Attention women: Many of you are delaying or skipping important medical screening tests. Why? According to Dr. Holly Phillips, a primary care physician and a contributing editor at Prevention magazine, the fear of the test itself is often greater than the fear of the results. Big mistake!
Dr. Phillips joined “Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie in sharing tips on making four incredibly important, yet uncomfortable tests a little more bearable.
These tests could save your life if you get over the fear factor:
1. Mammogram: while it can be painful, the test in generally short in duration. There are four different positions to get four different images and each takes about 10 seconds. That’s approximately 40 seconds of discomfort for test results that could save your life. For the sensory sensitive, Phillips suggests topical sprays or creams to lessen the pain.
2. Colonoscopy: most women protest the pre-colonoscopy routine more than the actual test, for which you’re sedated, because you must drink a gallon of a mixture that Dr. Phillips says tastes like “cough syrup mixed with baking soda” to which Guthrie is quick to add “licked off the street.” For those with weak stomachs, pills are available in lieu of the prep drink, but they have been reported to cause kidney problems in some people.
3. MRI: can be a scary experience if you don’t cope well with small spaces because you’re basically confined to small tube. Dr. Phillips suggests asking the technician to play music or a book on tape through the sound system that most machines are equipped with these days.
4. Endoscopy: even though you’ll be sedated during the procedure, if you have a strong gag reflex the idea of a camera tube being inserted down your throat will no doubt induce one. Asking for a topical spray can help alleviate your worrying.
Now that you have some background on these anxiety-inducing tests and Dr. Phillips advice on how to get through them, it’s time to make your appointment!
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