It is inevitable; at some point you are going to need an upper endoscopy and/or colonoscopy. Many people fear the discomfort that they anticipate will accompany these procedures. Additionally, weight-loss surgery patients are concerned about their ability to complete the bowel prep owing to their altered anatomy.
The good news is that it is easy to undergo these procedures, even if you’ve had gastric bypass. I was awfully afraid of the pain of – let’s be really honest here – having a device inserted into my bum and pushed all the way through to my small bowel. I also was nearly deathly afraid of being put under anesthesia.
Let me allay any concerns that you have. Speaking from my recent experience, a colonoscopy, the bowel prep, an upper endoscopy, and the anesthesia are all very manageable. Let’s explore them.
My Visit with the Gastroenterologist
First things first: I was sure to tell my gastroenterologist and nurse that I had gastric bypass. My gastroenterologist thanked me for alerting her and actually was eager to see my altered anatomy! Also be sure to tell your doctor if you have diabetes or take blood thinners as you may need to stop some of your medication before the procedure.
I discussed my concerns about dumping owing to the fast during the bowel prep. My doctor was able to recommend a “clear” protein powder by Isopure that would be compliant with the bowel prep procedures. I’ll write more about the bowel prep a little further in this article, but for now understand that there is a 24-hr liquid fast during which only “clear” liquids can be consumed. Getting back to the clear protein powder (clear meaning translucent not transparent), I was glad for a solution for getting in my daily protein as this would keep me from getting the shakes.
The nurse was very careful to discuss with me options for sugar-free drinks and “liquid foods” (ie gelatin, popsicles) in lieu of apple juice and Ginger Ale so that I would not dump from the high sugar content. She also was sure to discuss my pouch’s ability to tolerate the large amount of liquids that I would consume.
Preparing for My Bowel Prep
If you have been reading my articles, you know that I hate processed foods. I had to put my aversion aside and shop for sugar-free Lemon Italian Ice, orange popsicles, and orange, lemon, and lime Jello. I also purchased organic chicken broth and a variety of clear no calorie drinks -- iced tea, orange Vitamin Water, and lemon Crystal Light.
It was important that I not consume anything red or purple. The doctor told me that these will appear to look like blood in the intestines. She further told me that I could drink any liquid that I could see through (hence my reference above to translucent not transparent). If I could see through the liquid, that meant she would be able to see through the liquid when it was in my bowels.