Types of Colonoscopy Prep Methods
A colonoscopy is an important procedure for diagnosing gastrointestinal diseases. As a screening test, it is the most powerful tool for preventing and detecting colon cancer early. A colonoscopy can be used to:
- Diagnose digestive symptoms or problems, such as changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or unexplained weight loss.
- Monitor and assess the effectiveness of treatments for diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease.
- Check for new polyps or signs of cancer for patients who have been diagnosed with colon cancer.
How Do You Prepare For a Colonoscopy?
The main purpose of a colonoscopy is to allow your doctor to visualize the lining of your colon clearly. Your doctor is looking for abnormalities like polyps, cancer, and sources of bleeding or inflammation. If your colon isn’t clean, these abnormalities may be missed. Therefore, a bowel prep is done to completely clean out your colon before the procedure.
What Are the Types of Colonoscopy Prep Methods?
Bowel prep kits are carefully designed to achieve the best possible results using a combination of ingredients that work together to cleanse your bowels. In every bowel prep kit, you’ll find two vital components: an osmotic laxative and a source of electrolytes.
The osmotic laxative
The osmotic laxative is an agent that encourages the bowels to retain more water, resulting in softer stools and increased colon content, which in turn, facilitates elimination.
Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are essential components of bowel prep kits. These help maintain the body’s hydration and overall health, reducing the risk of dehydration and other side effects. Extra fluids and electrolytes are essential to ensure adequate hydration during the bowel prep process.
Here are five of the most common colonoscopy prep methods.
1. Low-volume Prep
Low-volume prep options such as SuPrep, Plenvu, and Clenpiq involve drinking a smaller amount of liquid than other PEG-based solutions, like GoLYTELY, which people usually find more tolerable.
2. Saline-based Formulas
Preparations, such as OsmoPrep, are available as tablets, making them easier to take. However, they can be associated with an increased risk of causing electrolyte problems and should not be used by people with kidney problems.
3. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
PEG-based solutions, such as GoLYTELY, are common types of colonoscopy prep regimens. These solutions are non-absorbable, which means they go through your gut without being digested. They are taken orally, usually in large amounts up to one gallon, the night before the procedure.
4. Miralax-Gatorade Prep
Patients may use a combination of Miralax, a type of laxative, and a sports drink like Gatorade as an effective prep method. This option can be more palatable for some people and helps avoid the risk of electrolyte imbalances.
5. Tablet Prep
SuTab is a prep in which several pills, along with plain water, are taken at a prescribed time. People like this option when they don’t like the flavor
Learn About Your Colonoscopy Prep Methods Options
To ensure accurate test results, carefully following the instructions for bowel prep is important. Prepping for a colonoscopy can be intimidating, but understanding what is involved can ease your worries. In addition, your doctor can assist in selecting the best bowel prep from the many options available. While some have the benefits of being more palatable or having lower volume, they may have some downsides, like causing electrolyte imbalances or not cleaning the bowel well. Cost may be a consideration, depending on your insurance coverage.
It’s worth taking the time to choose a method that works for you and prepare correctly – schedule an appointment to discuss your options today!