At Colon & Rectal Surgical Specialists of New York, we are committed to providing comfortable, discreet care for our patients. Our team of surgical specialists provide a full range of services, including preventive care. Headquartered in Garden City, NY, we have six locations throughout Long Island and Queens, meaning you can access the care you need at the office most convenient to you. On this page, we have provided several patient resources to facilitate your treatment with us. You can access necessary forms or read through our instructions for preparing for a colonoscopy.
Preparing for Your Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure which can detect precancerous and cancerous tissues in the colon. Catching early signs of cancer is one of the best ways to improve the outcome of treatment. The colonoscopy itself is brief and usually takes place under general anesthesia. Most patients recover completely within a few hours.
Proper planning and preparation can help make your process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Your colon must be empty and clean before a colonoscopy so your doctor can gain an accurate view. Clearing out your colon requires the use of strong laxatives to clean out your intestines. However, proper planning and preparation can help make your process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Make a Plan for Your Colonoscopy Prep
We recommend beginning your preparation about a week before your procedure. Clear your schedule for the evening before and the day of your procedure and make sure you have proper supplies, including:
- Laxatives (as recommended by your doctor)
- Low-fiber foods
- Sports drinks
- Clear fruit juices
- Moist wipes
- Diaper cream
You should also arrange for someone to drive you to and from our office.
Change Your Diet
About five days before your procedure, you should begin adjusting your diet to include foods which can easily pass through your digestive system. Consuming mainly low-fiber and soft foods can help make your preparation easier. Low-fiber foods include:
- White bread
- Well-cooked vegetables with no skin
- Lean meat, such as chicken and fish
- Fruit without skin or seeds
Eat these types of food in the week leading up to your colonoscopy. About 48 hours before, we recommend switching to a diet consisting of soft foods, such as smoothies, purees, soups, and soft fruits. You should also avoid foods which are hard to digest, such as:
- Tough meats
- Whole grains
- Popcorn, seeds, or nuts
- Raw vegetables
- Vegetables with skins
- Fatty or fried foods
Certain vegetables are especially difficult to digest, including corn, beans, peas, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce.
Switch to a Liquid Diet
In the 24 hours before your exam, you must stop eating solid foods and change to a liquid-only diet. This allows your body time to eliminate any remaining waste in your colon. If your colon is not clear, your doctor may reschedule your appointment. Make sure to stay hydrated during this time by drinking plenty of clear liquids.
The Final Step
The night before your colonoscopy, you will begin taking strong laxatives. In most cases, we recommend splitting the dose. You will take your first dose the evening before your procedure and the second half about six hours before your appointment.
Once you take the laxative, your body will begin expelling any remaining waste in your system, which results in frequent diarrhea. Some patients also experience cramps, nausea, and vomiting. To stay as comfortable as possible, you can use moist or medicated wipes, as well as creams and lotions. Because you will be in the bathroom for some time, it is also a good idea to bring some form of entertainment with you, such as a laptop, TV, or book.
Protect Your Health with Preventive Treatment
While the preparation process for a colonoscopy may be uncomfortable, the procedure can play an important part in protecting your health. In addition, if your colonoscopy is successful, you may not need another for 10 years. Reach out online or call a location near you for more information.