Having a Colonoscopy? Learn How to Make it a Little Easier

Apr 21, 2016 / Health Advice / Oncology

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.

6 Responses

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  1. Posted by Brian P

    They have saved my life!
    My 5th one is next week.
    Prepping is the worst part but you have to do it.
    I noticed that my dosage is much smaller, last time it took me 3 hours to drink it and here is a tip, rinse your mouth out quickly with mouthwash because it nullifies the taste.
    A friend of mine died in 2017, severe blockage, I asked him if he got colonoscopies and he said no. On the lighter side this guy I know started drinking the solution at this kids soccer game, he had never done this before, he had no idea what that stuff does to your body. He spent the next 2 hours in a rest facility there.
    Remember, once you start there is no turning back. I know 2 other people who refuse to get colonoscopies, that isn’t being smart.

    March 3, 2021 7:50 am Reply
  2. Posted by Melissa

    After losing my sweet sister at age 50 as well as a dear friend to colon cancer l take this procedure very serious.
    Although l have a very tender stomach that gets extremely nauseous when hungry and the prep is not fun, the actual procedure is nothing. They put you under so nothing to feel and you wake up hopefully to knowing you don’t have to come back for a long time;) there’s no hangover and now you can go out to nice breakfast?
    Such a relief to have it over with and important to do. It can save your life if there’s any polyps found the dr will remove them during and have biopsies done to see if they were cancerous, as many are.
    I’m a little nervous as l have my next one done next week, it’s been 5 years. Once it’s over trust me you’ll be so glad you did it! Good luck ?

    February 19, 2021 4:40 pm Reply
  3. Posted by Donna

    I love the spa idea, and bought a notebook to write. I told my cats I’d be home more today, and plan to give them some extra attention. A self-care day!

    December 27, 2020 9:32 am Reply
  4. Posted by Jocelyne Durrenberger, DNP

    One of my classmates just completed her Doctorate in Nursing Practice, and her scholarly project was how to increase colonoscopy rates. I suggest we promote this as a spa day – a colonic cleanse, a time to reward yourself with a home facial or pedicure, binge watching a favorite show, or meditating. It’s an important part of keeping us healthy – let’s take it, and make it a day to indulge in our self care!

    May 14, 2016 8:56 pm Reply
  5. Posted by jean wickes

    It really is no big deal. If you feel embarrased, remember the doc has done this many times and needs to get yours done because the next colonoscopy is waiting. I am a curious person and watched the screen the first time. It was amazing – but now I want to wake up after its done. The feeling of relief after the procedure is real. Have it done whenever your doctor suggests you have one.

    April 28, 2016 7:00 pm Reply
  6. Posted by Linda Brunelle

    Great tips! Have one comining up in a couple of weeks. On a high fiber diet so have to cut down a few days before! Still not thrilled about this. ? But it’s such an excellent preventative measure.

    April 26, 2016 8:32 pm Reply

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