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FutureStarrPrepping for a colonoscopy
It’s not a party, but part of the routine for many of us is a colonoscopy. Here are some low-cost and quick items that can easily save you time when packing.The night before your colonoscopy you’ll take strong laxatives to clear your digestive tract. The method recommended for most people is called split dosing. You’ll drink a half-gallon of liquid laxative in the evening. Then you’ll get up about 6 hours before your appointment to drink another half-gallon.The process isn’t easy, but remind yourself this is a smart step to protect your health. If you prepare well, your doctor will be able to see what they need, and your colonoscopy will go faster. If your results are good, it may be 10 years before you have to go through it again.
If you shudder at the thought of having a colonoscopy to check for hidden colon cancer, chances are it's the "prep" that's stoking your apprehension. It's certainly a major inconvenience: getting ready for the procedure takes much longer — an average of 16 hours, according to one study — than the three hours or so you'll spend at a medical center the day of your colonoscopy. But what's most off-putting is the purgative part: taking a powerful bowel-clearing substance and coping with the resulting diarrhea.
Emptying the contents of the colon is a key requirement for a successful colonoscopy. If the bowel prep isn't up to par, polyps and lesions can be missed; the colonoscopy may take longer (increasing the risk of complications); or the whole process may need to be repeated or rescheduled, meaning another round of bowel prep.Make sure you receive your colonoscopy prep instructions well before your procedure date and read them completely as soon as you get them. This is the time to call your clinician with any questions and to buy the bowel prep she or he has prescribed. Pick up some medicated wipes (for example, Tucks or adult wet wipes with aloe and vitamin E) and a skin-soothing product such as Vaseline or Desitin — you're going to be experiencing high-volume, high-velocity diarrhea. (Source:www.health.harvard.edu)
Don’t drink anything — even water — two hours before your procedure. This step is important to help prevent you from getting sick after your procedure. People who drink right before the procedure risk getting sick and breathing vomit into their lungs. Some hospitals request a longer window without liquids, so follow their instructions.If you begin drinking the colonoscopy prep in the evening, bump up the start time a few hours earlier to prevent running to the toilet all night. Each person’s body is different - for some it works right away, and for others it takes several hours. Give yourself plenty of time for the laxative to start working.
I scheduled the procedure on a Monday, giving me two full days to be gentle with myself. A few days before starting the prep, I switched to a low residual diet. I stocked up on broths, jello, white grape juice, lemon Italian ice and green tea and treated myself to some new books, and I organized my prep. Saturday morning I had a cup of green tea and a lemon Italian ice, and I turned on my heating pad. Last time I was so hungry, so this time I am trying to have a “snack” every few hours and also drink both regular and sparking water (I read somewhere the bubbles help stave off hunger.). I was freezing last time too, so I am keeping a heating pad on the ready! I also realized the more you try to do around the house, the more calories you burn and the hungrier you will be, so yesterday I read, watched TV and napped before the prep started. Once things got moving, I tried to keep in mind that my body was cleansing itself, and I could use this as a reset. (Source: fightcolorectalcancer.org)