Many people get nervous about having a colonoscopy, so we thought it would be good to offer some tips and advice on going through this important procedure. Although you may not be looking forward to undergoing a colonoscopy, it’s no doubt one of the best health preventative measures you can take.
Colonoscopies have proven to be a valuable tool in the fight against colon cancer, which is the third most common type of cancer in men and women. Only a colonoscopy can spot the small polyps that sometimes develop in the bowel before they turn into cancer. So why don’t more people take advantage of this great cancer-detection procedure? Clearly, many people are intimidated by all the preparation needed to clean the bowel for a good exam.
So here are some suggestions to make the whole process go a little smoother.
Alter Your Diet Before the Exam
A few days before the colonoscopy, start eating a low fiber diet to make cleansing your colon easier. This means no whole grains, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, or raw fruits and vegetables.
The day before you colonoscopy, don’t eat solid foods, consume only clear liquids. These include clear broth or bouillon, black coffee or tea, clear soft drinks or sport drinks, clear apple or white grape juice, and Jell-O or popsicles (no red, orange or purple colors allowed).
The day of your colonoscopy, consume clear liquid food only. Plus don’t eat or drink anything two hours before the procedure.
Bowel Prep Methods
It’s best to use the bowel prep method that your doctor’s office recommends. They know what it takes to get a good, thorough exam. One new method gaining popularity is split-dosing. In this method, you take half the prep the night before the colonoscopy and the other half about six hours before the exam. Some doctors believe that it cleans the colon more thoroughly compared to taking all the prep the day before the procedure. Whichever method you use, be sure to follow the instructions exactly.
Some Tips for a Successful Prep
Make sure you pick up the prescription for your colonoscopy bowel prep kit a day or two before your exam and read the instructions carefully. When you are at the drugstore, pick up some medicated wipes and a skin-soothing product in case you need it. When taking the preparation make sure you are home and not far from the bathroom as things can kick in quickly once the prep solution works its way through your system.
Remember that you can have certain clear foods on the day of your exam such as Jell-O (without fruit), Italian ice, Gummy Bears as well as Gatorade and other sports and soft drinks. (However, avoid eating or drinking anything purple, red or orange as this can look like blood to your doctor during the exam.) It’s a good idea to drink extra fluids during your prep as it can help you avoid getting dehydrated.
C’mon, Just Do It
Although a colonoscopy exam can be a little difficult to prepare for, most people enjoy the peace of mind it brings knowing that they have taken such an important step in the fight against colon cancer. So don’t skip your exam – it can be a true lifesaver.