Colonoscopy Prep and Diarrhea
For all inflammatory bowel disease sufferers the word “colonoscopy” creates a dread and cringe inducing fear that we try desperately to avoid. The fact is that we can not get around it. We must have these diagnostic and exploratory tests that will help our practitioners treat us effectively. A colonoscopy can be a tool used to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease and it is also used to tract disease progression. Usually a patient with IBD will need a colonoscopy at least every year if not every 6 months to keep track of the disease.
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a test that uses a long rubber camera, called a colonoscope, to view the inside of the intestines. The colonoscope is inserted into the rectum and passed up and around the colon and into the very end of the small intestine. The camera can flex and bend with the curves of the intestine so that it doesn’t cause damage. The doctor will withdrawal the camera slowly while also blowing puffs of air to open the intestine and get a good picture of the lining of the intestines. Don’t worry, most places that do this procedure will give an IV medication to help you sleep through the whole thing.
Do I need to prepare before the procedure?
Yes! This is actually the worst part of the whole thing. This is the part that is the most dreaded and the most difficult to do. The actual test is a piece of cake compared to this prep for it. You will need to clean the bowel totally before the procedure, which means a lot of bathroom trips the day/night before.
How do I prepare for my colonoscopy?
Your doctor will prescribe some kind of prep for you. There are a few different kinds of preps that can be used before your colonoscopy but they all do the same thing, clean out your intestines.
You will be restricted to clear liquids (not red or purple or blue colored) for the day before your procedure. Then, depending on what time you are due to be at the hospital or doctors office you will have to prep your bowels. This is done by drinking laxatives and/or taking laxative pills. This will cause your body to expel everything from your intestines ensuring that you don’t have any waste products blocking the doctors vision during the test. This is a really important part of the colonoscopy! You need to make sure that you are cleaned out before the procedure. Check out this post on 11 tips to make the prep easier!
How much diarrhea will I have?
I know from loads experience that you will have loads of diarrhea. Once the laxatives start to work you will be running to the bathroom every few minutes. Once your stool runs out clear or light yellow you can be pretty sure that you are cleared out. This can take hours to happen. I have had times when I was up all night waiting for the clear stool and I have had times when I was running clear before bed and slept through the night. Just hang in there. Everyone is different and your individual situations and bodies will react differently.
The diarrhea can continue throughout the next day and even after the procedure as well. You will eventually get back to your ‘normal’. Remember to keep drinking (especially bone broth) and you will feel better fast.
Hang in there! You can do this!