The Steps to Colon Prep
You’ve probably heard that the preparation for a colonoscopy is more uncomfortable than the procedure itself. And while it’s not the way you would choose to spend the day, the discomfort is really minor.
Most important, fulfilling all the prep requirements ensures a more accurate screening. A colonoscopy is prescribed to investigate symptoms of an intestinal problem or to screen for colon cancer. The colon must be clear of fecal debris because the camera can’t see through it to find a polyp or a small cancer.
Ask your doctor if you need to adjust or stop taking your medications temporarily. Some medications for diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems have blood-thinning properties that can cause excessive bleeding if a polyp must be removed.
THE DAY BEFORE THE EXAM
Use your colon prep products as directed. They will cause loose, frequent stools and diarrhea, so stay home throughout the process; wear loose clothing and use medicated wipes or soothing products with vitamin E or aloe. Don’t eat solid food. Your colon must be empty to give your doctor a clear view.
Limit your drinks to clear liquids. Certain liquids — especially those that have red, blue or purple dye — can be confused with blood during a colonoscopy and make it appear as though there’s a problem where there isn’t one.
You may not be able to drink anything after midnight. This is done so that if a patient vomits from nausea, he or she won’t inhale fluids during the procedure. Check with your doctor to find out what he or she requires.