Preparing for a Colonoscopy

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Prepare properly for a colonoscopy to avoid a repeat procedure. Here's how to do it right the first time.

So your doctor says you should have a colonoscopy. Knowing how to prepare and what to expect will help you feel more comfortable.

This procedure involves threading a thin tube (the colonoscope) inside you to look for any problems or diseases of the anus, rectum and colon.

Your doctor may suggest this test if you:

  • Are between the ages of 50 and 75
  • Are younger than 50 and have a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps or some other risk factors for colon cancer
  • Have had:
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation
    • Blood or pus in stool
    • Stomach pains
    • Iron deficiency anemia
    • Abnormalities in certain x-rays of the bowel
    • Polyps or tumors in the colon

The safety and effectiveness of a colonoscopy depend on how well your colon is cleansed before the procedure. Poor preparation can make it hard to see lesions or get tissue samples for testing. It can also make the procedure take longer or trigger complications. Sometimes, the doctor will even have to cancel the procedure.

When you schedule the test
Give your doctor a complete list of all the prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and supplements you're taking. Tell your doctor if you have any allergies. Also discuss any heart, lung or other medical conditions that may require special attention before, during or after the test.

Check with your doctor before the test if you are diabetic or have any heart conditions. Also, check to see if it is OK to take your other medicines the day of the test.

  • You may need to stop taking any aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs several days to a week before the colonoscopy. Check with your doctor for specific instructions.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin, you might need to cut your insulin dosage on the morning of this test. This is because you will not be allowed to eat before the procedure.
  • You may need to take an antibiotic to prevent infection if you have an artificial heart valve, or certain other heart or heart valve conditions.

Be sure you have someone to take you to and from your colonoscopy. You'll be getting a sedative to make the procedure more comfortable. The effect may not wear off until later in the day, so you shouldn't drive.

The prep will help empty your colon.

Your doctor will give you a schedule to follow the day before the test. A sample schedule may include:

  • Have only breakfast and a light lunch.
  • Finish eating by 2 p.m.
  • Drink only non-carbonated, non-citrus clear liquids until three hours before the test. Broth, sports drinks or gelatin may be options if they are not red.
  • Start drinking the solution or taking the laxative pills, enemas or suppositories to flush waste out of your colon.

Very carefully follow the instructions that your own doctor gives you. This will help ensure that your test is safe and the results are accurate.

To cleanse your colon, one of two solutions may be used: PEG or NaP (sodium phosphate). Both are usually flavored for better taste. Other preparations may include tablets, enemas or suppositories. Ask your doctor for specific instructions concerning amount, timing and what you should do if you start to feel nauseous or bloated during the preparation.

You should stay near a bathroom once you start the bowel prep. It usually takes four to six hours to completely empty your colon. You may feel some cramping and discomfort. Call your doctor if you have any pain tadalafil online or have any other problems.

Having a colonoscopy is not something that people look forward to. That's why it's best to prepare properly. That way you have the best chance of having a successful test.