Do you feel a sense of dread when your doctor utters the words: “You’re due for a colonoscopy”? If it’s the preparation process that you find most inconvenient or unnerving, then there’s positive news for you.
Today, preparing for a colonoscopy is much simpler and quicker than you think. With improvements in the flavor of the solution, and the amount you need to drink to cleanse your system, the whole process is much convenient.
Regular colonoscopies are key to early detection
In the UAE, colorectal cancer is the third-most common cause of cancer death after breast cancer. A lack of awareness, as well as embarrassment about the disease may prevent people from attending their colonoscopy appointments, and from seeking medical help.
Screening at appropriate intervals allows for early detection, as well as improved treatment, and has decreased incidence of colorectal cancer significantly in the last few years.
Most patients who develop colon cancer do not display any obvious risk factor, so screenings as you age are the key to early detection and prevention.
Preparing for your colonoscopy
The success of a colonoscopy lies in the part most people dislike – drinking the laxative preparation solution. A good prep cleans the colon lining of solid and liquid, making it easier for doctors to detect bowel residue polyps – a precursor for cancer. If the colon lining is not clear, these polyps may be missed.
What makes a good prep?
To prepare for your colonoscopy, you need to start a couple of days before you even drink the bowel-cleansing agent.
- Cut fiber from your diet: Change to a low-fiber diet two days before your exam.
- Drink plenty of clear liquids: Clear liquids help flush
the prep liquid through the intestinal tract, while also keeping you
optimally hydrated. It’s important to drink only clear liquids a day
before the exam.
- The prep: Many doctors now prescribe a split-dose
regimen – take half the night before your colonoscopy, and the remaining
half the next morning. This method has been found to improve the
overall bowel preparation process and make it less inconvenient.
A better-tasting prep
Traditionally, patients would have to drink up to four liters of bowel-cleansing solution in preparation for their screening. However, improved flavor, and lower volume solutions are now widely used, and offer patients a more pleasant prep experience.
When should I start having regular screenings?
Your age, race and family history all play a part in determining when you should start having regular colonoscopies. Your primary doctor will be able to help you identify when is the right time for you.
A well trained endoscopist should perform your procedure. These doctors are specially trained and highly experienced in performing colonoscopies.