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I always feel a sense of dread when I add a ‘scope’ or imaging test of any sort to my calendar. As the date draws closer, my anxiety increases. Does this sound familiar? If so, keep reading to learn the methods your Girls with Guts sisters use to prepare for scopes.

PLAN FOR YOUR PREP AHEAD OF TIME

Many Girls with Guts prepare for their preps ahead of time. If you can, try to take the day before the procedure off from work or school. This allows you to start prepping early so that you do not need to chug too much at once. You may want to apply for streaming movie services or pick up on some good reads at your local library. You will need things to keep you distracted while you spend the day (and night) on the toilet!

Speaking of toilets, you will also want soft toilet paper (fingers crossed that there is not another TP shortage), baby wipes, and cream. Many colonoscopy veterans recommend Calmoseptine® Ointment or extra strength butt paste.

You should also stock up on clear liquids ahead of time. Clear liquid diets are far from fulfilling. However, you can reduce the suffering by getting a variety of treats: Italian ice, jello, popsicles, gummy bears, and broth. Remember to stay away from anything red, purple, and blue! One wise Girl with Guts recommends finding a local ramen restaurant and ordering a side of broth. You can also strain the broth from chicken noodle soup. Just make sure that you only eat the broth, otherwise, it might delay your test!!

TAKE YOUR UNIQUE NEEDS INTO CONSIDERATION

As you already know too well, not all bodies are standard. Some Girls with Guts have comorbidities that pose a challenge when it comes to prep work. One GWG with slow motility needs to start her colposcopy prep a day early. Be sure to ask your doctor about how any other conditions or medications will impact your procedure.

*Pro-tip: Do not assume that your doctor remembers all of your conditions. Remind your doctor when you are scheduling the prep.

IDENTIFY THE RIGHT PREP METHOD FOR YOU

Did you know that there is more than one option for colonoscopy prep?

I did not know this until I failed the traditional prep a few times. My doctor finally recommended an alternative prep with Miralax. The prep required chugging two full containers of Miralax with a gallon or so of juice, but it certainly beat the traditional prep.

Photo of a row of green, yellow, and orange jellos by Girl with Red Hat on Unsplash

Girls with Guts have different tips when it comes to what to drink with your prep. Some suggest going with a beverage you enjoy. One GWG uses yellow Gatorade. Back in my colon days, I liked to use a mix of drinks. I would stock up on Snapple, Gatorade, and lemonade and use a different drink for each round (I have certainly had some exciting nights)!

Other Girls with Guts advise against selecting drinks that you enjoy because the prep could ruin that drink for you. The same goes for your clear liquid snacks. I would be perfectly content if I never had jello again.

 

*Pro-tip: Try to schedule your colonoscopy for first thing in the morning so that you spend less time starving!

STAY HYDRATED

Hydration can be a challenge for IBD warriors. However, it is important. Staying as hydrated as possible in the days leading up to your test will make it easier for the nurse to find a vein for your IV. There is nothing quite like getting repeatedly poked with a needle because your veins are so small!

PREPARE FOR RECOVERY

It is easy to get so consumed preparing for your prep and procedure itself that you forget about what you will need after the procedure.

Most people come out of their colonoscopy relatively hungry (24 to 48 hours of clear liquids will do that to you). The last thing you want to do when you arrive home is cook. Be proactive. Make a few of your favorite ‘safe food’ dishes the day before your prep (because you also don’t want to be cooking when you cannot eat). It is best to make meals that you can simply throw in the microwave when you get home.

CONCLUDING POINTS

Colonoscopies, endoscopies, and other invasive GI tests are far from the ideal way to spend a day off. However, they are a reality of life with IBD. There are strategies you can apply to make these procedures more bearable. Preparation is key. Make sure that you find a prep that meets your unique needs and stock up on clear liquid treats. Finally, have some safe snacks ready for when you get home.

• About The Author
Kate Shannon holds an MA in American Studies and a BA in History and American Studies. She is currently working as a high school special education teaching assistant while taking classes towards an MS in Student Disability Services in Higher Education. When she is not working, Kate loves reading, visiting history museums, practicing the clarinet (a new hobby she picked up after her diagnosis), volunteering with children and animals, and doing yoga. Kate was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2018 and had her colon removed in 2019. She is a j-pouch patient who is extremely grateful for the new life her surgeries gave her.
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