Preparing for a Colonoscopy

Preparing for a colonoscopy is often considered the worst part of the entire process. A colonoscopy requires a clean colon so that the doctor can examine the inner lining. Cleansing the colon requires going on a liquid diet one or more days before the procedure.

Your colon makes up most of your large intestine and is responsible for moving waste from the small intestine to the rectum. Doctors perform colonoscopies to check the health of your colon. The exam can discover if you have cancerous or non-cancerous polyps that need removal. It can also locate ulcers, swelling, bleeding or other problematic areas.

Preparing for a Colonoscopy
You must follow a strict liquid diet for one to three days before your procedure. The exact length of time you need to stay on the diet and the specifics of the diet will be determined by your doctor. You may also need to take laxatives the day or night before your appointment.

The liquid diet required to prepare for a colonoscopy make you weak and cause frequent bathroom use. If you are also taking laxatives, the frequent bathroom use becomes even more urgent. It's highly likely that you will need to take one to three days off from work while you endure the preparation process. Many people make their colonoscopy appointments on a Monday so that they can take the weekend to prepare and only miss one day of work.

Colonoscopy Liquid Diet
You must follow the exact liquid diet recommended by your doctor to prepare for your colonoscopy. The diet restricts you from consuming any type of solid, even miniscule chunks of fruit pulp. The pure liquid flushes the waste from your colon's inner lining and prevents new waste from forming until your doctor can perform the exam. If you cheat on the liquid diet, there's going to be physical proof that may compromise your doctor's ability to complete your examination.

Most colonoscopy liquid diets only allow you to consume water, plain tea, plain coffee, gelatin, fat-free broth and strained fruit juice. You may also be able to drink some brands of hydrating sports beverages. You cannot consume any liquid that contains red or purple dye. The dye can cause discoloration in the colon that makes it difficult for your doctor to perform the examination.

Recovering From a Colonoscopy
Recovering from a colonoscopy is usually a relatively quick process. Once you wake up and are released from recovery, you'll need someone to drive you home. It can take up to 12 hours for the sedative medication to wear off. However, once the medication does wear off, you can resume eating and living normally.

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