Colonoscopy prep: make it easier

Sep 8, 2020 | Joey Keillor | @joeykeillor | Comments (17)

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Among the many discomforts of having a colonoscopy, people often say that the prep work before is the worst part. Below are a few tips can help make the process easier:

  • Two days beforehand. Start eating a low-fiber diet. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.
  • The day before. Don’t eat any solid food. Stick to clear liquids, broth soups, and popsicles and gelatin that aren’t red or purple. The evening before your procedure, drink the first dose of your laxative preparation as directed.
  • The day of. Drink clear liquids only and stop drinking all liquids two hours before your scheduled report time. Take the second dose of your laxative preparation at the time instructed.
  • Throughout. Take your medications as directed. Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated, except two hours prior to your test.

It’s important that you drink all of the laxative preparation. If you find it difficult to do so because of the taste, try these tips:

  • Refrigerate the solution and drink it cold.
  • Suck on ice or a lemon or lime wedge.
  • Chew gum right before you drink each glass of the solution.
  • Drink the solution through a straw.

There are several colon-prep products that involve significantly less fluid that the standard prep. Brand names include Prepopik, Suprep and Plenvu. The main downside to these is that they are not recommended for those with heart, kidney or liver disease, which may prevent many older adults from using them. Plus, they are more expensive.

 

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Can you give me some examples of a low fiber diet?

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@tec

Can you give me some examples of a low fiber diet?

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Sure can! Looks like you’re getting ready for a colonoscopy? The prep for this procedure isn’t high on anyone’s list of fun things. But it can be made easier with a little advanced planning. Here are some suggestions for you. As always, you should follow the specific instructions of your doctor.

Three days prior to the colonoscopy is when to start with the low fiber diet. One day before you need to switch to an all liquid diet.

I found a really comprehensive list of foods to eat for a colon prep. This is only for the first 2 days!
https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/static/pdf/public/specialties/low-fiber.pdf
This link is for the day before the procedure when you should be on the liquid diet.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/clear-liquid-diet/art-20048505
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/colonoscopy/about/pac-20393569
Is this your first colonoscopy?

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The instruction provided by Mayo Gastro Department for low fiber diet the 2 ("Best followed 5-7") days before the liquid only prep day, does not include butter or mayonnaise. It is included as acceptable on the list from Kaiser. Thank you for recommending that alternative list! Also, I know not to eat red or purple jello, is orange jello allowed? Thanks for you help!

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@surebet

The instruction provided by Mayo Gastro Department for low fiber diet the 2 ("Best followed 5-7") days before the liquid only prep day, does not include butter or mayonnaise. It is included as acceptable on the list from Kaiser. Thank you for recommending that alternative list! Also, I know not to eat red or purple jello, is orange jello allowed? Thanks for you help!

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From my understanding Orange or lime Jellos are ok. It’s the coloring in the red and purple jello that can potentially interfere with the colonoscopy. Would had to have that all repeated for the sake of bad jello! ☺️.
You could check with your doctor’s office just in case they have some special instructions. Good luck! ☺️

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@loribmt

From my understanding Orange or lime Jellos are ok. It’s the coloring in the red and purple jello that can potentially interfere with the colonoscopy. Would had to have that all repeated for the sake of bad jello! ☺️.
You could check with your doctor’s office just in case they have some special instructions. Good luck! ☺️

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Thank you!

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can you start your prep early? last time i started on time & was unable to get all the fluid prep down,,,thought that starting earlier might help me to complete the process

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@kaybow

can you start your prep early? last time i started on time & was unable to get all the fluid prep down,,,thought that starting earlier might help me to complete the process

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Hi @kaybow, I did a little research and found there are a lot of other people wondering the same thing! You’re all just so eager to get this started huh? Just kidding! I know all too well the volume of liquid to get down and not enough will power to make it happen! 😉

Some doctors are actually making changes in the way they prescribe the prep and having patients split the time. That way it’s not all at once, making it easier on the body and patient. The ultimate goal is to get the colon as clean as possible. So it doesn’t hurt to begin a couple hours earlier as long as you complete the process.

