Colonoscopy Myth #2: Colonoscopy Prep is Not Easy
Although you may be dreading the bowel prep before your colonoscopy, don’t worry. Easy colonoscopy prep is possible through a clear liquid diet and a “low volume colonoscopy prep.”
A colonoscopy can prevent colon cancer, but only if your doctor can view the entire colon during the procedure. Your responsibility is to clear all debris from the colon so your gastroenterologist can detect and remove precancerous polyps and prevent colon cancer.
Inadequate bowel preparation is responsible for one out of three incomplete colonoscopies, so commit to your colon prep with determination and precision.
For Easy Colonoscopy Prep, Ask for “Low Volume Colonoscopy Prep”
It’s normal to dread or even fear the colonoscopy prep. The first step to calming your fears and having an easy colonoscopy prep is to talk with your doctor. You will not be the first patient to express concerns about colonoscopy preparation. Know that you can request a low volume prep and even ask about “split-dose prepping.” Most modern prep formulations are designed to enhance patient comfort, but talking with your doctor will confirm you get the prep best suited to your preferences and medical needs.
Ask your gastroenterologist about:
How to Easily Prep for a Colonoscopy
Colonoscopy prep doesn’t have to be painful or complex. Make your colonoscopy prep simple and more comfortable. Use this guide on what to eat and what to avoid before a colonoscopy.
A week before the exam
Begin eating a “low-residue diet.” A low-residue diet is low in fiber and will reduce the volume and frequency of bowel movements.
What to eat:
- White bread
- White rice
- Lean chicken
- Cooked or canned fruits and vegetables without seeds
What to avoid:
- Whole grain bread
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Leafy greens
- Fatty meats
A few days before the colonoscopy
Consume clear liquids like beef broth, chicken broth, clear fruit juices, Gatorade, sports drinks, sodas, Jell-O and Italian ice. You can even buy Gummy Bears because they dissolve into clear liquids. Avoid any product that is red, blue or purple because the dye can interfere with your colonoscopy results.
Thoroughly read the instructions in your prep kit. If you have questions, call your doctor’s office.
How to Survive Prep Day
On your prep day (the day before your colonoscopy), you’ll begin drinking the clear liquids you have purchased. Dissolve your “prescription cocktail” of laxatives and salts in your desired liquid, and chill it in the refrigerator. The instructions in the prep kit will tell you when to begin drinking the solution.
Many prep solutions can be divided into two equal doses, known as the “split-dose regimen.” This new method advises you to drink half of the prep solution the evening before the colonoscopy and the remainder of the liquid on the morning of the procedure.
Easy Colonoscopy Prep Drink Tips
To make your colonoscopy prep solution more palatable, here are five tips and tricks:
- Use Gatorade or Crystal Lite in your prep solution (avoid red, blue or purple colors/flavors)
- Chill the solution for several hours and drink it cold
- Use a straw
- Chase the prep with cold water
- Treat yourself with a piece of hard candy after consumption (no red, blue or purple colors/flavors)
Remember, your goal is colon cancer prevention. Failing to cleanse your colon properly will delay testing and force you to dedicate more time to the screening process. If you do not adequately cleanse your bowel, you will have to reschedule and go through the process again.
Schedule Your Colonoscopy Today
The American Cancer Society recommends adults at average risk for colon cancer begin screening at age 45, but certain risk factors may require earlier screening. Most cases of colon cancer are preventable with routine colonoscopies, but one-third of American adults aren’t up-to-date on their screenings. Are you one of them? Call your gastroenterologist to see if you are due for a colonoscopy. And don’t let the prep scare you — modern prep formulas are easier to swallow than ever before.