Specialists in gastroenterology regularly recommend that patients have a colonoscopy as a diagnostic tool, especially once you reach age 50. A healthcare practitioner may also advise having this test to assess for colon cancer because of certain indicators, vulnerabilities, or family history.
Preparation for a colonoscopy has become greatly improved even just over recent years, so it is much less of an ordeal than it was before. Let’s talk about some of the key recommendations for preparing for a colonoscopy, and where you can go to have this procedure done professionally and accurately.
Get All the Facts Before You Leave the Doctor’s Office
During your gastroenterologist appointment as the doctor is explaining what to expect and how to prepare for your colonoscopy, do not hesitate to ask any and all questions. It is a good idea to write down your questions beforehand and have them ready to ask the physician during this appointment.
The doctor will give you a written list of instructions regarding what preparation entails. You must follow these instructions carefully, otherwise, you may not be able to go through with the procedure on the scheduled day.
The preparation will include fully emptying your bowels (intestines) so that nothing is misinterpreted as diseased tissue during the test. Gastroenterologists often find and remove benign and precancerous polyps (tiny growths) during colonoscopies, and often times this removal helps patients avoid developing colon cancer altogether.
Take Time Off from Work the Day Before, Day of, and Day After the Procedure
Although your colonoscopy is relatively short (usually less than a half-hour), the exhaustive preparation demands that you take the day off at least one or more days before the procedure. You will need the full day of the procedure because you will be recovering after it is over, and the sedative can take up to 24 hours to fully wear off – so you will need to take off the following day as well.
Talk to your gastroenterologist about their recommendations. Try to schedule your colonoscopy for a Monday if you have a regular work schedule so that you have the full weekend to prepare without having to take extra sick time, if possible.
Dietary Modifications During Bowel Preparation
Two or three days before your procedure (your doctor will explain), you’ll be asked to follow a low-fiber diet. At this point, you’ll want to refrain from eating vegetables, seeds, grains, nuts, and raw or dried fruits. After the colonoscopy is over, you can go back to your regular diet as usual.
24-Hour Clear Liquid Diet
On the day before your colonoscopy, you’ll need to follow a clear liquid diet. This means consuming only light-colored beverages or broths.
For your clear beverages, you may choose light-colored juices, like apple juice and white grape juice. You can have sports drinks and even light-colored soft drinks as well as flavored and sparkling water. As a general rule, you should be able to see through whatever it is you’re consuming, and you cannot eat anything solid during this day – otherwise, it will interfere with your test. Also, make sure you avoid drinking beverages that have any pulp in them.
Fortunately, you may drink tea or coffee, flavored with sugar and/or honey – but no cream or milk. This is because milk and cream have protein, and protein will not clear from your colon before the test the following day.
If you must physically chew on something, consider eating clear gelatin, ice pops, or Italian ice. You may even suck on light-colored and transparent hard candies, but don’t chew them or swallow them whole. You do not want anything to be in your intestines.
Stop Eating and Drinking at Midnight Before Your Colonoscopy
At midnight on the night before your procedure, you’ll need to stop consuming all foods and drinks, including water. You can eat soon after your procedure is complete.
Gastroenterology Clinic in Austin, TX
Here at Austin Gastroenterology, we will guide you through every step of the process to make it as seamless and pleasant as possible for you. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our outstanding gastroenterologists, call us today at our location near you or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to being a key partner in your good health!