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Colonoscopy Patient Tips

Colonoscopy Patient Tips

December 29, 2021
Asma Khapra, MD
Asma Khapra, MD

Gastroenterology

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Well in general, this begins with staying on a clear liquid diet. The day that’s prior to the colonoscopy itself. This is then followed by a laxative preparation, which begins the night before the procedure with another dose that typically follows four to five hours before the procedure itself. We tell people to stop a few medications like blood thinners, anti-inflammatory medicines and iron pills four to five days before the exam as well. The laxative preparation is often a liquid. However, new pill preparations are actually in the works and the preparations actually tend to really evolve over time. This unfortunately is generally the hardest part for people and often the most daunting. So I thought in order to help folks get through their preps, we have a few tips to make it much simpler. One is to keep the liquid in the fridge so it remains cold. This often helps just get it down. Second is sipping the liquid through a straw, which can make it much more tolerable. Ask your doctor if you can actually mix the substance with another liquid drink, such as lemonade or something you like. The day before the procedure, stay well hydrated, drink electrolyte solutions, such as Pedialyte or broth, and that’ll help you keep your hydration robust. Avoid foods with residues, such as nuts, seeds, typically about three days beforehand, as they tend to remain in the colon and can be seen even during the colonoscopy. It’s important to stay near a bathroom when using the preparation, as the laxative effect will tend to occur really quickly. Use a Vaseline or some sort of barrier ointment on your bottom so that you don’t get really raw. As you will continue to have multiple trips to the bathroom over the evening. Buy soft toilet paper. I know this sounds silly, but it’s important. And if you’re really worried, invest in bidet or a toilet seat with a waterjet for cleaning purposes and to protect your bottom. Now, remember to drink the entire preparation. Even if you think you’re clean, you’re likely not clean enough. And the more clean your colon is, the better colonoscopy will be performed. Now, remember you are doing all of these things to save your life and to prevent colon cancer.