Colonoscopies & Cosmetics

Hi, all!

Having reached the magical age of 50, I am scheduled for my first ever colonoscopy. The information/prep package I was given says I should not wear make-up or nail polish. I mentioned this to a friend of mine, and asked if he knew why nail polish wasn’t allowed. He didn’t, and said he would ask his neighbor, Dee, who works for a gastroentologist (this is what I actually expected from him). Well, the word back from Dee is that she doesn’t know why, some doctors permit it, some don’t, but none (she knows) permit gel nails.

This information caused me to go :eek: . I’ve been wearing gel nails for around twelve years now. Well, the info I have does not address gel nails, so I am not going to worry about it. But it does bring me back to the no nail polish question. Does anyone know why nail polish is discouraged? Aside from just wanting to know out of curiosity, here’s my problem: I am scheduled to get my nails done two days before my procedure (my nail appointment is next Wednesday, my colonoscopy is next Friday). Foregoing nail polish is not a problem; I actually haven’t worn polish on my finger nails in over a year. What I have worn is colored gel. So, can/should I get my nails done with bright pink gel as planned? Would a french maincure be a better choice (white gel on the tips, sheer pink gel on the rest of the nail)? Or should I just go with the basic clear gel, and polish my nails after the procedure is done? I suppose this last is the most sensible choice, but I really, really would like to know the whys and wherefores of the whole thing. Can anyone help?

Is there some reason you can’t just postpone your manicure until after the colonoscopy? I’m having trouble seeing why a minor cosmetic procedure is so important that it can’t be put off until after the important medical procedure that prohibits it.

Nail polish fouls up the blood oxygen sensor. That’s the little clip - it looks like a large clothespin - that goes over the tip of a finger. It uses light to determine how much oxygen your blood is carrying. Nail polish (or gel nails) will mess up that light transmission, giving a false reading on the meter.

KCB615: Thanks. I’ve never had/used/been subjected to(?) one of those sensors, and would have had no clue as to how they work. I guess I’d better call the doctor’s office Monday morning and see what their preference is.

jayjay: As I mentioned, I’ve been wearing gel nails for years. I’ve got the gel overcoat on my nails right now; if the doctor’s office says I need to get rid of it, I’ll keep the Wednesday appointment so my nail tech can file the gel off, then make another appointment next week to have new gel put on. I didn’t mean to whine about how the medical procedure was interfering with the cosmetic one. I wanted to know “the straight dope” :wink: so I would know what to do about my nails so that the medical procedure was not jeopardized or compromised.

Nail polish, lipstick, heavy foundation, etc., also mask the visual signs of low blood oxygen – bluish tint to lips and nails, pale skin, etc.

This is pretty much what my semi-educated guess was as to why make-up and nail polish are not permitted. And if this is the sole reason, then clear polish or gel ought to be okay. But as I said, I will call the doctor’s office on Monday to see what they prefer that I do. Thanks for replying.

As long as you’re calling the office, you could maybe ask them if it would be okay if you could get all but one or two nails done and leave those ‘blank.’

While nail polish will mess up the reading, henna on the fingernails will not.

You can ask them to put the sensor on your toe or earlobe if you can’t bear to give up your gel nails. Both work.

Thanks, I will keep this in mind.

Geez, though, I hope I haven’t come off as a prima donna. Sure, I’ve got my share of vanity, but I do realize that my health comes before having my nails look nice. Even if it were as easy to go to the medical appointment “bare-nailed” as it is to go bare-faced, I’d still want to know why, just to know. As it is, if I need to get the gel filed off this week and new gel applied next week, well, it’s an incomvenience, but only a minor one. And no one ever said life is convenient, right?

So thank you to all who responed. I really appreciate the info.

I do apologize for my tone…I completely misread your tone in the OP.

Yes, ask if they can wrap the sensor probe around your toe. I don’t see why that should hinder the procedure in any way. They should get the same readings unless you have some sort of major circulation problem.