Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer of men and women in the US, but it doesn’t have to be. It is highly preventable and regular screenings, like colonoscopies can detect polpys or growths that can be removed before they ever turn into cancer.
But many people say they can’t take time off work or find time in their schedule. This is exactly why we developed our Saturday Colonoscopy Clinics.
One of the most common question we get at CRS is “how do I know if my bowel prep is working?
When prepping for a colonoscopy your doctor has probably talked to you about how important the bowel prep process is for accurate results. Residue left behind can make it harder for the doctor to view your colon during the exam – meaning a polyp or other issue might not be seen as clearly or even missed.
And no one wants to get to a colonoscopy appointment and be told their prep didn’t fully empty the colon and they’ll have to do it again.
So how do you know if your bowel prep isn’t working?
Everyone is Different
When To Call Our Office
If it has been more than 4 hours since you started bowel prep and you aren’t feeling the effects
If you experience persistent nausea or vomiting during preparation
Many people start their prep and expect something to happen with minutes– but everyone is different and for some people prep just takes longer to begin and complete.
For the average patient prep takes 6-8 hours to complete and often women can take longer than men. Women often have longer colons due to childbirth or hysterectomies so it can take more time for material to travel through the colon.
Generally if you’ve started prep but haven’t felt the urge to go to bathroom after an hour, there is no cause for concern or a call to the doctor’s office.
However, if it has been more than 4 hours since you started the bowel prep process and you aren’t feeling the effects please contact our office for instructions. Or if you experience persistent nausea or vomiting during preparation you should call and let us know.
Health Issues or Medications May Also Impact Prep
Not following the instructions, or drinking clear liquids as prescribed can slow or negatively impact bowel prep. And patients with diabetes, neurologic conditions or those who take certain medications suffer from chronic constipation may take up to twice as long to complete the process.
This is just one of the many reasons the physicians at CRS may meet with patients beforehand to review your health history and identify and factors that might impact the type of prep given.
It is important to bring a list of every medication you are taking, as there are several different colon preparations and your CRS doctor will determine the best prep based on your specific situation.
If necessary your CRS doctor may consult with your primary care, or GI doctor, to discuss stopping, or altering dosage, or certain medications prior to your exam.
Signs Your Colon is Clear
The morning of your exam if you are still passing brown liquid with solid material mixed in, your colon may not be ready and you should contact your doctor’s office.
Passing mostly clear or only a light color, including yellow, is a sign your colon is clean enough for an accurate examination.
Established in 1913, CRS is one of the oldest continually operating groups of colon and rectal surgeons in the country and the largest state-of-the-art practice on the East Coast with three locations around Richmond, VA.
The physicians and staff of Colon & Rectal Specialists are committed to providing to all our patients the special care and education needed for the treatment of colon and rectal problems.
You may have heard us talk about the Colon and Rectal Specialist Kinder Colonoscopywhich includes more tolerable colon prep including Split Dosing.
But what is Split Dosing and how does it benefit patients and help make the colonoscopy experience more comfortable?
To get accurate colonoscopy results, the colon must be empty as residue in the colon can make it harder for the doctor to view your colon during the exam – meaning a polyp or other issue might not be identified.
In order to clear the colon, patients are given medications with a laxative effect. Traditionally preparing for a colonoscopy meant completing prep the night before the procedure. This usually required drinking large amounts of the solution which most people found to be uncomfortable at best.
A Split Dose prep involves drinking half of the prep solution the evening before the colonoscopy screening and the remainder the next morning.
Patients find this method easier to manage and more comfortable, and research is also showing this method may produce better results.
If you’ve been putting off a colonoscopy because you’re afraid of the prep process, contact CRS to learn more about Split Dose or pill prep options – all part of our Kinder Colonoscopy.
This infographic published by The Cleveland Clinic outlines some of the top myths about colonoscopy screenings that often keep people from scheduling this lifesaving test.
Although people are talking more about colon cancer than in years past, there are still too many people not getting the simple screening test that could save thousands of lives each year. Because colon cancer is highly treatable when caught early the importance of screening and early detection is extremely important. Read more
The event is sponsored by the Cancer Action Coalition of Virginia in an efforts to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health issue. Come learn and engage with us and other local stakeholders at one or more of their events this March 2016. Read more
In 2016 the American Cancer Society estimates there will be over 95,270 new colon cancer cases. The number of cases has continued to rise, making colorectal cancer the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, estimating 49,190 deaths in 2016.
Lauren is a Colon Cancer survivors. She was diagnosed at the age of 22 by Dr. Cary Gentry who performed surgery at Retreat Doctors’ Hospital. Today Lauren is cancer free, healthy and sharing her story with others. Read more
For most people, the term colonoscopy doesn’t exactly conjure up happy thoughts, especially when it comes to colonoscopy prep, but it really isn’t as bad as most people think.
Prep is important to clean out the colon before the colonoscopy. Residue in the colon can make it harder for the doctor to view your colon during the exam – meaning a polyp or other issue might not be identified. Read more
Have you heard about Cologuard, wondering what it is or if it can replace a routine colonoscopy?
Cologuard is a fairly new test designed to detect precancerous cells in the colon and rectum. It is a prescription only test so you must see a doctor to obtain the prescription before you can obtain your test kit.