Preparing for a Colonoscopy

Photo colonoscopy

 

Preparing for a Colonoscopy

Doctors generally recommend a colonoscopy when the results of your FIT (fecal immunochemical test) are positive. A colonoscopy is mainly administered as a screening for colorectal cancer. A thin, flexible tube, called a colonoscope, is used to look at the inner lining of your large intestine, that is, the rectum and colon.

A colonoscope is a thin, flexible tube that ranges from 48 in. (125 cm) to 72 in. (183 cm) long. A small video camera is attached to the colonoscope, allowing your doctor to take pictures or videos of the large intestine (colon). The purpose of the colonoscope is to examine the entire colon and the lower part of the small intestine.

When you are directed to have a colonoscopy, your doctor will guide you through the process prior to the test. How one prepares for the test may differ slightly from person to person, depending largely on one’s medical history. Below are some of the general steps to be followed while preparing for a colonoscopy.

Cleansing the Bowel

Your bowel needs to be thoroughly cleansed to evaluate its health. To do so, sodium phosphate (NaP) or polyethylene glycol (PEG)cleansers are normally used as a laxative to cleanse the bowel. They come in tablet form, and pull water into the colon to clean it out. Your doctor will tell you what the dosageis and how the drink should be prepared.

Bowel cleansers may cause dehydration, as they lead to fluid loss of 2 to 3 litres. For this reason, you may be required to consume at least a litre of clear fluid the day before colonoscopy, in addition to the bowel cleanser. Some doctors may recommend divided doses of the standard solution, such as having you drink 2 litres the evening before, and 2 litres the morning of the colonoscopy.

Patients older than 55, or those with kidney disease or colitis, face the risk of serious kidney injury, known as acute phosphate nephropathy, from the use of these laxatives.

This solution is to be avoided by patients who are dehydrated or have delayed bowel emptying, and those taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Consult your doctor if you have any of these health issues. Side effects with PEG solutions are rare, but include nausea, nausea with vomiting, pancreatitis, colitis, cardiac dysrhythmia, and abdominal pain.

Supplemental Cleansers

In addition to the primary cleansers NaP or PEG, doctors may order supplemental adjuncts such as magnesium citrate (a liquid) or bisacodyl tablets to the cleansing regimen. These purgative drugs alone cannot sufficiently clean the bowel, but can aid the cleansing process. Sometimes an enema is needed to clean the bowel sufficiently, so that the colonoscopy can be performed.

Medications

If you are on medication for diabetes, heart condition or other diseases, you need to consult your doctor before the test is done.

What to eat before your colonoscopy

Two days before your colonoscopy, you may be asked to eat light meals that include fat-free clear soups, small portions of skinless chicken or turkey, fish, white bread, eggs, plain noodles, and clear liquids.

After breakfast on the day before your examination, you will be limited to a clear liquid diet.

  • You are allowed any of the following:

Broth or bouillon, black tea or coffee (you may have sugar), apple juice, white grape juice, ginger, ale, sprite, water, plain Jell-O (gelatin)

  • You will not be allowed to have any of the following:

Solid foods, including butter, cream, fruit, vegetables, seeds, or nuts. In addition, you must not eat or drink anything that is dark red or purple, such as juices, Jell-O, or popsicles.

The day of your colonoscopy

  • On the morning of the procedure, follow the instructions for your preparation drink.
  • You may have clear liquids until two hours before your procedure.
  • You will be asked to bring a friend or family member to drive you home after your colonoscopy. You will be too sleepy to drive after the procedure. If you do not have a driver, your procedure will be canceled.
  • Ask your doctor whether you should take your normal medications before the procedure. If this is approved, take the medication in the morning, once you have completely cleaned your bowels.
  • Plan to be at the hospital for about three hours.

The test

Colonoscopy may be done in a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital. The test is most often administered by a doctor who works with problems of the digestive system. The doctor may also have an assistant. Some family doctors, internists, and surgeons are also trained to do colonoscopy.

During the test, you may receive pain medicine and a sedative intravenously (IV). These medicines will help you relax and feel sleepy during the test. You may not remember much about the test.

Contact Us

If you would like to get tested for early detection of colorectal cancer, it can be done with a simple test using FIT. Contact Polymedco CDP, LLC. We are the leading manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) kits, and a world leader in fecal blood screening technology, providing a new standard of care with the OC-Auto® product line. Call at 888 638 7757 or email us at tpucci@polymedco.com.

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