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The Importance of a Thorough Bowel Prep

Jessica Francis

colon prep

I’ve seen my fair share of stressful situations, but I don't think anything will ever compare to the stress of selling a home while raising small children. When my husband and I put our first home on the market, I worked endlessly to keep it impeccably clean for showings. I spent my days picking up toys, sweeping up crumbs, straightening beds, and vacuuming carpets. But as days turned into weeks without any potential buyers, I eventually started to let the housework slip.

On one particular day when the house was an absolute disaster, I got a call from our realtor. Someone wanted to see the house in 30 minutes. I had no choice but to back my car up to the front door and begin hurling piles of toys and laundry into the trunk. While I didn’t have time to make the house look great, I did manage to make it look presentable, and we pulled out of the driveway with just minutes to spare.

Despite my best efforts, the buyers opted not to purchase our home. I can’t be sure, but I think it might have had something to do with the pair of underwear I left haphazardly hanging out of my armoire.

I learned an important lesson that day. A good, thorough cleaning takes time, and you can’t take any shortcuts.

The same rules apply when it comes to preparing for your colonoscopy. In order for your gastroenterologist to perform an accurate, high-quality exam, your bowel must first be cleansed of any debris. Adequate bowel preparation beforehand ensures that your doctor will be able to detect any growths, lesions or abnormalities in the colon wall that could be cancerous.

Approximately one on four colonoscopies is reported to have inadequate bowel preparation. This often results in prolonged examination times, reduced cecal intubation rates, decreased adenoma detection rates, and the need for repeat exams. In short, trying to cut corners before your colonoscopy could lead to increased costs and complications with your exam.

We at the Butt Seriously Blog understand that bowel prep is the worst part about having a colonoscopy, and we want to do everything we can to encourage you through this crucial part of your exam. While we don't have any magic tricks or shortcuts, we do have a few insider tips that can make the process just a little more manageable and palatable.

  • Chill out – Keeping your bowel prep solution ice cold can help reduce any undesirable flavor. Place your laxative solution in the freezer for a few hours so it’s nice and chilled when you start drinking it.
  • Use a straw – Placing a straw on the back of your tongue and gulping your bowel prep solution quickly can keep the flavor to a minimum.
  • Mix it up – Mask any unwanted flavors by mixing your bowel prep with your favorite flavor of Gatorade, Kool-Aid or Crystal Light. Just be sure to avoid any red, blue or purple dyes as these can interfere with the accuracy of your exam.
  • Drink broth – Try a variety of flavorful broths to satisfy your appetite when you’re restricted to a clear liquid diet.
  • Treat yourself – Gummy bears, popsicles, Italian ice, Jell-O, and hard candy are sweet treats you can enjoy when preparing for your colonoscopy.

Ask your doctor about a split-dose prep.  Many doctors now allow patients to split their bowel prep into two doses – one half taken the night before your procedure and the other half taken on exam day. This method is often more palatable for patients, and it has been shown to more thoroughly cleanse the colon (Source: StopColonCancerNow).

No one enjoys the bowel preparation process, but a little positivity goes a long way. Remind yourself that this is one step you can take to receive a thorough exam and enjoy years of protection against colon cancer. The best part is, with a clean bill of health, you won’t have to repeat this process for another 10 years. Cheers to a successful exam and a healthy future!


Related articles:

Preparing for a Colonoscopy

What Does a “Quality Colonoscopy” Mean?

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