A colonoscopy is an essential preventive screening that protects people against colon cancer. As a predominantly asymptomatic condition, colon cancer can develop and progress without most patients knowing until it is too late.
This is why colonoscopies are so important. While this procedure may seem intimidating, it is painless, quick, and highly useful. In order to have a successful colonoscopy, you have to do a pre-colonoscopy prep. This is a preparatory step before a doctor can perform the procedure.
What Does “Prep” Mean?
A “prep” is a solution you have to take before a colonoscopy, with the purpose of cleaning out your large intestine. The special solution is a laxative, which clears the bowels. This step is key to a successful colonoscopy. Otherwise, it would be difficult to properly and thoroughly examine the colon, and polyps and cancerous lesions could be missed. In addition, the procedure could also end up taking longer to complete as a consequence of the colon not being empty of its contents. If you do not prep, you could be looking at a rescheduled colonoscopy.
To prepare for a colonoscopy, you need to take the laxative the day before the scheduled procedure. You will also need to drink large volumes of liquid to help empty out your bowels. Your doctor may recommend that you drink up to four liters of water the day before. Pre-colonoscopy preps are very tolerable, and patients only need to drink six ounces of a laxative solution – twice. If you are bothered by the taste of the solution, it is recommended that you drink it very cold and through a straw. In addition to drinking liquids, you should abstain from eating solids 24 hours before the test. Clear liquids such as broth, apple juice, and plain coffee or tea are okay.
If you are feeling anxious about having a colonoscopy, let your doctor know. Having a discussion about your worries and concerns and asking questions helps ease anxiety. The doctor will provide detailed instructions on how to do a colonoscopy prep correctly, however, if there is anything that is unclear, let them know. Make sure to follow all pre-colonoscopy instructions to the letter, as they will be very specific.
GI Doctors in California
A lot of patients who develop colon cancer are not considered high risk and have no family history of the disease. The consensus is that anybody who has a colon is at risk for colon cancer. Colonoscopies are vital to maintaining colon health, preventing colon cancer, and catching it early on when it is most treatable.
Trust only board-certified and highly experienced gastroenterologists with your colonoscopy. At inSite Digestive Health Care, our GI doctors help you take care of your colon and make recommendations for colonoscopies based on the results of our assessment. Sometimes, you just need someone who really cares about your colon to motivate you to advocate for your health.
For any questions or to schedule an appointment with one of our GI doctors, call our GI clinic nearest you or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to providing you with the highest quality GI services with a personal touch.