Colonoscopy – Tips and FAQs

The following post is based on my experience. Since my Crohn’s Diagnosis in 2015 I have undergone 4 colonoscopies and 2 endoscopies. It may seem scary but it isn’t. The prep is worse than the procedure. It does not hurt, but the prep is unpleasant. Here are my tips to help make the prep a little easier.

Colonoscopy

Kate’s Top 4 Tips:

1. Read Instructions and Follow Directions
The instructions are detailed with how you need to structure your diet prior to the prep as well as the timing of each prep drink. This is not the time to wing it, follow it to ensure your bowels are ready for the procedure.

2. Be Prepared
After you start your prep you will not want to leave the house, so ensure you have the following to make prep run a bit smoother (pun intended).
– Easy access to toilet. Ensure you are at home or staying somewhere with a private toilet;
– Clear liquids (and Icy Poles). Ensure you keep your fluids up to stay hydrated as you will be losing a lot of liquid throughout prep;
– Vaseline or Pawpaw cream (start applying it on and around your bum hole before you start prep) Don’t be stingy, lather a generous coat on your anal hole. With the large amount of wiping that will go on over the next 12hours you bum hole may crack or get wiped raw;
– Soft toilet paper/ wet wipes (try and avoid excess wiping to reduce irritation);
– Entertainment (books, magazines, TV shows, movies).

3. Be Comfortable
Wear something old and comfortable. Prior to the procedure they will provide you with a hospital gown and hospital undies (super comfy). Also, be aware… throughout the prep and after the procedure you may experience poo in your undies.

4. Have Someone with You
The gastro will come and debrief you once you have woken up. However, you will still feel a bit sleepy and your brain will not be fully functioning so it is important that your chaperone listens in or take notes on the debrief because chances are you are going to forget 90% of the things you are told.

Colonoscopy

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the prep taste like?
There are a variety of brands for prep. My last prep I used the brand Moviprep. The first sip, probably tastes like a delicious lemonade. This good taste quickly subsides and it becomes a chore.

Do you need to finish it?
Yes. You may want to stop, but it is imperative to finish otherwise the scope may unable to be conducted due to the intestines not being cleared enough. Just think you’ve started you may as well finish otherwise you will have to start all over again at another date. Close your eyes, stay positive and get comfy on that toilet.

How long does it take for the prep to work?
It varies. For me my bowel movements started around 30min after I started drinking. For my sister and friend it took nearly 2hours for their bowels to start moving.
Be patient, it will come and when it does, you’ll know it. Ensure you are in close proximity to a toilet.

When can I return to work?
Consult your doctor. Depending on how you recover/ condition you can return the next day. It is recommended not to drive for 24hours. I would talk to your employer and prepare them that you may be absent the following day. I took two days off. The day before (for prep) and day of the procedure.

When can I return to exercise?
This is very individual and I would consult your doctor. I walked in the afternoon for about 40min before dinner. The next day I went for swim in the afternoon. I didn’t do anything high intensity (running/ weight training) until 36hour after my colonoscopy. By then I had refuelled my body sufficiently and had the energy to workout.

What should I eat after a colonoscopy?
After your procedure they generally provide you with some juice, sandwich and biscuits. My last colonoscopy I was starving, so I ate everything that I was provided (including  4 mini packets of Arnott’s Scotch Fingers, a ham and lettuce sandwich and an orange juice). If you have specific dietary requirements or don’t enjoy hospital food organise with your chaperone to bring you an after colonoscopy snack.

Prep

For further information, please refer to the following links:

https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/colonoscopy

https://www.bowelcanceraustralia.org/bowel-preparation-for-colonoscopy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s