Having a colonoscopy

I have to have a colonoscopy on Thursday. Any advice/suggestions? I’m figuring I shouldn’t eat a lot this week in order to make the, erm, cleansing easier. Or maybe I should, in order to have something to cleanse. I’m all about minimizing the unpleasantness, if possible.

You should of received some prep instructions from the doctors office. For myself I had to take pico salax and fast one day before and had to drink I think it was 4litres of liquids. I didn’t find the prep that rough. Enjoy the drugs. Their gooooood. The procedure itself isn’t long 15 minutes.

I did get prep instructions and will be fasting for a day. But Dopers are usually full of advice so I thought I’d check and see if anyone had any hints as I’ve heard loads of prep horror stories.

Recent thread here. That said, I will relate the experience that I had just a few weeks ago.

My expectations were much worse that what actually happened. The prep is much worse than the procedure, but I thought the prep would be worse than it actually was. I was expecting explosive diarrhea and much worse, but it was pretty mundane. Lots of toilet sitting, granted, but really not all that bad.

Planning: I didn’t have anyone in the area to take me to and from the hospital (though a sister offered to fly in to help), so the hospital arranged a cab to pick me up and take me home. I would have to stay a bit longer post procedure, but not a big deal. Not every place will do this, but the hospital is about 4 miles away so it is not a big deal. I chose to have my procedure in the morning not knowing that I would need to wake up at 4 a.m. to complete the prep, so you may want to go through all of the options before agreeing to morning or afternoon.

Pre-pre-prep: Three days prior, I put my prescription in for the aggressive laxative (Moviprep). This was a good idea, since the drug store doesn’t have it in stock and has to order it. Two days prior, I picked up the aggressive laxative and the OTC lesser laxative. I also went shopping for the liquid diet day that would be coming up. I got jello, white grape juice, orange Gatorade, ginger ale, and chicken broth. That was my last day of solid food, so I kept it simple and easily digestible. Burger on white bun was the last solid meal.

Pre-prep: Two nights prior (after burger), I took the first lesser laxative. This started to clean out the solids still in me. It got a little messy, as I wasn’t expecting it to work that fast. I changed into running shorts and sweat pants with an elastic waist band. Easier to use the toilet that way. I stayed in that outfit throughout the rest of the procedure.

Day before: Clear liquid diet this day, so I work from home. I had made orange and lime jello the day before this. Since I don’t have an appropriate glass pan, I just put them into 8 drinking glasses, about one serving each. Only minor mistake this day was not eating enough early in the day. I’m not a fan of jello, chicken broth, or Gatorade, so I kind of went hungry most of the day. Then at about 5 p.m., I couldn’t take it anymore and downed two jellos and a Gatorade. About a half hour later I had to start the aggressive laxative (Moviprep) which meant I had to down a liter of liquid in an hour. Being a bit full, that was difficult. The Moviprep is not great tasting, but it is far from horrible. As it got to work, I got to sit on the toilet. Since almost all of the solids were out of my body, it was just passing liquids through me. It seemed like I was pissing out off my ass.

Day of: This is a day off of work. I had to wake up at 4 a.m. and do a second round of the aggressive laxative (Moviprep). I barely slept that night, so getting up at 4 a.m. wasn’t a big deal. Another round of pissing out of my ass. Cab picked me up at 8. During check-in and changing for prep, I had to hit the toilet twice. Everyone was very kind and professional. I was put on a gurney and had an IV attached. I was told of the procedure and then wheeled into the room at about 9:30.

The procedure: The doctor had a few words with me, then the anesthesiologist injected something into my IV. Six seconds later, I was out. Next I know, I am coming to in the recovery room. It is about a half hour later, and it takes me about 10 minutes to reach full clarity. I get to sit up, am moved to a chair, given a turkey sandwich and some coffee. A bit later, I change. The same cab comes for me an hour or so later, and I am back home before noon.

