4 Things to Know Before Your Colonoscopy

Here’s your first piece of information on colonoscopies – you may need one earlier than you think! If you’re unfamiliar, a colonoscopy exam is one of the most efficient ways for your doctor to look for colon polyps, find the source for unusual symptoms, and detect colon cancer.

While it’s recommended to get your first colonoscopy around age 50, it may be different for some. If you have close relatives who have suffered from colon cancer at a young age, you should start colon cancer screening sooner. This increases your chances of catching it early on and reduces your risk of missing a diagnosis of colon cancer later in life.

When the time comes for your colonoscopy, you’ll feel much more at ease if you know what lies ahead. Although it’s an exam many dread, know that most people are under anesthesia and you won’t feel or see anything. Our surgical team at MSA is here for you and happy to share these helpful tips that are good to know before going in for your colonoscopy exam.

1. Don’t forget to stock up on the necessities.

It’s easier to prepare for your upcoming colonoscopy if you start stocking up on necessities at least a week before your procedure.

A few of your must-haves will include:

  • Laxatives or a prescription medication
  • Moist wipes and diaper cream
  • An approved list of low-fiber foods, broths, and sports drinks

Talking with your doctor about your exact needs will reduce stress and help your body get ready. After you schedule the procedure, we’ll be sure to give you full instructions on everything you need and what you can expect before, during, and following the exam.

2. You’ll need to adjust your diet leading up to the exam.

A little less than a week before your procedure, you should start switching your diet to foods that will be easier to pass through your digestive system. This helps to start cleansing your body and makes the exam go much smoother.

You’ll want to start turning to low-fiber foods such as pasta, rice, eggs, and lean meats like chicken and fish. 48 hours before the exam, start eating soft foods like smoothies, soups, and soft fruits such as bananas.

We’ll also be sure to give you a list of foods to avoid beforehand! If you take vitamins or other medications daily, talk with your doctor to decide if it’s okay to continue taking them before your exam.

3. Eat clear foods and stay home the day before

The day before your exam, you’ll be instructed to switch to a liquid-only diet. Water, jello, and apple juice are good options. This helps to eliminate waste from your colon so you have a healthy and successful colonoscopy.

If your colon isn’t clear, you’ll have to end up rescheduling and doing the prep work all over again. It’s better to buckle down and do it right the first time! Afterall, if everything goes well, you won’t have to get another one for quite a few years.

Since you’re adjusting your diet, it’s smart to stay home the day before your procedure as your body may feel a little shaky or weak from not eating the usual amount or type of foods you normally do. You’ll most likely need the bathroom often too as a result of the diet change, so staying home can make it much more comfortable. Use this time to relax, rest up, and get ready for your procedure!

4. The colonoscopy test is shorter than all the prep work.

All this prep work seems tiresome, doesn’t it? The good news is your colonoscopy test doesn’t take nearly as much time, and better yet, you won’t remember a thing! You may feel a little discomfort after the procedure and possibly experience a few common symptoms such as diarrhea, mild cramping, or abdominal swelling. This is mainly due to the air used to inflate the colon during your exam.

As with any procedure, there are risks associated with getting a colonoscopy. However, we’ll be sure to arrange a follow-up appointment where you’ll have the opportunity to see your final test results and have any questions or concerns addressed.

Rest assured, most colonoscopies are quick and painless, and while it’s not a procedure anyone looks forward to, it is necessary to ensure your body is healthy and you stay free of colon cancer. If you need to schedule an upcoming colonoscopy or have any questions regarding the procedure, our team of healthcare professionals would be happy to talk with you. To schedule a consultation, call us at 231-739-9461.