Most people who have never had a colonoscopy worry the procedure will be painful. Those who have already had one know the prep is worse than the procedure.
Don’t know what’s involved in a colonoscopy? It involves a doctor inserting a small camera inside your rectum to check for signs of colon cancer.
As horrible as that sounds, here’s the thing: The procedure isn’t a big deal. In fact, you’re under conscious sedation during the colonoscopy and can’t feel anything. You are, however, wide awake and getting well acquainted with your bathroom for the preparation.
Follow these five tips and your prep can be almost as painless as the procedure:
- Fast the right way. For your colonoscopy results to be accurate, your insides to be clean. That usually means you can’t have solid foods the day before the procedure. But if you start the cleansing process earlier, the 24-hour fast can be easier. Eat lighter meals for three or four days before your colonoscopy.
- Prepare for the prep. For the preparation process, your doctor will give you strong laxatives. This usually involves myriad drinkable prep solutions. Be forewarned: They all taste pretty awful. You can try to mask the taste by mixing it with your favorite flavor of a beverage (think: Gatorade). But this might ruin your favorite flavor flavor for you because you will forever associate it with the bad taste of the prep solution. Whether you choose to take it straight or mask the flavor with your favorite beverage, gulp it fast, while it’s cold and chase it with water.
- Stay in. Don’t make plans to go to the movies or out dancing the night before a colonoscopy. You’re going to spend a lot of quality time in the bathroom. Binge-watch Netflix or catch up on the stack of books on your nightstand.
- Get the correct supplies. Before you drink the prep solution, pick up diaper cream and baby wipes.
- Pat yourself on the back. Medical professionals say far too many people avoid getting a colonoscopy. Though the prep is unpleasant, you’ve decided to be proactive about your health. The procedure is an essential part of regular medical care after the age of 50, and it can save lives by catching colon cancer in its earliest, treatable stages.