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  • Writer's pictureIt’s Complicated

Colonoscopy 101

I had my first colonoscopy in February and the prep was worse than the actual procedure. Let be honest, emptying your bowels like that is horrific.

Starting with the basics, what even is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure where a camera scope is inserted into the rectum. It is used to find changes in the colon such as swelling, cancer, polyps, irritated tissue, and any other issues. To prepare for a colonoscopy, you need to empty your bowels by drinking laxatives and eating a very strict diet (the not so fun part!). On the day of your colonoscopy, you will put on your hospital gown and the cute shorts with a window that opens and closes so they can get to your bum. You then meet with the nurse to go over your medical history. A doctor will then come to check in with you and answer any questions. Once you get to the theatre, an IV is placed on your arm for light sedation, just to make you loopy. The doctor puts in the scope and it goes all around your colon while they take biopsies. It's not painful, it just feels weird. I had some cramping pain when they went to the left side due to having endometriosis on my bowel, but other than that it was all good.

Back to the beginning. To prepare for a colonoscopy, you need to start following their diet 3 days prior. This means eating bland foods such as bread, soup, smoothies etc. On day two you will start drinking the bowl prep. Now, it's very hard for me because I get very nauseous so I can never finish it all. It's important to drink what you can and empty your bowels as much as you can. It helps to mix in some squash, I love to add lemon squash. Using a straw and taking small sips with sips of water also helps.

Food wise, it was difficult for me to follow the diet because of my medications. I spoke to the nurse in detail about it and they advised me to go off the diet a little and eat clear soup on the last day as well (please DON'T do this without consulting your nurse!!). It all worked out well as my bowels were empty and the colonoscopy went smoothly, even though I didn't finish the bowel prep.

Some tips:

  • Again, use straws and sip water in between

  • Keep sudocream in the toilet. Trust me, you will want and need it!

  • Always consult your doctors about making changes to the prep

  • Squash will be your best friend

  • Wipes are good to have

  • Try to have fun with the food - it can be bland and not boring

Colonoscopy's can be daunting but they are over before you know it and are very important for diagnosis. You should be able to eat right after but stick to light, bland foods. No, you won't feel the biopsies but still take it easy for the next 24-48 hours.


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