9 tips for a better colonoscopy, as recommended by the specialists themselves.
By hearing the word “colonoscopy,” we get shivers down the spine. Even if it’s something good for our health, this particular procedure is not the most comfortable one. That’s why it needs a lot of preparation.
As the second most common cause of cancer-related fatalities in the US, colorectal malignancies (colon and rectal cancers) are best detected by a colonoscopy, based on the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Your doctor can find precancerous polyps in your colon during a colonoscopy and remove them before they become cancerous. Otherwise, a colonoscopy may save your life.
Now, with the help of the specialists, we managed to enlist some of the best tips for a better colonoscopy:
1. Make the appointment as late in the day as possible
One of the first tips for a better colonoscopy is to consider making the appointment after lunch or even in the afternoon. Why? Well, let’s see.
If your colonoscopy is scheduled for early in the morning, you will likely be told to begin the second half of your preparation in the early hours of the morning, around 3 or 4 a.m., which means you’ll be rushing to the bathroom a lot during the night. Make an afternoon appointment for your colonoscopy if you don’t want to sacrifice a night’s sleep.
If you have the colonoscopy appointment later in the day, you can do the prep in the morning without rushing. Moreover, according to a lot of patients who drank the prep early in the morning, they had a smoother experience with no abdominal pain and a very good night’s sleep.
2. Consider changing your diet five days prior
This is probably one of the best tips for a better colonoscopy that you wish you’d known earlier! According to doctors, preparation will be simpler if you have less food in your stomach before the flushing treatment starts.
That’s why most of the time it’s recommended to switch your diet by reducing the portions and the fiber intake at least 5 days before the colonoscopy.
If you want to benefit from an easier and less painful procedure, you must avoid eating nuts, bread, cabbage, rice in general, fried or pre-made meals, and, of course, all types of oats and derivates.
3. If you suffer from constipation, make sure you tell your doctor
Believe it or not, around 40% of the adult population suffers from constipation, and because of this, the preparation for the colonoscopy might be a little bit tricky. It’s recommended to tell your doctor if you have issues like this since the standard procedure might not be enough to help you clean out.
Imagine going there thinking you’re all set, and boom, you’ll have to reschedule and re-do the prep all over again. No way! Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your doctor because they’ll give you some constipation pills that’ll help empty your colon.
Miralax is the most recommended medicine, but it’s better to ask first about it and if it’s suitable for you to take it.
4. Two days before start drinking a lot of water
One of the most important tips for a better colonoscopy is to stay as hydrated as possible. When starting their bowel prep, make sure you stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water or other beverages. Reducing the risk of dehydration can be achieved by consuming around eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
However, it’s better to avoid drinking fizzy drinks or certain types of tea. Also, stay away from eating anything red or orange since it could give the appearance that the colon is bleeding and this may lead to a false diagnosis!
5. Stock up on moist wipes
After you ingest some laxatives, you’ll drink more fluids than usual, and you’ll end up going to the bathroom quite a lot. That’s why, among the tips for a better colonoscopy, it’s crucial to stock up on moist wipes.
After a few restroom trips, regular toilet paper could be too rough. Seek out wipes that are wet, medicinal, or that contain vitamin E and aloe. The ingredients present in these products help relieve inflamed skin.
6. Watch out for the health insurance!
This isn’t exactly one of the tips for a better colonoscopy; it’s rather a way of checking if the procedure is fully covered by health insurance. One significant loophole that has emerged lately is that many medical professionals have started charging for procedures when a polyp is discovered and removed since they view these procedures as “diagnostic” as opposed to preventative.
Recently, the government made it clear that individuals cannot be charged by private health insurance for the simple act of having a polyp removed.
7. If laxatives aren’t okay for you, talk to your doctor about alternative preps
One of the major tips for a better colonoscopy is to see if laxatives work for you or not because for some people aren’t exactly…effective. In case they don’t tell your doctor as soon as possible, there are some other alternate preps that you can follow.
Given your age and medical history, your doctor can advise you on the prep kit that will be most effective for you. For those with heart difficulties, kidney disorders, or other medical conditions, some formulations are not advised.
8. Make your prep beverage a little bit tastier
That prep drink for colonoscopy is usually very hard to drink for a lot of people. But these tricks can make it a little better. First, cool it down, as preparation is smoother in a chilled state. Try to sip it as gently as you can, or use a straw.
Following each drink sip, pharmacists advise sucking on lemon slices or menthol candies because they have an acquired taste that isn’t exactly for everybody.
You can also try to improve the taste of these prep drinks by combining them with drinks you already enjoy. Or, experiment with adding powdered soft drink mix or sugar-free water flavorings. Just make sure their color is clear and not any shade of red, blue, or purple; otherwise, your colonoscopy results won’t be accurate.
Moreover, inform your doctor of the circumstances if the prep drink isn’t functioning and you don’t feel the need to use the restroom.
9. Follow a liquid-only diet the day before
Doctors often advise following a liquid-only diet the day prior to the colonoscopy. This is arguably one of the finest tips for a better colonoscopy since, instead of the tasteless and dull water, you can also drink apple juice, teas, bone broths, or even sports drinks. The latter is actually recommended because it contains electrolytes that help you stay hydrated.
The thought of having a colonoscopy could indeed be frightening at any age, but it’s important and perhaps a life-saving procedure. Embracing the chance for routine tests is a decision that empowers and encourages responsible health care.
By following these tips for a better colonoscopy and understanding the significance of early detection of cancer, you will be one step ahead for a better and healthier future.
Next time you consider skipping a colonoscopy, remember its effectiveness in maintaining health. Don’t let fear hold you back, and make that call to make a colonoscopy appointment. Your future self will be very grateful for this choice!
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