Best Practices For Taking Care Of Your Colon
Your colon which is also known as the large intestine, or bowels is a vital part of the digestive system. Keeping it healthy includes getting a colonoscopy every 5 to 10 years, starting at age 50. Most people only need this screening done once per decade.
Taking care of your colon requires more than just regular screenings. It also means eating healthy, keeping your body mass index in a healthy range, and avoiding unhealthy lifestyle choices.
Less than 10 percent of all colon cancer is based on heredity. Healthy habits have a large effect on your colon health.
Healthy foods to eat include:
What Not To Eat After A Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy only takes around 30 minutes, but your system may still need recuperation time. This is partly due to the procedure itself, and partly due to the bowel prep you went through before it.
To aid healing, avoiding foods that are hard to digest the day after is beneficial. This includes anything that might irritate your bowels, such as spicy foods and those high in fiber. Heavy, greasy foods may also increase feelings of nausea after general anesthesia.
Air is introduced into the colon during the procedure, so that it can remain open. Because of this, you may expel more gas afterward than you normally do. If so, you may wish to avoid carbonated beverages, which add more gas to your system.
If you had a polyp removed, your doctor may recommend additional dietary guidelines. These include avoiding foods, such as seeds, nuts, and popcorn, for an additional two weeks.
Foods and drinks to avoid the day after your colonoscopy include:
- alcoholic beverages
Foods You Can Eat After A Colonoscopy
After a colonoscopy, youll eat and drink things that are gentle on your digestive system. Drinking lots of fluid and fluid-based foods will help you avoid dehydration.
Your doctor may also recommend you follow a soft, low-residue diet immediately after the procedure. This consists of a limited amount of dairy, plus low-fiber foods which are easy to digest and produce less stool.
Foods and drinks to have the day after your colonoscopy include:
- canned fruit, such as peaches
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Follow Up With Your Doctor As Directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Not Drinking Enough Fluids
The colon preparation process may be exhausting for you. Many people fail to obtain enough amounts of fluid before and after colonoscopy.
Not drinking enough water leads to the hardening of your stool after colonoscopy.
You can drink water or any type of fluids including hot beverages, fruit juice, or any other fluids that you can tolerate.
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Food Planning For Colonoscopy Prep: What To Eat And What To Avoid
During colonoscopy prep, one should aim to eat a diet which is nutritious, but which does not cause large amounts of feces to form in the intestine. Three days in advance, it is important to stop taking fiber supplement products, as these help the body to produce fecal matter and would work against the colonoscopy preparations.
At this point, it is important to stop taking all other supplements and vitamins, as well as any medicines that contain iron. Physicians or hospital staff will advise on whether and when to stop taking any prescription medicines that are normally used regularly, and on the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen.
How Does Constipation Happen
Constipation happens because your colon absorbs too much water from waste , which dries out the stool making it hard in consistency and difficult to push out of the body.
To back up a bit, as food normally moves through the digestive tract, nutrients are absorbed. The partially digested food that remains moves from the small intestine to the large intestine, also called the colon. The colon absorbs water from this waste, which creates a solid matter called stool. If you have constipation, food may move too slowly through the digestive tract. This gives the colon more time too much time to absorb water from the waste. The stool becomes dry, hard, and difficult to push out.
Pathway of food waste through colon, rectum and anus.
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How Can I Determine If I Received A Thorough Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is an exam in which a thin, flexible, lighted viewing tube is threaded up through the rectum for the purpose of inspecting the entire colon and rectum to detect changes or abnormalities.
Question I just turned 50 and had my first screening colonoscopy. My gastroenterologist advised me to have a follow-up exam in 10 years since he didnt find any polyps. How do I know that I received a thorough exam and can safely wait 10 years?
- You have made a very important decision to proceed with colon cancer screening. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in America with an estimated 55,000 persons dying per year. Colonoscopy is currently our most effective means of reducing the incidence of colon cancer with reductions in some studies of up to 8090%. Despite this remarkable reduction only slightly over one-third of eligible persons elect to have a colonoscopy. With the inconvenience and expense of colonoscopy incurred, one should expect and receive a thorough examination that provides a sense of security until the follow-up screening exam is performed. In your case, without a noted family history of colon cancer, the appropriate time interval for the second exam would be the recommended 10 years.
Colon Cancer Screening Made Easy
At Gastro Center NJ, we want to give you a comfortable colonoscopy experience. From start to finish, were dedicated to making sure our patients are informed, compliant, and in only in the best hands.
If youre concerned about your colonoscopy prep, get in touch with us today and lets find a solution together.
59 Main Street, Suite 1 West Orange, NJ 07052
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Causes Of Constipation After Colonoscopy
During the preparation for your colonoscopy, your colon needs to be emptied. This emptying process may cause a 1-2 days delay in your first bowel movement.
But a delayed bowel movement is different from constipation. With delayed bowel movement, you cant poop because of not enough colon contents to poop after colonoscopy.
