Colorectal cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer in the United States, however, it doesn’t have to remain this status through proactive measures. Regular screenings for individuals aged 45 or older have the potential to prevent at least one-third of deaths attributed to colon cancer. While most people don’t look forward to their regular colonoscopy, taking steps to understand when to prepare and how to make it more bearable can help alleviate your anxiety.
When to Begin Colonoscopy Prep
You will need to begin preparing for your colonoscopy three days before your procedure date. For example, if your colonoscopy is on Thursday, you would begin step one on Monday morning.
- Three days before your colonoscopy: Begin a low-fiber diet three days prior to your colonoscopy, and stop the use of fiber supplements or anti-diarrheal medication. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), including aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, should be stopped prior.
- Two days before your colonoscopy: Maintain a diet of only low-fiber foods for the two days leading up to the procedure.
- On the day before the procedure: Transition to a clear-liquid diet.
- The evening before your colonoscopy: consume half of the prescribed laxative drink to thoroughly cleanse your colon in preparation for the procedure.
- The morning of your colonoscopy: Complete the remaining portion the following morning.
How to Make Your Colonoscopy More Bearable
Talk With Digestive Health Services
First and foremost, talk with your doctor to learn what you can anticipate before, during, and after your procedure. Having a clear understanding of the process can enhance your sense of security and alleviate any concerns you may have regarding your colonoscopy. Ask about the available options for preparation solutions and seek guidance on their proper usage to guarantee that you are fully prepared ahead of your procedure.
Eat Lighter Meals Prior to Prep Day
In the days leading up to your preparation day, adjust your usual meal routine. Opt for a substantial breakfast, followed by a light lunch, and a small dinner in the days preceding your colonoscopy. This approach can contribute to a more comfortable experience on the prep day.
Your Prep Method
Your physician may offer a selection between a prescription solution or an over-the-counter product such as Miralax.
There’s the possibility of following a split dose regimen. In this scenario, you would take half of the preparation solution the night before and the remaining half 5 to 6 hours prior to the procedure.
To improve the taste, consider mixing the prep solution with a sugar-free and low-calorie drink like Crystal Light to make it taste better and easier to swallow.
Preparing for Your Liquid Diet
Prepare by having a supply of clear liquids such as broth, strained chicken soup, Gatorade, and jello in advance of your prep day.
Steer clear of all liquids with red food coloring.
Make a point to stay well-hydrated by consuming plenty of water. This is essential, especially as the prep solution takes effect.
Stay at Home for Prep Day
Do not plan to attend school or work on the day of your colonoscopy prep. The last thing you want is to find yourself rushing (and we do mean rushing) to the bathroom every half hour or even more frequently. It is strongly recommended to spend the day in the privacy and comfort of your own home.
Keep Your Mind Busy
Distract yourself from the discomfort by watching movies or reading a book. Involving yourself in activities you find enjoyable will help time pass more smoothly and alleviate any nervousness. Consider inviting a friend over or keeping your significant other nearby for support and distraction.
Baby Wipes Are a Good Idea
Your bum will thank you!
Take Comfort in Knowing the Worst Is Over
The actual colonoscopy procedure is pain free and a breeze compared to the prep.
In most cases, you can get back to your usual routine the following day. However, in certain circumstances your doctor may alter your activities/diet (such as if a large polyp has been removed).
Seek the necessary medical care for your well-being and reach out to Digestive Health Services at 630-434-9312 to schedule your colon cancer screening in Downers Grove.