Alternative Preparation for Colonoscopy
Colonoscopies allow for a thorough exam of the colon; this is necessary to detect cancer, pre-cancerous growths, or other abnormalities in the bowel. In Canada, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death 1, after lung cancer, and yet early detection of colorectal cancer can increase the odds of survival significantly. However, in 2008, only 40% of Canadians over 50 years old reported they had been tested for colorectal cancer 2.
Some people resist having a colonoscopy because they do not want to take over-the-counter laxatives required to prepare for the exam. Others find the side effects of these drugs, such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting to be so unpleasant that they won't return for a follow-up.
A successful colonoscopy depends on having a clear colon to allow for an unobstructed view of the colon wall. Without proper cleansing, the results won't be accurate. Fortunately, there is an alternative to harsh chemical laxatives. Colon hydrotherapy, also known as colonics, is an effective, convenient, and gentle process that removes wastes from the entire length of the colon. Colon hydrotherapy has been shown to be more effective than over the counter laxatives for clearing the colon, when all instructions are followed.
The Day before Your Appt:
Once you wake up and until you go to sleep you must remain on a diet of fluids (no milk or pasteurized juice). You can have herbal tea no sugar, Clear soup broths or pureed soups & organic apple juice (no pulp), if you use a juicer you can also juice fruits or vegetables to drink during the day. You must consume 2-3 L of filtered water (not tap) throughout the day - warm or room temperature (not cold). If you have a very active job you may mix an electrolyte powder into your water, we recommend Vega Sport (not Gatorade or Powerade).
For those with chronic constipation it is recommended that they also take 1 tsp of Magnesium Calms mixed in water or 1 - 2 capsules of Magnesium Citrate in the morning and afternoon on the day of their colonic to help prepare the bowel and soften the stool.
Between 4:00 pm and 7:00pm plan to have your colonic session (pre-book your appointment). Your therapist will give you a probiotic to take home, have this only after your colonoscopy. If your colonic is in the afternoon it is recommended to do a second colonic the morning of. Otherwise one colonic the night before is sufficient.
You may have clear water after your session but no food or any other type of liquid. You can only drink fluids until bedtime. Your therapist may make additional recommendations for you to follow after your session.
The Morning of the Colonoscopy:
Nothing to eat or drink before your colonoscopy. If it is later in the afternoon you can have a small amount of warm water upon rising but nothing afterwards.
If you are on blood pressure medication and/or any heart medication you must continue them as you regularly would with a small sip of water.
If you are a diabetic or other special instructions were provided to you for your preparation please let your therapist know and bring in those instructions. Always follow your physicians dietary recommendations.
Consult your physician about the use of medication during this preparation period. Heart, blood pressure, asthma and epilepsy medication may be taken in the morning as usual.
Please visit this video link explaining how effective colon hydrotherapy is prior to a colonoscopy exam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeWjxHspRKs.
- Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Colorectal cancer statistics, 2009. Available at: www.colorectal-cancer.ca/en/just-the-facts/colorectal (accessed January 18, 2010).
- Wilkins K, Shields M. Statistics Canada. Colorectal cancer testing in Canada, 2008. Available at: www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2009003/article/10874-eng.htm (accessed January 18, 2010).