Colonoscopy Prep Tips

The procedure used in order to diagnose colon cancer is called colonoscopy. Colon cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers and always begins as abnormal growths called polyps. Your doctor can detect and remove these polyps during a colonoscopy, which can reduce the risk of developing cancer. The procedure is quite safe but not many people are comfortable with the idea of being anally probed. While inserting colonoscopy through the large intestine isn't an appealing idea, you can use some colonoscopy prep tips to make things a lot easier for you. Keep reading to learn how to prepare yourself for the procedure.

Colonoscopy Prep Tips

Emptying the contents of the colon is quite important because lesions or polyps may not be visible when the bowel isn't ready and it may also make colonoscopy a bit complicated, often leading to subsequent rounds of bowel prep and colonoscopy. Here are detailed colonoscopy prep tips:

1.  Get Scheduled

You need to adjust your schedule according to the date of your test. You will need to take at least a couple of days off from work –one for the prep and one for the test. You will miss only one day of work if you schedule your test for Monday morning.

2.  Change the Diet

As mentioned already, it is important to clean your digestive tract and that's possible when you eat certain foods and have specific drinks only. Here's more about what you should include in your diet and what you shouldn't.




Things You Can Have

  • Clear broth
  • Clear hard candy
  • Flavored gelatin
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Mineral water
  • Coke, soda pop, ginger ale
  • Tea
  • Apple juice
  • Black coffee
  • Clear sports drinks

Things You Can't Have

  • Red and purple Popsicles
  • Red colored gelatin
  • Red and purple colored candy
  • Soups with vegetables, rice, noodles, or chunks of food
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Breads, grains and rice
  • Meat
  •  Red and purple colored beverages
  • Orange juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Milk
  • Coffee with cream
  • Milkshakes

3.  Take Bowel-Cleaning Liquids

The evening before your colonoscopy, drinking bowel-cleaning liquids will clean your bowel as the name suggests. You can find a liquid easily. Your doctor will recommend something after considering your experience with colon preps and the time of your colonoscopy.

Here are some common bowel-cleaning liquids approved by the American College of Gastroenterology and American Gastroenterological Association. Be sure to confirm with your healthcare provider before using any of the following choices.

  • Polyethylene Glycol: Sold under the brand names of Golytely, Colyte, Trilyte and Nulytely, the preparation will flood your gut with fluid. You have to drink about 4 liters of water at a time.
  • Oral Sodium Phosphate: EZ-Prep, Fleet Phospho-soda and Accu-prep are brand names for oral sodium phosphate that serves as a popular choice for colonoscopy prep. Simply take a couple of small doses of the solution after diluting it in 8-ounce water. Be sure to drink at least 16 ounces of fluid afterwards.
  • Oral Sodium Tablets: OsmoPrep and Visicol are two brand names for oral sodium phosphate tablets. You need to take 20 tablets the evening before your test. You have to take 4 at a time with at least 8 ounces of water. You may take more if needed a few hours before the procedure.
  • OTC Magnesium Citrate: Available over-the-counter in many brands, this works quite well by pulling water directly into your small intestine. You have to drink up to 15 ounces of magnesium citrate several hours before your test and about 15 ounces at least 6 hours before the colonoscopy.

4.  Stay Hydrated

Something you should always bear in mind is that the success of your colonoscopy will also depend on how hydrated you are. So, be sure to drink plenty of liquid before your test, especially when using specific laxative products such as the ones made with sodium phosphate. You have to drink water more often because the use of laxatives will result in water loss. Be sure to avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol before the procedure.

5.  Prepare the Bathroom

You should prepare the bathroom before the test. You can get wet washcloths and use them in place of toilet paper. You also need to keep hemorrhoid products and petroleum jelly handy to deal with anal soreness that often develops after the test.

6.  Be Relaxed

One of the most important colonoscopy prep tips is to relax your nerves. Increased anxiety isn’t going to help and may end up making your test less comfortable. Communicate with your healthcare provider or discuss with someone who have already taken the test.

People's Experience of an Easier Colonoscopy

Making use of certain colonoscopy prep tips helps ease the tension, but it also feels better to listen to other people's experiences. Here's a bit more about what people say about the use of specific colonoscopy prep tips in their test.

"I ate a large breakfast, small lunch, and very small dinner a day before my test. It really helped making my prep a lot easier. I used the Golytely but mixed it with Orange Crystal lightly in a glass to make it tolerable. One more thing –be sure to take plenty of rest and it will all be okay."

"I was worried about drinking the prep, but my doctor made it a lot easier for me by using a Miralax and Gatorade prep. It worked for me and may work for you as well."

"Drink your prep for better results. I had it in lemon flavor and chased it with cold water. In dinner, I had chicken broth. Be sure to stay at home after you've taken your prep because you will visit the bathroom often."

"Be sure to keep loads of baby wipes in your bathroom. After using the prep, you will be paying several visits to the bathroom and the chances are you will have a sore bum at the end of the day. These wipes will definitely help."

"This was my second colonoscopy and I used the prep pills again. I must say you should never overlook the importance of drinking plenty of water after taking the pills because I didn't do it in the first time and ended up dealing with several issues during the procedure. I ate ice pops and Jell-O during the day and it worked great for me."

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