For most people the idea of getting a colonoscopy is not particularly appealing. And while the procedure itself is performed with sedation and is relatively painless, the preparation still puts many people off. Drinking massive amounts of purgative medicine and then spending hours in the bathroom as the body completely cleans itself out is not most people's idea of a good time.
But you shouldn't let unpleasant prep prevent you from getting a colonoscopy. Whether you're having a regular colon cancer screening or you've been having symptoms that need a colonoscopy to check out, you know that it's medically important. What you might not know is that there are some ways that you can make the preparation a little easier. And as an added bonus, the better and more complete your test prep, the more accurate the colonoscopy will be.
Change Your Diet In Advance
Cutting back on foods in general, and heavier foods in particular, can help make the cleansing process a little easier. In the days before your colonoscopy, cut out meats and heavy starches like pasta and potatoes; broths with vegetables are a good choice to keep you satiated as well as hydrated. If you can, switch over to broth completely for the last day or two.
Choose Your Drink Carefully
The preparation that your doctor gives you can vary; you may be given tablets to be taken with clear liquid, powder to be mixed with fluids, or even a pre-mixed drink. No matter what, you'll be instructed to drink large amounts of liquids when you take your medication. Although it can be difficult, be sure to follow your doctor's directions as you can become dehydrated otherwise.
As for what liquid to drink, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, you may associate this drink with your unpleasant experience in the future, so don't use your favorite drink for this. Second, while water is an obvious choice, consider sports drinks. You can lose electrolytes as your colon is emptied, and using a sports drink as your liquid can help replenish them, making you feel better.
Make A Comfortable Bathroom Retreat
Spending hours in the bathroom isn't fun. But you can make it a little better by preparing the room. Get a bunch of reading material together so that you won't be stuck with no mental stimulation; an e-reader is great for this. If you have a tablet or laptop, load up some movies or TV shows that you can watch.
And make sure that the bathroom can really be a retreat. If your home has multiple bathrooms, designate one to be yours for prep night. This way, you won't have to worry that you're keeping someone in your family from using the bathroom or taking a shower. If you have younger kids, have a spouse, friend, or babysitter around to watch them so you don't have to.
Clear your schedule, clear your colon, and go into your colonoscopy with a clear conscience. Remember that the procedure is important for your health, and by taking it seriously and preparing correctly, you're giving yourself the highest chances of having a good colonoscopy.