Post procedure: My body is screwed up, mostly due to the liquid diet the day before and the crazy amount of fluids that passed through my body. I get a very late breakfast at a nearby diner. Take it easy, and things get back to normal rather quickly. I took a vacation day for the day after the procedure because I didn’t know how I would react. I was entirely fine physically, but mentally I needed a bit of down time.

Wasn’t as bad as I feared-the concoction they make you drink wasn’t as horrible as advertised, and I was fully alert about an hour later (they probably tell you not to drive that day for liability reasons). It did seem to take (checking the clock) about 45 minutes tho-or at least that is how long I was out. DON’T get any dark-colored Jello however (I read the fine print on that too late), tho I was able to pass things mostly clear by the time they wheeled me in. They snipped a polyp and found some minor internal hemorrhoids. I lost about 3 pounds, and was constipated for about 2 days afterwards, but fully functional now. :cool:

Thanks, mcgato, I missed that thread.

You’re welcome. That thread came up about three weeks before I had my procedure. I read it through a few times, and it has lots of good info. I thought everyone danced around the issue of time spent on the toilet, though. Having read that thread and having had my procedure, I thought it didn’t detail things enough. That’s why I gave my step by step of what I went through.

I wish you the best. The anxiety is real, but the actuality is not really that bad. Just expect two days of inconvenience that is manageable. Trust your medical staff, and ask questions if you are not sure about something.

For a humorous yet (slightly) informative look at John Bell’s “coca-colanoscopy”, you can check out episode forty of Bells in the Batfry

direct link

You need to eat all the fish you can get your hands on because it’s great brain food. You’ll need the extra neuron nourishment because you’re gonna shit your brains out.

I just went thru this last month, and my doctor didn’t say anything about what to eat or not to eat in the days leading up to it. He just said that when I was drinking the purgative, I could only have clear liquids, and absolutely nothing red, so I stuck to broth and lemonade. I was also supposed to avoid everything from midnight until my procedure at noon. I wish I’d drunk more water, tho, because I was so dehydrated, the poor nurse had a terrible time placing an IV.

I remember being wheeled into the room, then I remember people talking to me, trying to wake me up. I also found that I was a bit crampy in the gut for a week and a half afterwards, depending upon what I ate, but overall, it wasn’t a big deal, and at my followup visit, the doctor said “See you in 10 years.” So yay for that.

Another +1 on the prep being worse than the procedure. I hate taking laxatives and the stuff I had to take - goLitely - went through me like Attila went through central Europe.

Also, they wouldn’t let me out of the recovery room until I had farted twice to expel some of the gas (CO2, IIRC) that they inject in order to expand the colon so the doc could get a good look. For once, no one was grossed out by my elephantine flatulence.

Excellent username and thread topic :D.

I’m scheduled for one on the 21st, myself. Third one actually - the one in summer 2010 returned a few “look again in a year or two” polyps… the repeat in January returned a few “um, go back and get better margins” polyps. Sigh. So I’m becoming an unwilling expert on them.

You should have printed instructions regarding the pre-prep diet - mine have said to go on a reduced residue diet (no fiber supplements, bran cereal, dried fruit etc.) for 3 days before, then 1-2 days of liquids only. The first time, I did 2 days of liquids, this last time they said 1 day. And it may well have made a difference in the duration of the prep. The first time, I also had to take two Dulcolax the evening of the first liquids-only day.

I may try to go somewhere in the middle, this next time - my night-before prep was at most 4 hours start-to-finish the first time, and more like 5+ the second time. And the morning prep also took more time (plus, even after the procedure, I still had one OOPS after I got home :mad:).

The unfortunate thing about the liquids-only portion is that basically, you can drink anything you like as long as it’s something you don’t like. No red / orange flavored drinks, only yellow / green (some doctors aren’t as big sticklers for the coloring limitation).

