Staying healthy is important for living a long and happy life, but that doesn’t mean it’s always fun. One of the more unpleasant aspects of proper medical care is the occasional colonoscopy. This procedure, performed roughly every decade in most cases, isn’t something most of us want to do or even talk about, but it’s very important.
These examinations are used to detect a lot of different things, with cancer being one of the biggest.
However, a colonoscopy isn’t just something a doctor does. The patient should take certain steps to prepare for the procedure. We’ll discuss what these steps are and why they’re important in this article.
Schedule a Night at Home
When preparing for a colonoscopy procedure, the important thing to remember is that you should stay in one place the night before. Don’t plan any trips outside the house, and have someone else run any vital errands.
Colonoscopy prep will involve cleansing your colon, so you’ll need to be near a bathroom at all times. Colon cleansing is necessary because it allows doctors to get a more accurate picture of the colon and spot potential issues during the colonoscopy.
Stick to Liquids
To properly clean out your colon, you need to first make sure that nothing new is being put into it. To accomplish this, doctors recommend that the patient sticks to a liquid diet the night before. This ensures that the body is getting nutrients while also keeping your digestive tract clean because the nutrients all go through the urinary tract.
We should stress that these must be pure liquid, meaning that you can’t add anything to them. Don’t add anything to your coffee or tea, and don’t drink anything with solid bits in it, like milkshakes.
Take a Prescribed Laxative
The key word here is “prescribed.” It’s important that the doctor knows all the medicines you’re taking during colonoscopy preparation. Drugs can interact, and if the doctors aren’t aware of everything you’re taking, they could make a critical mistake.
This laxative will help move everything out of your colon before the procedure.
Cut Back on Blood Thinners
Surgeries and invasive exams present a special challenge for those on blood thinners. A colonoscopy isn’t technically a surgery, but they both carry the risk of bleeding.
Blood thinners limit the blood’s ability to clot so the heart can pump more easily and so there’s less risk of a serious blood clot developing in the body. However, this also means that cuts take longer to close, and the patient will bleed a little more.
Doctors often ask patients to take fewer blood thinners in the days leading up to the procedure so the patient doesn’t bleed as easily, but also isn’t at risk of a serious clot. If you’re unsure about what you should do about your blood thinners, ask your doctor.
How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy
While nobody wants to undergo a colonoscopy, we all have to at some point, and correctly preparing for it can make the procedure much easier.