Tips for an Easier Colonoscopy
Bum, Tush, Duff, Cheeks, Backside, Derrière, Rump, Buttocks, Keister, Behind, Fanny. No matter what you call it, it’s important to get it checked!
The only tried and true way to prevent colon cancer is with a colonoscopy. We know most people are mum about the bum, but if you’re 50 or older (men and women), it’s time to get serious about scheduling an appointment.
The following tips from UnityPoint Health board-certified gastroenterologist, Gary Griglione, MD, can help make your colonoscopy go as smoothly as possible.
Tips for Scheduling Your Appointment
- First, learn to laugh about it! Don’t get us wrong—colon cancer is serious business. But try to have a sense of humor about getting a colonoscopy. It can be an awkward topic, but it’s something we all need to do to stay healthy.
- Don’t dread the prep. We typically instruct most patients to use a low-volume, tasteless prep called Miralax.
- This is an infrequent screening. Remind yourself this isn’t something you have to do very often! For most people, it’s once every 10 years after the age of 50.
- Don’t automatically take two full days off from work. The day before the procedure, many people choose to work a half-day or work a full day, and begin the prep right after work. Talk to your provider, and do whatever is right for you!
Tips for Planning the Procedure
- Stock-up on low-fiber foods. The week before your procedure, head to the grocery store for low-fiber foods. A good general rule is a diet of white-colored foods the week leading up to your colonoscopy. Some examples are rice, pasta, potatoes, white bread and so on.
- Eliminate high-fiber foods. Remove nuts and seeds, beans, raw vegetables and other high-fiber foods from your diet.
Tips for Preparing the Mixture
- Follow prep instructions. Follow your prep instructions closely so you don’t have to do it twice!
- Don’t mix your colonoscopy prep with water. It’s important to get some sugar and electrolytes in your system. We recommend a low-sugar juice, like Mots for Tots, or a sports drink, like Gatorade G2.
- Don’t use your favorite drink as a mixer. After consuming 64 oz. of it, you might not want to drink it again!
- Keep your prep mixture lightly-chilled. Prepare a prep mixture that is lightly chilled, but not ice-cold. Drinking 64 oz. of ice-cold liquid can make you feel very ill.
- Don’t use a prep mixer that is red or purple. These colors can imitate blood in the colon. Avoid drinking any beverages (or eating any popsicles) with these colors for the 24 hours leading up to your screening.
Tips for Consuming the Prep
- Take your time. If you feel ill, take a 30-minute break from drinking the prep mixture.
- Between glasses. Chew gum or suck on hard candies.
- Combat hunger and dehydration. Options like JELLO, popsicles or chicken broth will help.
- Settle in with good reading material. The goal is clean out 6 feet of colon, so you can plan on spending a good deal of time in the bathroom. Have some good reading material on-hand or an iPad ready to keep yourself entertained!
- Keep yourself comfortable. We recommend using personal hygiene wipes and a soothing ointment, like A&D ointment or Vaseline.
A Tip for the Colonoscopy Screening
- Don’t be nervous about the actual procedure. Once you arrive for your appointment, you’re almost done! You’ll be given a mild sedative just prior to the procedure, so you mostly likely will have no memory of the actual screening.
Tips for After the Screening
- Returning to your normal diet. When your colonoscopy is done, you’re able to eat a normal diet again; however, we recommend you avoid greasy and spicy foods for the first day or so.
- Add back healthy bacteria. Adding yogurt to your diet for a couple of days will help repopulate the healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.
- Give yourself a pat on the back! You’ve taken an essential step in maintaining good health. Help us spread the word about the importance of colonoscopy screenings. Colonoscopies prevent colon cancer and save lives. Now, go tell your friends and family!