There’s nothing like starting off the day with a bottle of contrast! All part of a Crohnie’s complete breakfast 😉
A computerized tomography (CT) scan has a variety of uses when you have Crohn’s Disease. A series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body create cross-sectional images of your bones, blood vessels, tissues, organs, and, of course, your digestive system. These images can help provide a more in-depth view for your doctor to get a better idea of what is happening inside your body than a regular X-ray. Some CT scans will require you to receive the contrast through an IV, and some may even require a double contrast where you will also need to drink a contrast solution.
A CT scan has many uses, but it’s particularly well-suited to quickly examine people who may have internal injuries from car accidents or other types of trauma. A CT scan can be used to visualize nearly all parts of the body and is used to diagnose disease or injury as well as to plan medical, surgical or radiation treatment.
When you’re sitting in a waiting room, timing each cup you need to drink and maybe even trying to throw up, it can be hard to find a way to stay positive. If you’re scheduled for your first CT scan and not quite sure what to expect, here’s some tips from us gals at Charmed Crohn’s Life to help you make it through in the best shape possible!
*Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It’s harder to get an IV in when you’re dehydrated so be sure to pump yourself full of water in the days prior to your scan
*Wear comfortable, loose clothing
Keeping your clothing loose will be helpful if you tend to have problems with bloating when drinking large amounts of liquid, and will also help speed things up if you are required to remove any articles of clothing. Some radiology departments will require you to remove your clothing and wear a hospital gown, and some may only require you to remove your bra if it contains underwire.
In the interest of speeding things up, it’s also helpful to leave the jewelry and all things metal at home.
*Request ice and a straw
These drinks taste GROSS and can be hard to take down. Sipping your drink nice and slow with ice and a straw can help make it easier to keep going. Some hospitals may give you a cup with ice and a straw to get you started, but if they don’t, see if you can request them. Some offices may have different flavors and will allow you to choose one to put in your drink. A doctor’s office can be intimidating when they have set procedures, but if you think it might help you, then don’t be shy – ask for anything that might help!
*Be prepared for new sensations
With a new procedure comes new experiences and sensations. Not all disclosures, radiologists, technicians, nurses, etc. will give you a heads up about every weird feeling you experience. Not to worry…we got you covered 😉
The drinks you might be given during a CT scan are gross. Be prepared to make plenty of faces. Not all drinks are created equal…the Barium solution given prior to an MRI or CT Enterography is thicker and tastes way worse.
Even if you’re only receiving your contrast through an IV, you might experience a strange taste in your mouth.
When the contrast solution is injected into your IV, your whole body might become warm. You might feel like you’re peeing your pants, but don’t worry, you’re not!
*Arrange a ride home
If you think you might have troubles with nausea, plan on bringing someone with you to give you a ride home, especially if you will need to travel a bit to reach the hospital for your appointment. I always experience varying levels of nausea after a CT scan, and there have been many where I was glad I wasn’t the one driving!
*Get that taste out quickly
Before your CT scan begins, you will be required to keep your system nice and clear by sticking to clear liquids only. Even if you have a sweet tooth, the Crystal Lite flavored drinks may have turned you off to anything sweet! Stash a water bottle, some gum (cinnamon is my fave!), or even some hard candy in your purse for right after the procedure is over – it’ll help get the taste out of your mouth while you’re in transit to get some real food, if you’re feeling up to it.
It takes more willpower than you think to force yourself to drink yet another oh so ‘tasty’ drink! Looking forward to treating yourself with one of your favorite things at the end can give you an extra boost to keep on chugging!
*Bonus Tip: For the Kiddos!
If your child will be the one receiving the CT scan and will need to be drinking a contrast solution, we suggest bringing some silly straws or even some stickers with encouraging messages to give to your child for reaching certain drinking goals to give them a boost to keep going!
We’d love to hear your tips & tricks to surviving a CT scan!