How To Prepare For A Colonoscopy (Infographic)
5 Useful Tips
Natalie from “The Spoonie Mummy” describes herself as a ‘cup half full kind of girl’ and you can see why: though Natalie lives with multiple chronic illnesses, one of which Crohn’s disease, she remains focused on the bright side of life without sugarcoating the everyday hardships.
A breath of fresh air, Natalie’s blog is an honest look at the complexities of life with chronic illness. From mental health and antidepressants, tips for handling anxiety, TV shows and makeup to slow cooker recipes, The Spoonie Mummy covers a wide variety of topics demonstrating that life with chronic illness is not just about the chronic illness.
Today on the FindMeCure blog Natalie shares with you her top 5 tips to prepare for a colonoscopy. Many people who should have this procedure don’t mostly because they’re afraid of what they have to go through to get ready for it. We know how important it is to receive advice from other people with your condition and how invaluable the insight of someone who speaks from personal experience is.
A colonoscopy is not just an important part of the diagnostic process but also part of the ongoing monitoring of an IBD as it can play a huge role in the prevention of bowel cancer. Doing your part to prepare for the procedure is crucial, even though unpleasant. So, without further ado, here are Natalie’s tips.
WHAT IS A COLONOSCOPY
A colonoscopy is a procedure performed by a gastroenterologist and it is one of the best ways to spot or help prevent complications. An instrument called a colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and advanced along the length of the large bowel, and occasionally into the beginning of the small bowel. The colonoscope transmits pictures of the lining of the bowel so the doctor can check for abnormalities. Biopsies may be taken for testing during the procedure.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A COLONOSCOPY
1 – STOCK UP!
During the prep phase (when you use a special drink provided by the hospital to empty your bowel) you will be told not to eat but you will be advised to keep taking on fluids. Stock up on the ‘safe’ list items -the information that your hospital provides. This usually includes jelly (no red, blue, purple colours), consomme, chicken noodle soup (with the noodles strained out), squash (again nothing red, blue or purple coloured), black tea and black coffee.
2 – THE PREP SOLUTION
There is no getting around the fact that it is disgusting! There are a few different varieties that different hospitals use but you can add squash to make it taste a little better (remember – nothing red, blue or purple coloured) and also, chilling it in the fridge can help.
3 – TAKE THE DAY OFF
The prep tends to start making you go to the toilet within two to three hours. The most comfortable place to be during the prep phase is at home and not far from the bathroom. You will also want to rest for the rest of the day following the procedure so it is good to have the whole day off for that too.
4 – TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
You should make sure you clarify with your doctor what pain relief and medication you will have for your procedure. Generally, you will be sedated for your colonoscopy, you will not be put to sleep. There are sometimes different options and you may know you are more sensitive to one form of sedation for example so it is always best to know exactly what will be happening. A cannula will be inserted before the procedure to administer these drugs.
5 – DON’T BE EMBARRASSED
Obviously, this is easier said than done but honestly, these doctors do so many of these procedures every year.
If you are newly diagnosed with an IBD the reality of living with a chronic illness might sound scary and uncertain. Natalie from The Spoonie Mummy, however, is proof that it’s possible to live a meaningful life with a chronic condition.
We at FindMeCure also want you to know that there are new treatments tested in clinical trials every year and even if you choose not to participate in one, hopefully, the most effective of the drugs in development are going to be available to everyone once they get FDA approval. You can become part of the process by enrolling in a clinical study and be among the first to get access to the most promising new treatments.