Preparing for your colonoscopy

Last updated: May 01, 2014 at 9:26am

Having a colonoscopy is an important step in maintaining your good health and helping ensure you don’t develop colon cancer, a leading cause of death in the U.S. While the procedure itself is simple and straightforward, many people are anxious about the pre-op preparation that’s required. The good news is: It’s not nearly as nerve-racking as it sounds.

Yes, you have to clear your bowels.

This is probably the step that’s most concerning to anyone who’s considering having a colonoscopy performed, but think of it this way: It may take the better part of a day to clear your bowels, but the peace of mind you’ll gain from having the procedure itself can last a lifetime. Isn’t it worth it to have a few hours of inconvenience when you know that ultimately, those few hours could save your life? OK, now that we have some perspective, here’s what’s typically involved:

  • First, avoid the temptation to “cheat” and not complete all the steps necessary to properly prepare; if you take that route, you’ll probably need to have the procedure repeated.
  • On the day before your procedure, you’ll restrict your diet to clear liquids like broth, clear juice, coffee or tea (no milk or cream) and Jell-O®.
  • You’ll be provided with a colon-cleansing preparation – either in liquid or tablet form – to be taken the day prior to your procedure, and you’ll be provided with specific instructions on how to take these preparations properly. There is typically a lot of liquid involved in bowel cleansing. Liquids help clear the bowel, and they also help keep you from becoming dehydrated, so be sure to follow the instructions precisely.

Review your instructions as soon as you receive them.

Read your instructions as soon as you get them so you have plenty of time to ask questions and make sure your calendar is clear the day before your procedure.

Stock up on liquids.

Sure, you can drink water, but as the day wears on, you’ll probably crave some flavor. Having clear juice, broth, Jell-O® and popsicles on hand can help reduce monotony. Avoid items with dark coloring, including blue, purple and red.

Rememeber the Boy Scout motto: “Be prepared.”

Plan to be as close to your bathroom as possible and make sure someone else is available to take care of your kids. Wear loose-fitting clothing including bottoms that are easy to pull up and down. Also have some baby wipes, Vaseline or diaper cream on hand to soothe the area.

Learn more.

As a board-certified specialist in gastroenterology San Antonio practitioner Dr. Dar has more than 30 years’ experience helping men and women lead healthier lives. To learn more about colonoscopy or other GI procedures that can keep you healthier, call and schedule a consultation today.