When your gastroenterologist told you that you need a colonoscopy, you probably weren't exactly overjoyed. However, there's good news: your colonoscopy can be a much smoother and easier procedure than you might think if you prepare for it properly. Your gastroenterologist will give you specific preparation instructions a week or two ahead of the procedure, and to get the best results you should follow them strictly. Read on to learn about how most gastroenterologists tell their patients to prepare for a colonoscopy.
Several days before your colonoscopy is scheduled, you should begin eating a low fiber diet. You should focus on bland foods that can include things like:
- White rice
- White bread
- Clear broth
- Cottage cheese
- Ice cream
You'll need to avoid the following types of foods.
- Whole grains
- Fruit, either dried or raw
The day prior to your scheduled colonoscopy, avoid solid food entirely. You can usually have clear liquids, ice pops, and flavoured gelatin in colours other than red or purple. Whilst your gastroenterologist will give you specific instructions, you'll generally need to avoid all food and liquid starting around 2-6 hours prior to your procedure.
Your gastroenterologist or the local chemist will provide you with sachets of a bowel preparation, which you must mix with water. You'll prepare this mixture starting on the morning of the day before your procedure. Over the course of the day, you'll be drinking several litres of the mixture. It stimulates your bowels and allows you to clean them out fully prior to the colonoscopy.
You'll need to be at home for this process so you can remain close to the toilet as the preparation takes effect. Whilst it's a time consuming process, it's the only effective way to make certain your body is ready for the colonoscopy.
The Day of Your Procedure
On the day of your colonoscopy, shower in the morning. Don't apply any deodorant, lotion, or perfumes, and be sure to remove all of your jewellery. If you wear contact lenses, you may wear them to the appointment, but bring a contact lens case along because you'll need to remove them prior to your procedure. Wear loose-fitting clothing without buttons or zippers.
Whilst you might not exactly enjoy colonoscopy preparation, the rewards can be tremendous. You'll either get the great news that you're colon cancer free, or you'll get detailed information about your condition that allows your gastroenterologist to treat you as effectively as possible.