A colonoscopy can identify various medical issues affecting the large intestine, including colon cancer. Though some people avoid the procedure because it is uncomfortable, colonoscopies are an important determinant of digestive health. Better understanding the procedure and preparing for it can make the process easier and less concerning.

Plan Your Preparation

When you schedule a colonoscopy with your doctor, you'll most likely get a leaflet or brochure containing preparation instructions. It is important to read the instructions carefully and call your doctor if anything is unclear. Ideally, keep your schedule clear for the day and find someone to accompany you to or at least from the appointment. Having the following items ready at home can make the following hours and days easier:

  • Wipes
  • Diaper cream
  • Low-fiber foods
  • Clear drinks
  • Broths
  • A solution or laxative prescribed by your doctor


Stay Home the Day of Your Colon Prep

It is best to stay home following the colon prep, to ensure you have fast and easy access to a washroom. Your colon must be clear for the procedure, which means your body will require frequent bowel movements throughout the day. You might experience moments when you need to rush to the bathroom immediately.


Modify Your Diet

Another way to prepare for a colonoscopy is to modify your diet a bit. Days before the procedure, begin to cleanse your system. Start consuming foods low in fiber that are easy to digest so they won't stay in your system. Some good choices are fish, eggs, lean chicken, lean meat, rice, pasta, and white bread. You can also eat thoroughly cooked vegetables and peeled and seedless fruits. It's also advisable to avoid taking daily vitamins or supplements. Your doctor can tell you whether you should continue or stop taking prescription medications.


Entertain Yourself

Prepare for the time you must stay home after the procedure. Consider creating a comfortable spot in your home that is near the bathroom, from which you can read, watch movies, or catch up on correspondence.


Drink Fluids

The removal of waste from the colon can lead to dehydration, so it is important to drink a lot of fluids to maintain water and electrolyte levels before and after the colonoscopy. Start drinking fluids days before the procedure, not just the day or night before. Sports drinks can help replenish electrolytes. When the day of the procedure is near, shift to drinking clear liquids exclusively.


Prepare Yourself for a Sleepless Night

Try to be well-rested before the procedure. Following the colon prep, you will likely wake up multiple times in the night with the urge to have a bowel movement. Not only is lack of sleep frustrating, but it can also lower your immune system and leave you susceptible to illness, so ensuring you are caught up on sleep beforehand is essential.


Follow the Instructions

The day before a colonoscopy, a doctor will prescribe a laxative or similar solution you must take before the test to clear your bowels. When it's time to take the solution, follow the instructions carefully. The solution has an unpleasant taste, but avoid adding anything unless instructed, as additives can cause an upset stomach or nausea, or change the way it affects your body.


Fast and Purge

Right before your colonoscopy, you are not allowed to consume any solids. Because of this, you need to stay hydrated. Drink a lot of clear liquids. You may also enjoy some light-colored ice pops and jello. Also, avoid alcoholic drinks and beverages that are not see through, such as milk. Two hours before the colonoscopy, you must stop all food and drink and consume the solution that will clear out your colon.


Prepare Loose Clothes for the Day of the Colonoscopy

On the day of the procedure, prepare comfortable clothes that are loose enough to be easy to wear and remove. After the procedure, you will feel bloated, and tight-fitting clothes may be uncomfortable. It is also a good idea to carry a change of clothes, just in case you have an accident on the way to or from the hospital.


Take Some Time Off Work

Finally, when you're planning to have a colonoscopy, make sure to take some time off work before and after the appointment so you can adequately recover from the procedure. If someone can stay with you after driving you home from the appointment, this is ideal, in case you require assistance. In fact, some healthcare facilities may not let you leave right away if you don't have help.


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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.


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