Preparation Tips for a Top-Notch Colonoscopy

The colonoscopy is considered the most thorough and effective procedure for detecting and treating colon cancer. Just one exam can offer up to 10 years of protection against the third deadliest cancer in the United States. But despite these promising odds, statistics show that approximately one-third of eligible Americans are not up-to-date on colon cancer screenings. Why? In many cases, it’s because they are apprehensive about the preparation process.

Chalky prep solutions, constant bathroom visits and a clear liquid diet are just a few horror stories you may have heard about colonoscopy prep. And while this process is admittedly not a walk in the park, many patients report afterwards that it wasn’t as bad as they’d anticipated. If you’re concerned about the preparation process for your upcoming colonoscopy, try some of these simple tricks to make it a little more bearable.

  • Ask your doctor about split-dose prep – A split-dose bowel prep involves drinking half of your bowel prep solution the night before your procedure and the other half on exam day. This method is often more palatable for patients and results in a more thorough cleansing of the colon.
  • Treat yourself – Wear your favorite cozy pajamas, load up on magazines and choose a new Netflix series to binge on throughout the day. A little extra pampering can help you maintain a positive attitude while you’re confined to the house.
  • Mix your prep solution with a flavored beverage – Chalky prep solutions taste much better when mixed with Gatorade, Kool-Aid or Crystal Light. Just be sure to avoid liquids that are red or purple, as these can interfere with getting accurate exam results.
  • Pamper your posterior – Flushable toilet wipes are much gentler than standard toilet paper during those frequent bathroom visits.
  • Count on loved ones for support – Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine! Ask your friends and family to keep your spirits lifted with funny texts, phone calls and Facebook messages.

Colonoscopy prep is never fun, but try to think of it as short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. If all goes well during your exam, you won’t need to schedule another one for 10 years. Commit to making your colon prep day a success, and enjoy a future without colon cancer!