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Revel HQ
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December 5, 2020

How to Prep for a Colonoscopy

We know. Colonoscopies are no fun.

If you are 45 or over, consult with a physician about appropriate screening for colorectal cancer. If you are 50 or over, schedule a colonoscopy ASAP.

We know. Colonoscopies are no fun. But with incidence rates of colon cancer increasing among young and middle-aged people, while at the same time declining among older populations, the American Cancer Society recently updated its guidelines. Routine screening is now recommended to begin at age 45 (for people of average risk) and continue through at least 75.

The good news? Colon cancer, the second leading cause of death by cancer, is easy to diagnose and prevent with a colonoscopy. During the procedure, a long, narrow, flexible tube with an HD camera at the end is used to evaluate the rectum and colon. If doctors spot polyps on the inside of the colon’s lining, they can quickly and painlessly remove them. According to one study, the removal of cancer-causing polyps during a colonoscopy reduced the chance of death from colorectal cancer by 53 percent. (As a bonus, those who opt for sedation swear that being knocked out was the “best nap ever.”)

So, really, there’s no excuse for delay. If you are 45 or over, consult with a physician about appropriate screening for colorectal cancer. If you are 50 or over, schedule a colonoscopy ASAP. (Not convinced? Read Dave Barry’s take here.) Trust us, the worst part of the procedure is the prep to clear out the colon — and, for that, we have some tips gathered from the Woolfer community.

Prep Tips:

  • The day before the prep, eat lightly – think easily digestible foods, like yogurts and soups – and lots of water. Heavy, high fiber foods are a no-no.
  • Start your prep early so you can get some sleep that night.
  • Ask your doctor about the different prep solutions available. If applicable, consider mixing the prep with coconut water, apple juice, or lemon Gatorade to mask the flavor. Stock up on lime Jello.
  • Suck on a lemon and drink the prep solution quickly through a straw, holding your nose. (Don’t skimp on the prep! Otherwise the doctor might send you back to do it all over again...)
  • Keep scent-free wipes and Vaseline by the toilet to reduce irritation. If you can, invest in a portable bidet.
  • Turn your prep day into a fun day. Light candles in the bathroom, get some good books and magazines, line up some binge-worthy shows you’ve been meaning to watch.
  • Plan your post-procedure meal. It will get you through the hunger pangs.
  • Finally, maintain a good attitude! You’re taking control of your health.

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