Colonoscopy Prep: What to Expect

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

Though colonoscopy is one of the most effective ways to diagnose and prevent colon cancer, Beverly Hills residents may find themselves growing a bit concerned as the date of their appointment approaches. Despite the colonoscopy’s reputation as a life-saving screening procedure, the preparation for a colonoscopy has developed a reputation as something about which to be anxious.

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Regardless of the negative perception that many have about colonoscopies, regular screenings after the age of 50 are vital to keep yourself free of colon cancer. If you’re preparing for a colonoscopy for the first time, don’t let negative assumptions about the procedure make you apprehensive—colonoscopy is considered an extremely safe procedure that will not cause discomfort as it is performed under sedayion.

Nevetheless, the preparation required before a colonoscopy may be a source of anxiety for those who have not had the procedure. Adequate preparation for a colonoscopy is very important, as an improperly cleansed colon may make it more difficult for your colorectal specialist to effectively detect and prevent colon cancer. Your doctor may provide you with an individualized plan for preparing for your colonoscopy, but these guidelines will be easy to accomplish.

To take some worry out of your screening for colon cancer in Culver City, here are some colonoscopy preparation steps to expect:

Liquid Diet

Your doctor will instruct you to abstain from solid foods for at least a full day before your colonoscopy. You will instead drink only clear liquids and may also be told not to ingest anything after midnight on the night before the procedure. Typically, your liquid diet can include the following, as long as they don’t contain blue, purple or red food coloring: Jell-O, water, broth, sports drinks, clear juices and tea or coffee (without cream). You may also be asked to avoid high-fiber foods before you begin a liquid diet (seeds, nuts, skins, etc.). Stocking up on liquids in anticipation of your colonoscopy prep can take some of the anxiety out of following a liquid diet.

Flushing Your System

The most feared element of a colonoscopy may not be the procedure itself, but the emptying of bowels that precedes it. Your doctor will provide you with laxatives that will flush the waste out of your colon. It is important to keep your schedule free when readying for this step of colonoscopy prep, as you will need to spend some time in the bathroom while your colon clears. During this step, it may be a prudent move to keep some reading material or other distractions around, while you may also want to enlist the help of a close friend or relative who can take care of your children or handle other daily responsibilities.

Flushing your system may result in cramping, nausea or bloating, but these feelings will pass. Once you’ve successfully flushed your system according to your doctor’s orders, you can take solace in the fact that the most uncomfortable part of your procedure is behind you.

Ceasing Medications

Your doctor may ask that you cease taking some medications for up to eight days before your procedure, especially aspirin and anti-inflammatories. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the medications you’ve been prescribed before setting up your colonoscopy appointment.

Colonoscopy is nothing to be afraid of and saves countless lives each year. Though many Americans may avoid their recommended colonoscopies due to anxiety over the preparation and procedure, you shouldn’t let these fears keep you from getting proper screening. A colonoscopy is not something to dread—it’s a necessary part of staying healthy as you age.

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