But with Constipation, you cant poop after colonoscopy because your stool is hard, or you have a problem
With your colon motility.
A delay in your Bowel movement after colonoscopy for one or two days is common and is considered normal. this is because your colon needs to refill itself with fecal material again after colon prep.
But prolonged constipation with hard stool randy occurs, and it affects less than 2% of people undergoing colonoscopy .
constipation after colonoscopy can be due to:
What Is A Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy involves inserting a thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope into the body through the anus to examine the colon and rectum. The main purpose of a colonoscopy is to investigate symptoms which may be coming from the colon and colorectal area, such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Passing blood with bowel movements.
- Persistent diarrhoea
During a colonoscopy it is possible to identify growths and other intestinal problems including:
- Non-cancerous polyps
- Areas of inflammation
It is necessary for the whole colon to be visible to the video camera on the end of the colonoscope, otherwise it is impossible to carry out this screening process effectively. If you are concerned about the health of yourself or a loved one, download the Ada app for a free assessment.
People are recommended to follow particular instructions in preparation for a colonoscopy, including following a specialized colonoscopy prep diet and activity plan. The purpose of this is to induce a kind of diarrhea, emptying the area to be screened of stool and other waste to ensure full visibility. This process is known as colonoscopy prep.
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How Is Constipation Treated
Most cases of mild to moderate constipation can be managed by you at home. Self-care starts by taking an inventory of what you eat and drink and then making changes.
Some recommendations to help relieve your constipation include:
- Drink two to four extra glasses of water a day. Avoid caffeine-containing drinks and alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
- Add fruits, vegetables whole grains and other high-fiber foods to your diet. Eat fewer high-fat foods, like meat, eggs and cheese.
- Eat prunes and/or bran cereal.
- Keep a food diary and single out foods that constipate you.
- Get moving, exercise.
- Check how you sit on the toilet. Raising your feet, leaning back or squatting may make having a bowel movement easier.
- Add an over-the-counter supplemental fiber to your diet .
- If needed, take a very mild over-the-counter stool softener or laxative . Mineral oil enemas, like Fleet®, and stimulant laxatives, like bisacodyl or senna , are other options. There are many laxative choices. Ask your pharmacist or doctor for help in making a choice. Do not use laxatives for more than two weeks without calling your doctor. Overuse of laxatives can worsen your symptoms.
- Do not read, use your phone or other devices while trying to move your bowels.
Expert Review And References
- Understanding chemotherapy: a guide for patients and families. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society 2013.
- American Cancer Society. Nutrition for Children With Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society 2012.
- Constipation. American Society of Clinical Oncology . Cancer.Net. Alexandria, VA.: American Society of Clinical Oncology 2009.
- Constipation. BC Cancer Agency. Patient/Public Info. Vancouver: BC Cancer Agency 2006.
- Camp-Sorrell, D. Chemotherapy toxicities and management. Yarbro, CH, Wujcki D, & Holmes Gobel B. . Cancer Nursing: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett 2011: 17: pp. 458-503.
- Gamulka B, SickKids Constipation Working Group. Constipation. Hospital for Sick Children. AboutKidsHealth. Toronto, ON: Hospital for Sick Children 2013.
- Hospital for Sick Children. AboutKidsHealth: Side Effects of Chemotherapy. Toronto, ON: Hospital for Sick Children 2009.
- Constipation. National Childhood Cancer Foundation & Children’s Oncology Group. CureSearch. Bethesda, MD:
- Panzarella C, Rasco-Baggott C, Comeau, M., et al. Management of disease and treatment-related complications. Baggott, C. R., Kelly, K. P., Fochtman, D. et al. Nursing Care of Children and Adolescents with Cancer. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: W. B. Saunders Company 2002: 11:279-319.
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Notify Your Physician If You Experience Any Worrisome Symptoms
- Fever, severe pain or excessive bleeding should be reported to your doctor immediately.
- Localized irritation of the vein at the I.V. site may occur at the site of medication injection and is not unusual. There may be a red streak going up your arm that is best treated with moist hot packs. If it progresses, contact our clinic, as antibiotic therapy may be required to resolve this condition.
- Forgetfulness is normal immediately after the procedure and is due to the use of an amnesic drug required for adequate sedation during the procedure.
- Should you have any questions after your procedure, please call our office and your call will be directed to your physicians triage nurse. Phone: 541-868-9500 or Toll-Free: 877-484-4501
What Are The Risks Of A Colonoscopy
As with any invasive procedure, complications may occur. Complications related to colonoscopy include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Continued bleeding after biopsy or polyp removal
- Nausea, vomiting, bloating or rectal irritation caused by the procedure or by the preparatory bowel cleansing
- A bad reaction to the pain medicine or the sedative
- A perforation in the intestinal wall, which is a rare complication
You may have other risks related to your condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your provider before the procedure.
