In life, you've always been one step ahead of everyone else. Whether you managed to finish high school a year early or you were the first one to get your driver's license, you take pride in being the first to do most things. Now, however, you're facing your first big health challenge, and you don't know anyone else in your social group that can relate. While colonoscopies are often used to screen for colon cancer in adults over the age of 50, you may need one sooner if you experience unusual symptoms such as bleeding with bowel movements that warrant further investigation. As you get ready to jump this new hurdle, you can use these tips to make sure that your colonoscopy procedure goes smoothly.
Prepare For the Cleanse
Your colon must be as clean as possible to help you receive the most accurate results. For this reason, your physician will give you special instructions to help purge your system of any residual waste. Typically, this involves following a special diet combined with the use of a prescribed laxative the night before your procedure. Since the laxative can cause stomach cramping, diarrhea and frequent bowel movements, you want to be prepared. Stock up on supplies such as wet wipes to help keep you comfortable during this process. You may also find it helpful to bring your phone or a book to keep you entertained during the lengthy trips to the bathroom.
Stock Up On Your Favorite Clear Liquids Your doctor will likely recommend that you eat lightly for a few days before your procedure, and you may be asked to avoid foods that contain seeds or large amounts of fat during this time. Then, you will need to fast for the last day before your procedure. During the fast, you will be allowed to have clear liquids to help you stay hydrated and avoid hunger pangs. If you opt for sports drinks or soda, be sure to stick to the clear varieties. You can also try broth if you prefer something savory, and clear colored ice pops can provide a soothing burst of flavor during an otherwise bland diet.
Secure a Safe Ride Home
Sedation is typically used during the procedure to ensure that you remain still and calm. While most of the sedative effects will wear off before you go home, you may still have some lingering side effects such as dizziness that interferes with your ability to drive safely. Choose someone that you trust to give you a ride home and hang out with you for a while following the procedure.
While being first at things has its advantages, you may find that being the only person you know to have a colonoscopy leaves you feeling a little anxious. By understanding how to prepare for the procedure, you can regain your sense of control and be ready for this new step in life.