March is colorectal cancer awareness month, so let me give you a little help in getting screened. For those of you who may be a bit nervous for your first colonoscopy, let me tell you that prep really is the worst part! I put this together for a friend a while back, and I hope it helps someone out there.
Two days before your colonoscopy:
Eat a low fiber diet 2 days before your appt:
Avoid anything with nuts in them, popcorn, or anything else that is difficult to digest. Make coffee jello for your prep day breakfast. You can get plain gelatin mix at the store (usually in the baking aisle). Use coffee (decaf is ok if you prefer) as the liquid instead of the recommended fruit juice. Don’t forget to add sugar if you like it sweetened, but NO DAIRY. Make sure you put plenty of water in the fridge – you’re going to want the water COLD for the prep mix (if required) because the powder can warm the water up when it activates.
The day before your appointment (prep day)
You’ll be on a clear liquid diet, but nothing red, blue, or purple.
Make sure you have lots of liquids on hand. Anything with electrolytes in it like smart water or sports drinks (just make sure no red, blue, purple!) is good. There are also oral rehydration solutions like H2ORS or DripDrop that really help.
You’ll want to set up your bathroom ahead of time. If possible, you will want to have one bathroom all to yourself. When your body says go, you best move quickly. Make sure that your bathroom is well-stocked before you start your prep.
You’ll want to have
Most instructions have you starting prep anywhere from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., but after years of experience I have found that I prefer to do mine earlier if I can. It sometimes takes a while for my body to get going, so starting earlier allows me to get to bed sooner for a good night of sleep. Put the Desitin/Boudreaux on before you start the prep and reapply as necessary. Your butt will thank you later. I believe Eddie’s technical term is "raw ass."
To drink the prep, make sure it's in a cup. Pinch your nose and chug the dose. Immediately chase with apple juice. Then you can let your nose go. People laugh at me for this, but pinching your nose minimizes the taste and chugging minimizes how many times you have to drink from that cup. I chase with apple juice because it cuts the taste better than sports drinks or water. You’ll know that you’ve had a good prep when there are no solids in your output and it’s basically a light yellow-clear color.
I know this may seem like a lot, but I just wanted to give you the play by play. I promise it really isn’t terrible!
The day of your colonoscopy
Make sure someone is driving you – no Uber/Lyft. You’ll get some drugs that will make you feel great and you’ll have a nice nap. That’s it!
When you wake up, you’ll be starving. You will also have more gas than usual because they pump air into your colon to get a better look, so I suggest ordering food to go rather than sitting at a restaurant.
The Colon Club is here if you have questions, so ass (oops autocorrect ask) away!