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Helpful Tips for Colonoscopy Prep

September 4, 2022
Calendar with Colonoscopy Appointment Reminder

Colonoscopy procedures are a valuable tool in screening, diagnosing, and treating digestive problems, like Crohn’s disease and colon cancer. Richmond University Medical Center offers Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Suites in Staten Island, New York, that provide high-quality and full-service ambulatory G.I. services like colonoscopies. The experienced team of physicians, nurses, and medical professionals have vast experience providing colonoscopies. Here are helpful tips to better prepare. 

Bowel Prep Tips 

The most well-known and daunting part of having a colonoscopy is the preparation to clear out the bowel – and the resulting diarrhea that comes with it. There are various kinds of colonoscopy preparation beverages that are sold over the counter or by prescription, but they all call for the patient to ingest a sizable amount of liquid. Unfortunately, this may make some feel queasy and sick. There are a few things patients can do to make this preparation more bearable: 

  • Divide the drink into doses, and do not drink it all at once. It can be intimidating to drink all 32 ounces in one go, but if it is broken up into four glasses every 15 minutes, it will be much easier to do.
  • Drink the prep cold, and through a straw, if it is causing nausea or vomiting.
  • Finish the entire prep drink, even if stools start to run clear. This is crucial to obtaining good results from the procedure. 

If the taste of the prep is too strong, it can be mixed with light-colored Crystal Light, Kool-Aid powder, lime, or lemon to make it more bearable. The exact colonoscopy prep instructions depend on the type of prep the physician orders, so it is important to read all the directions thoroughly beforehand and reach out with any questions. 

Diet Tips 

It is necessary for patients to alter their diet prior to a colonoscopy so certain foods and beverages do not interfere with the procedure. This includes eating less fiber and smaller portions for a few days before, not eating or drinking foods with red or purple dyes and only drinking liquids the day before the procedure. Some helpful tips to alter diet include: 

Follow a Low-Fiber Diet 

For a few days to a week before a colonoscopy procedure, it is recommended to eat a low-fiber diet in order to reduce the amount of undigested food, which will have to pass through the digestive system during the bowel prep. Suggested low-fiber foods include soups, smoothies, eggs, rice, pasta, steamed vegetables, chicken, and salmon. High-fiber foods that should be avoided include nuts and seeds (alone or in foods), popcorn, red meat, fried foods, and raw veggies. Following these recommendations will help the food be digested more easily and bowel preparation to be easier on the body. 

Stock Up on Clear Liquids 

Patients must follow a liquid diet the day before a colonoscopy, which means no solid foods. They should only drink clear or light-colored liquids and remember to stay away from any liquids that include red, orange, or purple dyes, as these could look like traces of blood during the colonoscopy and affect the accuracy of the results. Examples of clear liquids to drink the day before the colonoscopy include: 

  • Clear broth or bouillon
  • Apple or white grape juice
  • Seltzer water 
  • Lemon-lime soda
  • Flavored or plain water
  • Electrolyte drinks like Gatorade (light-colored)
  • Tea 

Patients can also have light-colored Jell-O and popsicles or coffee (without creamer or milk) to add some variety and flavor to their bland diet.  

Comfort Tips for Colonoscopy Prep 

Colonoscopy prep can be time-consuming and uncomfortable, but there are a few ways to improve the experience, or at least make it more bearable. 

  • Stock up on wet wipes and extra soft toilet paper to use after bathroom visits.
  • Communicate with family members and roommates to allow for the time and privacy to complete the prep.
  • Clear your schedule and stay close to the bathroom.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that is loose and easy to remove.
  • Bring some entertainment (i.e. books, music, laptop) to the bathroom or close by to pass the time. 

These tips can provide comfort and lessen the hassle of colonoscopy prep. 

Contact Richmond University Medical Center to Schedule an Appointment 

Following the tips above will make colonoscopy prep easier and lead to a more successful outcome. Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, NY has G.I. procedure rooms with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment equipment to ensure patients stay healthy and satisfied. Contact Richmond University Medical Center today to ask any questions or to schedule an appointment.