The preparation required before a colonoscopy is one of the top reasons people avoid going through with the process. Colonoscopy prep involves clearing the colon as thoroughly as possible so that the scope can more clearly look for any signs of polyps; this is accomplished by drinking a particular liquid that contains a high dose of laxatives, usually Miralax. Not surprisingly, most colonoscopy patients don't look forward to this process, but there are some ways to make the prep a little easier on yourself.
1. Ask About Low Volume Options. The traditional method of cleaning the colon for the exam requires that patients consume about a gallon of the laxative liquid, which also contains salts to prevent dehydration. Many patients find it difficult to consume this much liquid, but if you don't finish the gallon your results can be affected. Fortunately, there are some new, low volume methods, which involve taking a colon clearing drug and drinking 20 ounces of liquid in two sittings - one in the evening, and one in the morning.
2. Try Gatorade and Miralax Instead. Ask your doctor if you can skip the traditional liquid in favor of a blend of Gatorade and Miralax, which research has shown to be effective, with less cramping and discomfort than the traditional mixture. It still requires a lot of liquid intake, but most patients find it tastes better, making it a lot easier to swallow.
3. Prep Your Bathroom. Before you start the laxatives, stock your bathroom with things that can make your time in there a bit easier. Flushable wipes are more soothing than standard toilet paper, and hemorrhoid creams can ease some discomfort. Stock up extra towels in the bathroom and line the wastebasket with a plastic bag. If your bathroom is cold, bring in a space heater (keep it away from water!), or if it's hot, consider a small oscillating fan so that you can stay at a comfortable temperature.
4. Pick Up a Variety of Clear Liquids. During your prep you can't eat solid food, and you might get tired of the same flavor. Stock up on various clear liquids including different flavors of broth, ginger ale, apple juice and other choices. Make some jello ahead of time for an option that's a little more like solid food. Water that has been enhanced with electrolytes can help you to stay hydrated.
5. Take Time Off. Colonoscopy prep is best done at home. Take a few days off so that you don't have to worry about being at work during the process. If you can't take too much time, ask to schedule your colonoscopy for a Monday so you'll have the weekend to prepare. It's much easier to handle the prep when you're in the comfort of your own home and have no need to leave.
For more tips on making the colonoscopy prep easier, talk to a company like Northwest Gastroenterology Associates.