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Preparing for a Colonoscopy

Preparing for a Colonoscopy

One of the most effective ways to detect and prevent colon cancer is through a colonoscopy. As with all medical procedures, some preparations are needed before a colonoscopy can be carried out, with the main one being cleaning and emptying the colon.

What Is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a screening test to check for abnormalities in the colon and rectum. The procedure uses a long, flexible tube equipped with a light and camera—called a colonoscope—to see the colon and rectum from outside the body.

Why Is It Done?

The colonoscopy procedure is the most accurate test to screen colon and rectum cancer. It is a tool that saves lives as it can detect pre-cancerous growths to be removed, before they potentially turn cancerous. Other reasons why it’s done include:

  • to investigate the cause of unexplained bowel movement changes
  • to explore possible causes of abdominal pain, rectal bleeding and other intestinal problems
  • to detect and remove polyps (precancerous growths) that could have otherwise turned into colon cancer
How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy Procedure?

A successful colonoscopy needs an empty colon so the doctor can examine the entire length of the colon properly.

Before the Procedure

Your doctor may advise you to:

  • Have a low-fibre diet - While essential for a healthy bowel movement, fibre is a nutrient that cannot be digested by the body. To help with the clearing process, eat low-fibre meals that are easy to digest at least a few days before your colonoscopy. You can eat fruits without the skin or seeds, cooked and peeled vegetables, eggs, lean meats, chicken, fish, rice, pasta and bread.
  • Drink clear liquids - The day before your colonoscopy, limit your drinks to clear liquids, including plain water, black coffee, tea, ginger ale, broth and carbonated beverages. Make sure to avoid red, blue, or purple liquids, which can discolour the colon lining.
  • Fast - You will not be able to eat anything solid the day before the procedure. But you can drink clear liquids. At least four hours before the colonoscopy, do not drink or eat anything at all.
  • Laxatives - Your colon surgeon will also prescribe laxatives to help you thoroughly clear your bowels shortly before the procedure.

If you are taking any medications or supplements, make sure to inform your doctor as they may affect your colonoscopy procedure.

The Day of the Procedure

Before the colonoscopy procedure begins, you will be sedated to make you feel more comfortable. While laying on your side, the doctor will insert the colonoscope through the anus and all the way through the colon to examine the entire tract. Any abnormality, including bleeding or abnormal growths, will be examined. The doctor may remove samples of abnormal tissue or polyp during the procedure for biopsy.

What Happens After the Procedure?

After the colonoscopy, you will be taken to the recovery room. You may feel bloated, or you will pass gas a few hours following the procedure. Though highly unlikely for complications to occur in experienced hands, do remember to call your doctor if you notice excessive bleeding or persistent abdominal pain.

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Entrust your health and recovery to our dedicated team at Colorectal Practice today. From prompt consults to treatment and recovery, we are committed to seeing you through to a better quality of life.
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