1. START WITH YOUR PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR
Hopefully, your primary care doc is going to recommend it anyway when you turn 45 (or earlier if you have family history). But if they don’t, make sure you ask for it yourself. The next step is that your doctor should refer you to a gastroenterologist – a specialist in the gut, butt, stomach, and esophagus. They’re the masters of colonoscopies, so they’ll help answer any questions we don’t answer here.
Now if you have a disturbing gut problem (especially blood in your poop) ask your doctor about a colonoscopy regardless of your age. You’re never too young to get one if you have a serious symptom to figure out. Blood in your poop can be a lot of things, but it’s also the most common first symptom for colon cancer. That’s one you really don’t want to ignore.
2. SHOP FOR CLEAR LIQUIDS AND GUMMY WORMS
Once your colonoscopy has been scheduled, the fun begins! Start by stocking up on clear liquids. “Clear” actually means that you can see through it. Orange juice? NOT clear. Apple juice? CLEAR. One of our favs: those classic 80s seltzers! But avoid anything red or purple.
Another pro move is to grab some gummy worms (but ask your doc first and only eat the non-red ones). After a long morning of fasting on broths and seltzers, chewing a handful of little gummy fellas for lunch will really hit the spot.
3. FAST ON YOUR LIQUIDS AND GUMMIES
So you’ve stocked up on plenty of your favorite sports drinks and broth. Get ready – you’re about to drink a lot of it. For the next 24 or so hours, you’re going to want to drink your favorite clear liquids, eat a few gummies, and carry on as normal. But once you start pooping, it’s time to put the gummies away.
4. THE INFAMOUS PREP
For whatever reason, this drink – aka “the prep” – has gotten a pretty bad reputation. Part of that has to do with the fact it used to be HUGE (for most, that’s no longer true). The other fact is that it tastes terrible. But you’re not alone! The Internet has devised brilliant ways around this ugly truth. Chill it. Drink it through a straw. Add some Crystal Light. Then Chug. Chug. Chug. Remember, you’re a winner.
(PS. there is a new prep “pill” on the market that you can just swallow. Ask your doc!)
5. POOP IT ALL OUT. IT’S GO TIME!
Who doesn’t love a good poop! We may be biased but we think a good poop is one of the greatest things about being human. And it’s an extremely important poop. By the end, it should honestly feel more like a pee than a poop. The goal is to make the toilet bowl basically clear (but slightly tinted) water when you’re done. This is when you’ll be glad you drank all that broth earlier, because the more liquid you have in you, the more you’ll poop. And the more you poop, the more “camera ready” your colon will be!
6. THE HARD PART IS OVER!
Go to the doctor on the day of your appointment. This is it, where all the glorious clear liquid consumption and water pooping pays off. Let’s do this!
- Put on a hospital gown.
- Take off your pants (but leave on your socks because it’s sexier that way).
- Say hi to your doc.
- Get your IV drugs.
- Take the best nap of your life.
7. WAKE UP #COLONOSCOPYDRUNK
Wake up about 30ish minutes later, enjoy your moment of relaxation, and then think about your amazing post colonoscopy meal. But first, enjoy the pics of your squeaky clean colon that your doctor just took. This is also when you get the “big reveal.” The doctor will swing by to let you know if you were harboring any pesky polyps or other unwelcome things. If so, you may have just prevented cancer! And, in the unlikely event that they found a tumor, you’ll know that you caught it earlier than you would have otherwise!
And hey, the chances of a serious complication are minuscule today, so you can relax.
No matter what, you’ll be glad you did this.
8. YOU DID IT!
Spend the day resting up if you can. Oh, and don’t sign any contracts.
Tomorrow, share your colonoscopy story with a friend and LEAD FROM BEHIND too.