Getting a Colonoscopy: What You Really Need to Know


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It’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! Last week, I wrote about how young-onset colorectal cancer is on the rise and how regardless of your age, you need to be aware of your family history and risk factors.

This week, I’m going to break down the colonoscopy. As someone who is approaching double digits on her number of ‘scopes, I’ve got you covered.

Most importantly, if you’ve been told you need to have one, don’t panic. It’s not that bad, and ensuring that you’re healthy is a much better road to choose!

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Things to do in advance

  • Make sure you fill any prescriptions for the prep.
  • Send in any necessary paperwork and payment deposit.
  • Check with your insurance to confirm coverage.
  • Stock up on approved clear liquids of choice: chicken broth, clear sodas or Gatorade, lemon-lime Jello, etc. (You cannot have red beverages or anything with pulp.)

The week before the test

  • Leading up to the tests, check food and medication restrictions. Some medications and pain relievers must be avoided, and you’ll need to skip foods like sesame seeds and popcorn that week.
  • BONUS TIP: Doing the GoLYTELY prep? Lighten up on meals and maybe swap in some soup for lunches. If there’s less in your system, you won’t necessarily have to drink the entire gallon.

The day before

The time to start your prep will vary, but the day before, it’s all about clear liquids—no solid food. If you’re someone who doesn’t fast well, you may want to consider working at home that day or keeping your schedule light.

TIP: Chicken broth is good to have in the mix. (Although if you have a lot, I’d recommend the lower sodium variety.) If you warm it up in a mug, you can almost fool yourself into thinking that you’re eating. 


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Getting a Colonoscopy: What You Really Need to Know

Tracy Jensen is a writer, marketer, mother, fundraiser, marathoner, and music lover. A working, single mom of two kids ages six and five, she is notorious for doing things the hard way. In addition to writing for EverydayFamily, she survives suburban exile by blogging about life’s foibles at It Builds Character. She can be found at night ignoring the dishes and playing on Twitter. ... More

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