Preparing For Your First Colonoscopy: What You Should Know

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When the time comes for you to go in to have your first colonoscopy, you may not know what to expect from the process. While you may think that it is just like any other medical appointment or procedure in which you can just show up at your appointment and be ready to go, this is not the case with a colonoscopy. There is a preparation process to keep in mind, some of which is required by your doctor, and some of which is a good idea to make the whole colonoscopy process go more easily and smoothly for you.

Make Sure You Take the Medication Your Doctor Prescribes

Before your colonoscopy, your doctor will prescribe you a medication to take the day before your procedure. This medication is designed to help clear out your system so that when the doctor performs the colonoscopy, they can actually get a clear picture of the colon without fecal matter and residue blocking their view.

It is very important that you consume the medication as instructed by your doctor. While the liquid medication you have to drink may not be the most pleasant, not following these doctor instructions will mean that you will need to repeat your colonoscopy in the near future because the doctor is unable to see if you have any growths or polyps in your colon.

Eat Sparingly for a Day or Two Before the Procedure

When you have a colonoscopy, the only set rule in regard to eating is that once you begin using the medication (usually the evening before the procedure), you cannot consume solid food and need to stick to clear or semi-clear liquids like water, tea, and broth. However, if you want to make the process easier on yourself, you will want to only eat lightly or sparingly the entire 24 to 48 hours prior to drinking the medication. 

The medication you take before your colonoscopy clears out your intestines and colon of any solid waste and residue that is in your digestive system. Any food you consume immediately before that will be a part of that clearing out and elimination process. Because of this, limiting what you eat and how much you eat in the days before will make the preparation process less uncomfortable and go more smoothly.

Think About Taking The Day Before And The Day Of The Procedure Off From Work

Finally, if you are going to be limiting what you eat the day before your procedure and have to begin the preparation process early in the evening, it may be a good idea to stay home and relax the day before your colonoscopy if you can. That way, your lighter than usual eating will not cause you any work-related problems (like extra grumpiness or frustration) and you can focus on yourself for the day.

Similarly, the day of the procedure, you may be somewhat groggy from the sedative or anesthesia that they give you for the procedure which would affect your work for that day. It is better to allow the anesthesia to wear off naturally and rest at home.

Now that you know a few of the steps you should take to best prepare for your colonoscopy, you can be sure that you are doing everything you can to make the process as easy as possible.