How To Make A Colonoscopy Prep A More Tolerable Experience

Getting a colonoscopy can make people anxious, not only about the procedure itself but also about what the results might be. However, the actual procedure itself is generally painless, according to the experts at Healthline. When you go in for your colonoscopy, you will generally be sedated, which means you'll likely be in a calm and relaxed state of mind. Plus, in most cases, you will probably not remember even having the procedure.

However, for some, it's the leadup to a colonoscopy that triggers the most anxiety (via Harvard Health Publishing). After all, the prep for a colonoscopy involves eating a low-fiber diet a few days before the procedure and drinking a doctor-approved bowel-cleansing liquid that will trigger diarrhea and clear out your colon entirely. It can be an unpleasant process, but it's necessary. Without a clear colon, your doctor may miss polyps or other crucial findings, necessitating either a longer procedure or, worse, having to go through the whole process again.

Drinking laxatives doesn't have to be intolerable

In the days leading up to your colonoscopy prep, you'll want to switch to a low-fiber diet, avoiding foods like beans, nuts, and whole grains. A liquid diet is also a must the day before the procedure. This doesn't mean you have to subsist only on water. You can have Jell-O, broth, coffee or tea, and popsicles as well.

The night before you are to have your colonoscopy, however, your doctor will typically provide laxatives for you to take (via Healthline). Usually, you'll receive what is known as a split dose, with some laxatives to take at night and some to take in the morning prior to your colonoscopy. The laxatives can be unpleasantly tasting, but there are things you can do to help make them easier to swallow. You can mix them with a sports drink and keep the mixture chilled overnight in the fridge. You can also drink them through a straw placed at the back of the throat to make them harder to taste.

It's also a good idea to get your bathroom squared away the night before since you will be spending a lot of time there. This means stocking up on soft toilet paper, reading material, and chargers for your phone or laptop. In addition, it's a good idea to wear loose, elastic-waisted pants to avoid having to go through the process of unbuckling and unzipping during an urgent situation.

Talk to your doctor about your concerns

A colonoscopy prep can be tough on the body, and you will probably need some creams or oils to help ease some of the irritation, as per Fight Colorectal Cancer. On the other hand, you can try something simple, such asĀ Vaseline, or upgrade to something like coconut oil if that works better for you. In addition, be sure to take a bath or apply a cool washcloth to the affected area. You can also apply diaper cream, such as Desitin, beforehand to try and minimize the irritation at the outset (via Healthline).

Before you undergo your colonoscopy prep, it's a good idea to talk with your doctor to share any concerns you might have. He or she can talk you through what you might expect from the whole process. Plus, your doctor can help you with any side effects you might experience during your prep, including nausea and vomiting.