Have you been scheduled for a colonoscopy? Preparing for the procedure is going to be a process in itself, so pay close attention to what you need to do and get ready for the big day. While this may seem like a time-consuming procedure, keep in mind that while inconvenient, a colonoscopy is vital for your continued good health. This is the best way for a doctor to take a close look at part of your digestive system that sees a lot of action every day, and is often ignored when consulting a physician. Let’s skip the pleasantries and go straight to the preparation process.
You may be asking yourself, “Why go through this drawn-out exhaustive process to clear my colon?” In order for your doctor to properly examine your colon, it must be completely empty and clean. This means a liquid diet before the examination day and using strong laxatives hours before the procedure. The better you prepare for your procedure, the less likely you’ll be doing this again for another decade.
For the days leading up to the procedure, you’ll want to be very mindful of what you’re eating. Don’t eat anything fibrous or fatty, like heavy meats or greens. Focus on carbs like pasta, and lean proteins like chicken or fish. The day before your procedure, you should be focusing on mostly clear liquids – soups and sports drinks – avoiding milk and murky liquids, like coffee.
Go shopping and get the necessary supplies recommended by your doctor. This means the prescribed laxatives, liquids for an entire day’s worth of consumption, lean foods that are low in fiber, and wet wipes for your bathroom trips. The night before the exam, you will be taking your laxatives. Clear your schedule and just accept that it will be a long night in and out of the bathroom.
You’ll want a friend or family member to drive you home, because you are forbidden from driving or operating any machinery for an entire 24 hours after your colonoscopy. Much like any surgical procedure, you must fully recover from sedation before any driving or serious decisions are made.
As far as your diet goes, you can start eating fibrous foods again right away. You’ll want to drink plenty of liquids – avoiding alcohol for a bit. Be sure to take any medications your doctor may have prescribed. For the most part, you will just want to rest and avoid any intensive exercise or activity, after all, you’ve had a long 48 hours.
For more information about what to do before and after a colonoscopy, and whether or not it’s time for you to schedule yours, call US Digestive Health at (717) 245-2228.