Bowel prep. It’s hands-down the worst part of getting a colonoscopy, and yet, it’s probably the most important. A thorough bowel cleansing ensures that your gastroenterologist will be able to perform a high-quality exam and detect the presence of any abnormalities, such as colon polyps, during your procedure.
An estimated one in four colonoscopies is reported to have inadequate bowel preparation. This often results in prolonged examination times, reduced cecal intubation rates, decreased adenoma detection rates, and the need for repeat exams. In short, a poor bowel prep could lead to increased costs and complications with your procedure.
No one ever looks forward to getting a colonoscopy, but if you have to have one, it’s worth getting it right the first time. Here are some tips to help you through the bowel prep process so your doctor can perform a thorough exam:
- Ask your doctor about a split-dose prep – A split-dose bowel preparation allows you to drink half of your bowel cleansing liquid the night before your exam and the remaining half on the morning of your procedure. This method is generally more tolerable for patients, and it has been shown to be more effective in cleansing the colon.
- Drink it chilled – Put your laxative solution in the freezer for a few hours so it’s nice and chilled when you start to drink it. Keeping your solution cold will help tame any undesirable flavor.
- Use a straw – If you’re struggling with the taste of your bowel prep solution, try drinking it through a straw and swallowing it quickly
- Mix it with your favorite beverage – Mixing your bowel prep with Kool-Aid, Gatorade or Crystal Light can help mask the flavor. Just be sure to avoid anything with red, blue or purple dye.
- Sip on soup broth – Flavorful broths can help satisfy your appetite when you’re restricted to a clear liquid diet
- Snack on something sweet – Gummy bears, popsicles, Italian ice, Jell-O, and hard candy are all acceptable to eat during your colonoscopy preparation
A quality colonoscopy is one of your best defenses against colon cancer (Source: StopColonCancerNow). Do your part to ensure a thorough exam by following your bowel prep instructions completely and to the letter. It’s a one-day commitment that will protect your digestive health for years to come.