tells you – there’s no need to take extra laxatives, just follow their guidelines.
You may end up needing to clear your bowels quite a few times during the night. It’s worth being prepared for this with extra loo roll, the soft, gentle kind is probably going to be a great help!
Nil by mouth is usually the doctor’s orders for six hours before your colonoscopy. Again, confirm this with your doctor because you don’t want to have your morning tea and ruin the procedure!
What happens during the colonoscopy procedure?
There are many things that will be the same for every patient getting a colonoscopy, but if your experience feels a little different, it’s ok to ask the nurse or doctor why.
Generally, you’ll turn up at the clinic and they’ll check you in, confirming your ID, insurance details, you’ll be talked through consent forms that you need to sign, and so on.
Here, we’re going to assume that you’re getting the heavier sedation since this is more common. The steps of the colonoscopy will likely be:
- You’ll probably be given additional oxygen through tubes that sit at the bottom of your nose
- Wires and other instruments will be attached to check your heart rate, breathing, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure
- A needle, known as a catheter, will be inserted into the back of your hand, normally, so the sedatives can be injected
- Once sedated, the doctor will use a camera on a wire, called an endoscope, and insert it into your anus
- The camera will normally start at the far end of your large intestine and work its way out, sometimes with water being sent in to clear away any poo that’s still there
- Air will also be pumped into you so the doctor can get a good view
- If any abnormalities are found, they will be dealt with depending on what they are – tissue samples may be taken or polyps removed for example
The best part of all of that is that you’re going to sleep through most of it! Ok, it’s not really that scary, but we’d much rather not be aware of all of that.
Once the exam is done, the anesthetist will slowly bring you back around, within about 10-15 minutes.
What do I need to do after my colonoscopy?
You’ll probably feel sleepy after the sedation and shouldn’t drive or do anything too strenuous for 24 hours.
Drinking alcohol shouldn’t be on the agenda until a full day after – mainly because it doesn’t mix well with the sedatives you’ll have been given.
In terms of food, be gentle on your bowels for a day or two, you’ve just spent a day and night clearing them out entirely! Avoid things like:
- Fruits and vegetables and anything high in fiber – bring it back to your diet slowly
- Spice – think how your body reacts to a hot curry or burrito at the best of times!
- Fatty foods – butter, oils, and pork, and red meat can wait another day
Since you’ve been pumped full of gas – air, not petrol – you’ll possibly feel bloated after your procedure. It should subside pretty quick and don’t be surprised at a few choice farts slipping out.
Depending on the outcome of your colonoscopy, you might need some follow-up with your doctor. Whatever’s next, it’s important that you listen to your results and take the appropriate next steps.
This might mean further testing, treatment for cancer or potential cancer, or even a simple change in diet.
When colon cancer is detected early, it has a 91% survival rate within the next five years, which is a pretty good reason to have a regular colonoscopy to catch these things!
Where can I get a colonoscopy in Hong Kong?
We’d not hesitate to recommend going to Hong Kong Vascular Surgery Centre for your initial appointment. Their facility is clean and modern with a comfy touch that’s not overly clinical. When we’ve visited, it’s not felt stuffy or too formal like some doctors’ offices can be.
The clinic is in Jordan, between Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui, with Austin and Jordan being the two closest MRT stations. You can contact them via email@example.com or +852 6619-6286.
How often should I have a colonoscopy?
Medical professionals recommend that you should start having colonoscopies every ten years once you’re over 50 for cancer screening.
If you have other medical issues, you may need to have a colonoscopy for other reasons and these may need to be more frequent. Your doctor will be able to give your specifics in this case.
Had a colonoscopy that had abnormal results? You might be advised to have another procedure within five years instead.
The same is true if you’ve had colorectal cancer before – colonoscopies maybe a slightly more regular occurrence to keep on top of any polyps or other things going on down (up?) there.
FAQs about colonoscopy in Hong Kong
When a camera is going up your bum, you’ve got questions, right?
How much does a colonoscopy cost in Hong Kong?
There are a few different factors to take into consideration when looking at pricing. As a general guide, you can expect to pay around $15,000 – $20,000. Check with your medical insurance provider if it’s part of your package.
Can you go to a colonoscopy alone?
You don’t need to take anyone with you for a colonoscopy if you don’t want to. It’s perfectly normal to go to your appointment on your own. You will feel a bit tired and groggy when you come round from your sedation, so you shouldn’t drive a car for 24 hours – if you go to your appointment alone then be ready to get a taxi home or arrange for someone to collect you from the clinic.
Can I book a colonoscopy near me in Hong Kong?
Yes, booking a colonoscopy is simple and can be done with a phone call. The procedure should be completed within 30 minutes. Try making a booking at Hong Kong Vascular Surgery Centre @ Shop 4, G/F, Fu Lee Commercial Building, 14-20 Pilkem Street, Jordan.
However, note that before you have the procedure done you will need to have a consultation with the doctor first. This is so they can understand what you want a colonoscopy for and give you the right laxatives and preparation advice ahead of time.
How do I prevent colon cancer?
Sadly, it’s impossible to completely prevent colon cancer, or any other cancer for that matter, at the moment. However, we are aware of the risk factors, so you can aim to reduce them.
Some ways you can modify your behavior include:
– Adding more fruits and vegetables, and whole grains to your diet
– Exercising regularly
– Maintaining a healthy weight – obesity is a risk factor for colon cancer
– Quit smoking
– Reduce your alcohol intake
On top of these lifestyle changes, having your regular colonoscopy is a good way to prevent cancer from forming from polyps that may be present and catching any cancer in its early stages.
If you need a colonoscopy and want to know what it entails, we hope this article has helped. It’s important to take care of your health by getting screened for cancer at the right time in order to prevent any major issues down the road.
Don’t be afraid! A colonoscopy is actually very common these days thanks to its proven benefits for preventing more serious problems like bowel obstruction or advanced cancers. We hope we have helped with our preparation tips and advice on how best to recover afterwards.
Now it’s time to go make a booking!