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Tips for Colonoscopy Prep

As a Crohn's patient, I have had numerous colonoscopies (truthfully, too many to count!) and I always like to share tips to make others' experience better. For those with Crohn's or colitis, it is no secret that the prep for the colonoscopy is not pleasurable, but it is something that is unavoidable, so hopefully, these tips help you during your next colonoscopy, whether it is your first or 51st.

In addition to the colonoscopy prep instructions provided by your doctor, here are some tips to make the process go easier and better prepare you mentally and physically for the big day:

Colonscopy tips for Crohn's and colitis patients

Stick to a liquids-only diet the day before

My colonoscopy prep instructions provided by my GI doctor allowed me to eat until 9 a.m. the day before my scope. So, naturally, I would eat a hearty breakfast, knowing that I was not going to eat for at least another 24 hours.

This led to a more difficult prep, as I found myself drinking a majority of my MiraLAX solution before being able to have a bowel movement. A few years later, I completely skipped the hearty breakfast and had a simple smoothie, and continued with liquids the rest of the day. This made the prep easier and left me feeling less nauseous after consuming all of the MiraLAX/Gatorade mixture.

Drink several types of liquids to prevent flavor fatigue

Drinking the same thing repeatedly can get exhausting, and pretty sickening. I like to dissolve my MiraLAX among four different Gatorade flavors, including some lemonade on occasion, to mix it up and keep the flavors more interesting.

It is also not a bad idea to drink something in between glasses of MiraLAX solution, such as plain lemonade, water, or apple juice, just to cleanse your palate and give your belly a break from the same concentrated mixture.

Take colonscopy prep day 2 hours at a time

It can be daunting to look ahead at your colonoscopy prep, realizing you won't be eating for 24+ hours and will have to drink copious amounts of undesirable liquids while making numerous trips to the bathroom. But if you take your day and break it up into 2-hour segments, anything is tolerable for that amount of time.

It may also help to give yourself a little reward at the end of the 2-hour window, such as painting your nails, listening to your favorite song, taking a nap, or enjoying a long bubble bath. This will also help to distract you from the fact that you can't eat solid foods (and why is it that every food commercial on TV looks absolutely delicious??) and keep you active without wearing you out physically.

Think about the end goal

Yes, the prep for a colonoscopy is one of the least desirable things one can do; however, when focusing on the end result, it makes the process worth it. Maybe this is the colonoscopy that you will wake up from and hear the magical words, "You're in remission," or maybe the disease you thought was active is improving, or maybe you have been having GI issues and finally get the answers you are looking for.

Either way, this procedure is necessary for you at this time, so rather than focusing on the hoops you have to jump through the day before, keep your eye on the end goal and the outcome of your test.

Being a colonoscopy pro with Crohn's or colitis

Let's face it, once you are diagnosed with IBD, having routine colonoscopies become the norm, so it makes little sense to complain about the process since you are likely to repeat it many times throughout your life. The key is to find what works best for you in order to make the entire prep and procedure as pleasurable as possible, and these tips have worked for me over the years.

And, when all is said and done, at least you get a nice nap at the end of it, and the first post-colonoscopy meal is one of the most delicious meals you will ever eat!

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