Can Colonoscopy Prep Be Fun?

Rachel Morrell

colonoscopy prep

Colonoscopy prep can seem easier (and even fun!) by hosting colonoscopy prep parties with friends the night before the procedure.

What Age Should You Get a Colonoscopy?

In May 2018, the American Cancer Society changed its recommendation for a first-time colon cancer screening to age 45 (previously 50), seeking to reduce the increased incidence of the disease among people under age 55. The younger demographic has infused a little fun and whimsy into colonoscopy prep with a new trend: colon prep parties.

Celebrity Colon Prep Parties

Colon prep parties are all the rage now. Comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short have been planning colon prep parties for years (long before the screening age dropped to 45), and they recently shared some of their favorite stories on Jimmie Kimmel Live!

Martin, 72, and Short, 68, revealed they throw “colonoscopy parties” every other year and invite friends like Tom Hanks to join the fun. Martin always hosts the overnight event, which begins at 5:00 p.m. the night before the procedure, and the men “play poker, watch a funny movie and drink all the stuff.”  Things start to get a little crazy when the laxatives kick in around 10:00 p.m. and the bathroom takes center stage.

The colonoscopy party continues the next day as the friends ride together to get their colonoscopies and play a game to determine who is the last to get scoped. The best part, Martin admits, is the post-op margaritas to celebrate a clean bill of health.

The World’s Largest Colonoscopy Party

Martin and Short have inspired Americans all over the country to host a colonoscopy party, including C. Suzanne Bates, founder of Aging But Dangerous. This organization, which helps women expand their boundaries, decided to take Martin’s colon party to the next level and hosted The World’s Largest Colonoscopy Party at a hotel in Minneapolis. The $200 ticket included a “pre-poop party,” food, overnight accommodations, transportation to the screening and a post-screening party. Family and friends cheered on screening participants who drank purgative cocktails and excused themselves at necessary intervals.

Today, colon screening patients plan prep parties at almost any location imaginable, from karaoke bars to bowling alleys. What do these parties look like? Imagine your supportive friends and family gathering for a fun activity and cheering while you slug back mouthfuls of prep and green Jello. It’s much like a birthday party, with several extra bathroom breaks.

How to Plan Your Colonoscopy Prep Party

If you’re approaching 45, it’s time to start planning your colonoscopy prep party. It can be as elaborate or simple as you choose; just think of a fun activity and build your party around that theme. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Poker night
  • Movie night
  • Spa night
  • Board game night
  • Video game tournament

After you choose your theme, it’s time to think about your party guests. Invite your parents, siblings, cousins and friends of screening age to your prep party and ask one of them to be your “designated driver” after the procedure. Remember, you will not be allowed to drive home after your colonoscopy because of the sedative.

Use your colonoscopy prep party as an opportunity to share the new recommendations from the American Cancer Society. All adults who are at average risk for colon cancer should begin colon cancer screening at 45, so encourage your family and friends to make an appointment to get screened.

Find a Fellowship-Trained Gastroenterologist

Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but most cases are preventable through routine screening. Our gastroenterologists are skilled in detecting and preventing colon cancer. Find a screening center in your area by clicking here.  

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