A colonoscopy bowel prep is often the most uncomfortable part of the test, but it doesn’t have to be. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently finalized their updated screening recommendations and they support Colorectal Cancer Screening (CRC) starting at age 45. Colonoscopy is a medical test used to evaluate your colon for pre-cancerous cells, inflammation and polyps. It also evaluates the entire tract from your rectum through your intestine. A major benefit of a colonoscopy is that it is not only a test but also a preventive measure in which your gastroenterologist can remove any cancerous or precancerous polyps that may be found.
For most people, the most unpleasant aspect of colonoscopy is the bowel prep. You might be concerned about being on a clear liquid diet for colonoscopy, hunger, using the bowel cleansing agents or potential adverse reaction to the bowel cleansing agents.
Preparation and knowledge help to make the experience more manageable. Here are several straightforward things you will need to do to prepare and clean out your colon for the test.
Change Your Diet as Prescribed a Few Days Before Your Colonoscopy
Several days before your procedure, avoid low-fiber foods and add high-fiber foods to your diet. Your doctor will let you know which foods you should include and in what timeframe.
Clear Liquids Only 24 Hours Before the Test
You will be advised to avoid consuming all solid foods, including semi-solids like yogurt, 24 hours before your procedure. You will be able to consume clear liquids, such as clear juice, sports drinks, clear broth soup and popsicles.
You will need to avoid liquids that have certain dyes in them, such as anything that is red, blue or dye that breaks down into red. These dyes can coat your colon and can impede your gastroenterologist’s view of your colon.
Stop Taking Certain Medications
If you take blood thinners, your doctor will advise you to stop taking them within a certain number of days before your procedure in order to reduce your risk of bleeding during the colonoscopy. However, if you are at a high risk of developing blood clots, your physician may advise you to continue taking the medication right up to the night before your procedure. Always consult with your gastroenterologist for their recommendations regarding your medications, health history and specific situation.
Drink the Bowel Prep as Directed
You will be asked to drink a specific solution a certain number of hours before your procedure. This liquid encourages your bowels to empty completely so that the doctor can see a clean bowel during the test.
Follow the instructions carefully and drink the entire solution. If instructed to do so, avoid eating and drinking after midnight before your procedure.
Schedule a Colonoscopy If You Are 45 or Older
If you are age 45 or older and you are due for your first colonoscopy, or if you have colon cancer in your family history, you should schedule a consultation with a gastroenterologist. The bowel prep before having a colonoscopy has become easier and more pleasant than in years past. Our experienced specialists will explain how you can incorporate your own preferences to make your colonoscopy bowel prep as simple and palatable as possible.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of the experienced gastroenterologists at Ocean Family Gastroenterology, contact us at 732-281-1590 or complete an appointment request ONLINE.