Most people who have never had a colonoscopy dread the procedure. Most people who have already had one dread the prep.
For the uninitiated, colonoscopies involve a doctor inserting a small camera inside your rectum (and beyond) to check for signs of colon cancer.
Colonoscopy veterans know that the procedure isn’t a big deal. After all, you’re under conscious sedation for the actual colonoscopy and can’t feel anything. However, you’re wide awake for the preparation.
However, if you follow these tips, your prep can be almost as painless as the procedure itself.
Tip Number One: Do the Fast Right
Your doctor needs your insides to be clean, and that usually means not eating anything solid the day before the procedure. But if you start the process earlier, your fast can actually be easier. Opt for lighter meals for three or four days before your colonoscopy.
Tip Number Two: Be Prepared for the Prep
The preparation process involves strong laxatives provided by your physician. There are a variety of drinkable prep solutions that your doctor can give you, and most people agree all of them taste terrible.
Some people try to mask the taste by mixing it with their favorite flavor of a beverage like Gatorade. Others say using your favorite flavor will just ruin that flavor for you because you will always associate it with the terrible taste of the prep solution.
Either way, drink it fast, drink it cold and have a water chaser at the ready.
Tip Number Three: Don’t Make Any Plans
There’s no getting around it, you’re going to spend a lot of quality time in the bathroom.
If you make plans the night before a procedure they may be, uh…interrupted.
Do yourself a favor and stay at home with a collection of your favorite reading material.
Tip Number Four: Get the Right Supplies
Before you drink the prep solution, make a trip to the “baby” aisle at your local drugstore and pick up some diaper cream and wipes.
Tip Number Five: Give Yourself Some Credit
There are many people who avoid getting a colonoscopy altogether.
While going through the less than pleasant parts of the prep, remember that by scheduling your colonoscopy you’ve decided to take control of your health. The procedure is an essential part of regular medical care after the age of 50, and literally saves lives every day by catching colon cancer in its early, treatable stages.
You’d be surprised how much reminding yourself that you’re doing the right thing for your health helps you through the process.