Make some Jello Jigglers (or Knox Blox, using fruit juice) to give yourself something to chew on the liquids-only day(s). Also get some good broth to keep around. Canned Swanson’s chicken broth just didn’t do it for me the first time - just doesn’t taste good - but this last time around I went to the neighborhood pho restaurant and got a container of their broth. Much nicer.

I use a pill-based prep (OsmoPrep). I have major food textural issues - can’t handle anything slimy / glurgy / thick (yogurt used to quite literally make me gag) and I dreaded the concept of having to drink a gallon of bad-tasting snot. The OsmoPrep is not great either - 4 huge pills washed down with a bad-tasting flavor of Gatorade, then 15 minutes later repeat. Blech. Unpleasant, but the gallon option just seems needlessly cruel.

Well, depending on the sedation: you may feel just fine when you wake up, but you’re likely to be QUITE sleepy after that anyway. That’s how it was my two times - I felt fine going home but after I got home, all of a sudden it hit me and I had to go to bed.

Constipation: I had zero trouble with that either time. Hell, after the first one, where my first solid food in nearly 3 days was at 1 PM, I had a regular bathroom trip the first thing the next morning. I guess there was nothing in the way to slpw it down :D.

Beforehand, however: I normally use high-fiber cereals etc. and found I was really missing them. I asked the doctor if I could add some Miralax when the low-fiber days started, he said that was fine (which makes sense since most of the preps are basically Miralax with electrolytes added).

Thanks everyone, I’m so looking forward to this. They didn’t give me any restrictions on what to eat in the preceeding days. Guess I’ll avoid fiberous foods. I have a wretched gag reflex but wasn’t given the option of pill purge-maker. I have Miralax and green Gatorade. Yummy.

The meds will make you feel A okay, and they stay a while in your system. You’ll feel just fine. But you’re not really, follow your doctors orders, don’t do anything that you could lose a finger doing, take it easy, till they are all out of your system. Which could take up to 48 hrs.

I think the Miralax / Gatorade version is supposed to be better than the prescription Golytely and similar misnamed products. Hella lot cheaper too.

++the prep is worse than the procedure. Get a book or some magazines for on-the-pot time.

The other advice that I can give you is that you may be allowed/able to watch the monitor during the procedure. To me this was a big help in taking my mind off “what was going on down there”.

Gas afterward was horrible, as others have said.

Honestly, if I was given a choice between being scoped or having a tooth pulled, I would choose the former.

I did the GoLytely prep and didn’t find it nearly as horrible as it’s usually made out to be. Everything I read said be sure to chill it thoroughly and drink it cold, but, frankly, I found it much easier to take at room temperature, possibly because it was easier to chug. I wouldn’t choose at as a beverage, but it wasn’t gag-inducing, either. Just kind of salty. YMMV

Before the prep, get flushable hemorrhoid wipes. Use them. Wear clothing that is easy to remove, such as sweat pants or jogging shorts. Or just wear a nightie with period panties.

Guys, period panties are panties that girls and women wear during their periods, that is, panties which we don’t care that much about.

I’m not in agreement there - the prep for a colonoscopy is a LOT worse than the pain of a tooth extraction afterwards.

And you can get knocked out for either procedure. With the dental work, I assure the dentists that they don’t want me conscious. With the colonoscopy, I don’t want to be conscious!!

Lynn: I guess the guys could wear a nightgown and period panties too, if they don’t mind dressing in drag, LOL. When Typo Knig had his colonoscopy, he’d had the first half-gallon of prep and was waiting for things to happen… and I noticed he was wearing regular pants (as in, zipper / button / belt). I told him to change to elastic shorts. He was grateful.

To me the most annoying part of the prep is that you sit, things happen… you sit a while longer and nothing happens. You sit a while long and STILL nothing happens… so you give up and leave the bathroom and then finally the guts say “NOW!!!”. Always. I’d hoped I could just sit there and “go” every couple of minutes and have it over and done with. Nope - seems to require moving around to jog things loose.