Here are two links for you. The first one is from Mayo Clinic regarding splitting the prep time.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/colonoscopy/expert-answers/colonoscopy-preparation/faq-20058246
https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/about-colorectal-cancer/prevention/colonoscopy-prep/
It’s also recommended to eat less 2 days before and have a day of liquid diet. I’ve also heard it’s best to avoid red and grape jello as it can interfere with test, so I have to ask, what’s your favorite, green or orange Jello?

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Agree with the statement. I did just that and it made it somewhat easier. Light eating 2 days before and the liquid diet is not easy but is the best way to get it done.

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@loribmt

Hi @kaybow, I did a little research and found there are a lot of other people wondering the same thing! You’re all just so eager to get this started huh? Just kidding! I know all too well the volume of liquid to get down and not enough will power to make it happen! 😉

Some doctors are actually making changes in the way they prescribe the prep and having patients split the time. That way it’s not all at once, making it easier on the body and patient. The ultimate goal is to get the colon as clean as possible. So it doesn’t hurt to begin a couple hours earlier as long as you complete the process.

Here are two links for you. The first one is from Mayo Clinic regarding splitting the prep time.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/colonoscopy/expert-answers/colonoscopy-preparation/faq-20058246
https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/about-colorectal-cancer/prevention/colonoscopy-prep/
It’s also recommended to eat less 2 days before and have a day of liquid diet. I’ve also heard it’s best to avoid red and grape jello as it can interfere with test, so I have to ask, what’s your favorite, green or orange Jello?

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@loribmt, @kaybow, and all…Ain't this fun! One of my least favorite tests, not the procedure but the prep. My colon is slow and I don't get it clean enough apparently. I do everything by the book but still don't do it well. So beginning early is a great answer for that problem. thanks, Lori. thankfully, I had one last year and removed 13-15 polyps, several quite large, and almost all were the precancerous adenomas. One doctor not at Mayo said I needed a colonoscopy every 6 months, then 1x year because I grow a forest of polyps. Interesting. And, several are always large and unhappy. but, not yet cancer. I know if I didn't get them all out as I do, I'll have colon cancer, so I do the best I can to prep well.

After the procedure at Mayo last year, the doctor said the recommendations have changed and are no longer annually, now it's every 5-7 years 5 years for me, Great! It seems they've determined the growth rate of these little guys and if I have them removed every 5 years they won't get large enough to become cancerous. Makes me a happy girl…

I'll follow your other suggestions, Lori. my expert…thank you. elizabeth

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@ess77

@loribmt, @kaybow, and all…Ain't this fun! One of my least favorite tests, not the procedure but the prep. My colon is slow and I don't get it clean enough apparently. I do everything by the book but still don't do it well. So beginning early is a great answer for that problem. thanks, Lori. thankfully, I had one last year and removed 13-15 polyps, several quite large, and almost all were the precancerous adenomas. One doctor not at Mayo said I needed a colonoscopy every 6 months, then 1x year because I grow a forest of polyps. Interesting. And, several are always large and unhappy. but, not yet cancer. I know if I didn't get them all out as I do, I'll have colon cancer, so I do the best I can to prep well.

After the procedure at Mayo last year, the doctor said the recommendations have changed and are no longer annually, now it's every 5-7 years 5 years for me, Great! It seems they've determined the growth rate of these little guys and if I have them removed every 5 years they won't get large enough to become cancerous. Makes me a happy girl…

I'll follow your other suggestions, Lori. my expert…thank you. elizabeth

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Oh yikes. The prospect of have that cleanse every 6 months…😳 I’m so glad you’re back to a 5 year test. All those polyps are troubling but it’s good that they’re non cancerous and developing at a predictable rate anyway.
Hah, Miss Elizabeth, I learn a heckuva lot from you too! We’re not experts but having gone through a ton of life’s trials we sure pick up our share of useful tips that work for us that we can pass along. 😀
And you, my dear, I swear could write a book!!

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