The preparation part of a colonoscopy is probably the most frustrating and time consuming. Three to four days prior to your scheduled procedure, staying home and drinking nothing but fluids is crucial. Without properly preparing for a procedure the doctors performing it cannot accurately gauge the severity or number of problems in the bowels. Having a clear intestine and colon is major, so consuming dark fluids or hard matter is strongly forbidden. Dyes in food can even hinder the final results of the colonoscopy, so take extra care not to consume any artificial colors.
A fluid diet will be necessary for a few days, and going to work or on errands isn’t recommended. A special enema or laxative will be provided by the doctor, as well as special petroleum to soothe the anus. One of such laxatives is called “Golytely”. It is a horrible tasting drink that must be consumed in the amount of 1 gallon. To minimize discomfort simply use wet wipes to cleanse the anus after using the restroom. An 8 ounce glass is prescribed per 10 minutes until the stool becomes clear. Enemas are not used unless the pre-colonoscopy “drink” doesn’t do the job. Constantly using the bathroom does cause a lot of bodily stress and dehydration, so drink plenty of lemonade and water to stay full of electrolytes and H2O. Taking any medications whether they are natural or not is also strongly discouraged. Aspirin can also increase the amount of blood and risks that could occur, so avoid that at all costs.
What To Expect
As with any procedure expect some slight discomfort, and several machines to be hooked up to your body. The doctor will need to tell you each step as he goes along, but you will probably be quite drowsy from the sedatives. Expect to drink more fluids than needed to make up for the dehydration that occurs.
The Day of The Procedure
On the day of the procedure the patient will be placed on a medical bed and given sedatives through an IV machine. The sedative used will vary from patient to patient, but is necessary to relax the body and allow the sphincter to open properly. A blood pressure cuff and heart monitor EKG patches will be placed around the body. This is an important step that is used to monitor everything that is going on to ensure safety and minimize any risks. The procedure doesn’t take more than 2-3 hours unless something dangerous is noticed and needs to be removed immediately. Those with more than one or two polyps will experience longer procedure times. Be prepared to spend the day at the doctor’s office or hospital. Taking the day off from work is needed.
End of the Procedure
The doctor may prescribe nausea reducing medicine to the patient as well as plenty of electrolyte containing fluids afterwards. Don’t be surprised if a drop in weight is noted. Colonoscopy preparation is much easier than it seems and nothing to stress over.