If you have a colonoscopy scheduled in the near future, then you are likely extremely concerned about the preparation you must go through before the procedure. Proper preparation before the colonoscopy is important so that your doctor can see polyps and potentially cancerous growths across the colon and lower intestinal tract. This means that your digestive tract will need to be cleared of all matter before the colonoscopy procedure begins. You will be provided with a laxative solution to drink that will flush your system. You should understand that this process will be much easier for you if there is less waste in your system to be flushed out. While your doctor will give you some basic instructions on sticking to clear liquids for a period of time before your procedure, there are some other things that should be done to help reduce preparation discomfort.
Stop Eating Meat
The foods you eat take some time to digest, and the amount of time it takes for food to travel from your mouth to your colon is referred to as bowel transit time. During digestion, your stomach allows enzymes and mucus to mix with your foods. The food is broken up and moved to the small intestine. The tissues in this part of the digestive tract absorb vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. The food then moves to the large intestines where amino acids are absorbed. Since meat is made up mostly of amino acids, the majority of the digestion process takes place at the end of the digestive tract. This prolongs the process. In fact, it can take up to 72 hours for red meat to digest fully.
Since meat takes so long to digest and will stay in your intestinal tract for several days, stop eating meat for three to five days before your colonoscopy procedure. This way, you can make sure that you are not flushing partially digested meat out of your intestines during the preparation.
While you should avoid eating meat, your body still needs protein, especially after the colonoscopy procedure. Some slight cell damage can occur as the colonoscopy scope is moved up the colon. Protein will help with the rebuilding of new cells. This means that you should try to eat small amounts of easily digested proteins for a few days before your colonoscopy and afterwards as well. A few of these foods include eggs, nuts, seeds, quinoa, tofu, and yogurt.
Stay Away From Certain Medications
Your doctor will likely inform you that you should stay away from medications that can cause bleeding leading up to your colonoscopy. Generally, you will need to stop taking blood thinner medications like heparin and warfarin. You may also need to adjust insulin levels for a few days if you are a diabetic. This is the case since you will be following a clear liquid diet that is sugar-free and you will not need as much insulin to control sugar levels in your bloodstream.
Along with stopping blood thinners and changing insulin levels, you should stop taking medications that can cause constipation before you start preparing for your colonoscopy. Pain killers will often cause this issue, especially if they are narcotic-based medications. A few examples of these prescriptions include hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, morphine, and fentanyl. If you take one of these medications, then speak with your physician about using an alternative before your colonoscopy.
If you cannot stop or change medication that causes bouts of constipation, then ask your physician for an additional dose of colon cleanse fluid. Taking an extra dose will help to ensure that the colon is flushed before your colonoscopy. If it is not, then your doctor may not see a clear enough image and another test may need to be scheduled.
For more information about preparing for this procedure, contact a company like Northwest Gastroenterology Associates.