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Prepping for Your First Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy probably won’t be your favorite procedure ever, but it can save your life. Colorectal cancers are the third most common type of cancer affecting men and women in the United States. It’s the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. A colonoscopy is one of the best ways to identify colon cancer.

For a colonoscopy to reveal important information about your health, your colon must be empty. Fasting and strong laxatives are used to clean out your digestive system, so prepping for your first colonoscopy can make you a bit apprehensive. The team at Digestive Disorders Associates can help. We give you all the information you need to successfully prepare for your colonoscopy.  Here’s a preview of what to expect.

Go shopping first

Prior to the start of your colonoscopy prep, it’s a good idea to get a few supplies. These include any laxatives directed by our office. You’ll also need clear drinks, such as sports drinks and light-colored broth, moist wipes, and diaper cream.

Three to four days before

In the days in advance of your procedure, it’s helpful to eat low-fiber foods to start clearing out your colon. White bread, pasta, white rice, peeled fruit and vegetables, lean meat and chicken, and eggs are easy to digest and leave your digestive tract pretty easily. This will make your preparation period much easier.

In these days, avoid seeds, nuts, fatty foods, whole grains, raw vegetables, and whole fruits.  Our office may also encourage you to quit taking certain supplements and prescription medications. Always review with us before halting use of any medications, however.

Fast away

The day prior to your test, we ask that you fast and consume clear liquids only. Hydration is essential though, so drink plenty of lemon-lime sports drinks, apple or white grape juice, and clear chicken broth. Soda water, black coffee, and plain tea (without the addition of cream) are also OK. 

Gelatin and ice pops are the most solid foods you can have, but avoid any that are colored red, purple, or blue. Colored liquids and treats discolor the lining of your colon so it’s harder to see in the colonoscopy. 

You’ll be directed to not drink or consume anything in the few hours prior to the procedure.

Clearing your colon

The afternoon and evening before your colonoscopy is the time to clear out your colon. We give you strong laxatives that force any substances out of your digestive tract. You may not find the solution especially tasty, so make sure it’s chilled when you consume it. You may find it more palatable when taken through a straw and when chased with a suck of a lemon.

You’ll know when the laxative starts working. You’ll have forceful diarrhea that may also include cramping and bloating sensations. Stay close to a bathroom during this prep time. Catch up on your reading or on Netflix. Using moist wipes to clean yourself helps prevent irritation.

You may still be having diarrhea on your way to your colonoscopy appointment. Wear adult diapers if you’re concerned about having an accident and pack a change of clothes.

At Digestive Disorders Associates, we support you every step of the way as you prepare for your first colonoscopy. The process isn’t especially pleasant, but it’s an essential step in preventive care. 

Call today to schedule your colonoscopy or book your appointment online. And if you’re in the process of prepping, contact us with any questions you may have. 

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