My Bowel Prep
Bowel prep is done to clear the bowel of all solid matter. The prep largely consists of drinking large amounts of clear liquids and laxatives the day before the colonoscopy. This is a day that you will want to stay home from the office.
My gastroenterologist asked me not to eat any nuts or seeds for one week prior to the colonoscopy as these can stink into the walls of the intestine.
On the day before the colonoscopy, I began the liquid fast and laxatives. This required me to drink moderate amounts of liquid laced with laxative at regular intervals.
It really was much easier than I imagined. It may be that experiences vary by patient, but I did not mind that taste of the Miralax in my iced tea, I did not have violent diarrhea, and I was not starving – not even that hungry really. What’s more, I was glad to be doing a colon cleanse. They’re supposed to be healthy.
As I mentioned, I was nearly petrified of undergoing anesthesia. I discussed my concerns with all of the surgical nurses. They were lovely. They allayed all of my concerns, telling me of their excellent track record, and then we even joked about it. Understand that dying from anesthesia is extremely rare, especially the light anesthesia that one undergoes for a colonoscopy, and that this is simply a fear (phobia) of mine.
As it turned out, the anesthesia was quite delightful and I was laughing with the nurses before and after the procedure. I have never had so much fun in the O.R. As for the colonoscopy itself, I never felt a thing and my bum was not sore afterwards (which is what I was expecting).
Why a Colonoscopy is Important
A colonoscopy can detect colorectal cancer. Despite being one of the most preventable and curable cancers, over 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed and over 50,000 people die from this disease each year. One in 19 men and one in 20 women will develop it over their lifetime. A colonoscopy also can detect polyps which may be cancerous or may become cancerous at a later time.
A biopsy can be done during the colonoscopy to check for Celiac Disease if the gastroenterologist goes far into the small bowel. My gastroenterologist told me that many doctors do not go that far into the bowel. I am glad that she did because she found celiac sprue and determined that I have Celiac Disease. My prior blood test, which was reviewed by a very good hematologist, showed that I did not have Celiac Disease. My assumption is that owing to my low consumption of grain – thus not much gluten in my diet – that it nullified the blood test.
A colonoscopy can detect other bowel disorders such as colitis, diverticulitis, Chron’s Disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Finally, as a best practice gastric bypass patients will want to get a colonoscopy a few years after they’ve had their bariatric surgery, and on a regular basis thereafter. Your anatomy is altered and you want to be sure that there are no leaks or any other “funny” things going on. Remember, you invested a lot in getting bariatric surgery to improve your health, so continue making good investment in yourself by taking care of your new body.