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Colonoscopy Prep Tips: Creating The Optimum Setup
Before starting colonoscopy prep, most people find it helpful to shop for all the supplies that they will need. In addition to the foods and liquids that will be eaten as part of the food intake plan, people preparing for a colonoscopy may wish to purchase products to soothe the skin around the anus, specifically diaper cream and alcohol-free cleansing wipes containing aloe-vera or vitamin E.
Is It Normal To Have Severe Constipation After A Colonoscopy
I had a colonoscopy in mid-June. Since that procedure I have not been able to have a normal bowel movement. I have severe constipation more than relief. I can take 3 dosages of MiraLAx, Amitiza capsules 24 mg twice daily and Align and still have to strain to go. When I do get relief it is only pellets or diarrhea then the next day Im constipated again. Even in taking this much laxative I still have to take 2 Dulcolax tablets. What could this be and what should I do for help. I go sometimes 3 to 4 days without going anything.
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Notifications For Your Doctor
Before your colonoscopy, tell your provider:
- If you are sensitive or allergic to any medicines, latex, tape oranesthesia medicines
- About all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter drugs, prescription medicines, vitamins, herbs and other supplements
- If you have a history of bleeding disorders
- If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
Colon Cancer Screening With Constipation: Is It Possible
In other instances, colonoscopy is performed to investigate symptoms other than constipation. In this case, patients might be experiencing temporary constipation and are worried about how this will affect the findings.
As mentioned, colonoscopy with constipation is still possible but extra precaution is advised to ensure proper preparations, especially when it comes to the bowel prep.
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How Does Constipation Affect Bowel Preparation
A study published in Frontline Gastroenterology illustrates how constipation can impact the effectivity of a bowel prep. While this may seem irrelevant now, keep in mind that a thorough bowel prep can actually be the difference between an effective colonoscopy and a failed one.
According to the researchers, an inefficient bowel prep can reduce polyp detection rate and increase the overall cost of colon cancer prevention. When done poorly, a bowel prep can prevent gastroenterologists from viewing the lower intestine as clearly as possible, resulting in compromised results or additional tests.
Constipation: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a normal consistency for a bowel movement?
Bowel movements should be soft and formed. They should pass easily like toothpaste flowing out of a tube.
Q. How often should I move my bowels?
The standard time frame for normal bowel movement frequency ranges from as many as three bowel movements per day to as few as three bowel movements per week. This is a wide range. Our program usually gives patients suffering from constipation a rescue drug to use if no bowel movement has occurred in 3 days time. The colon draws water from stool, the longer stool sits in the colon, the harder the stool becomes. What is more important is whether you are comfortable with your bowel movement frequency or whether there has been a significant change from your typical bowel movement frequency.
Q. What self help things can I do if I suffer from constipation?
Body position can help you to move your bowels. While sitting on the toilet, placing your feet on a small step stool can position the rectum at an angle which makes it easier to pass stool. Bowels like a routine, so eating the same amounts around the same time of day helps to regulate the bowels. Bowels also like regular exercise to keep them moving. Eat a fiber rich diet . Plenty of decaffeinated fluid also helps to keep bowel movements soft.
Q. How much fiber should be in my diet? How much should I add at a time?
Q. Is there a difference whether I eat fiber or use a supplement?
Q. Do stool softeners really help?
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How Can I Prevent Constipation
Use the same home-based methods you used to treat constipation to prevent it from becoming a chronic problem:
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fiber. Good sources of fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Fiber and water help the colon pass stool. Most of the fiber in fruits is found in the skins, such as in apples. Fruits with seeds you can eat, like strawberries, have the most fiber. Bran is a great source of fiber. Eat bran cereal or add bran cereal to other foods, like soup and yogurt. People with constipation should eat between 18 and 30 grams of fiber every day.
- Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee and soft drinks, can dehydrate you. You may need to stop drinking these products until your bowel habits return to normal.
- Exercise regularly.
- Treat mild constipation with a dietary supplement like magnesium.
- Move your bowels when you feel the urge. Do not wait.
How Is Constipation Diagnosed
Constipation comes and goes and is characterized by infrequent, if not difficult, passing of the stools. Signs of constipation include:
- Difficulty passing stools or not passing stools altogether
- Feeling blockage in the rectum, preventing easier bowel movements
- Feeling dry stools that are difficult to pass
- Bloating and gassiness
- Not being relieved after passing a bowel movement
Constipation is often a result of dietary and lifestyle choices. Eating foods high in fat can affect stool consistency. Similarly, eating a high-fiber diet and eating less processed foods can regulate and improve your bowel movements. Drinking lots of liquids and staying active is also key in regulating bowel movements.
In some cases, constipation lasts more than a few weeks, even with dietary interventions. At this point, doctors will characterize your constipation as chronic and youll be subject to tests to understand the state of your gastrointestinal system.
Diagnosing constipation isnt as straightforward as you think. According to the guidelines published by The American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, diagnosing constipation shouldnt just be based on frequency but also other factors such as:
- Discomfort during the passing of bowels
- Passage of hard stools
- Whether a patient is straining excessively during a bowel movement
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