You’ve got to clean out all the crap!

The day before a colonoscopy you stop eating solids and start pumping laxatives. Most people agree that this is the worst part of the procedure. You spend a lot of time sitting on the toilet, and feeling hungry. Many studies have shown that about one quarter of patients fail to properly prepare their colons, leaving a hazy cloud of debris that makes it hard for the gastroenterologist to see through.

Not surprisingly, a recent study by Reena Chokshi and colleagues, at the Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, has shown that doctors can often miss pre-cancerous growths when the bowel is not cleaned out adequately. The data is from patients that had a follow up colonoscopy within a year, and growths that were almost certainly there before were found.

Indeed, the authors of the study suggest that if the doctor finds a murky milieu, which is often apparent within minutes of starting the procedure, then the colonoscopy should be terminated and re-scheduled rather than incur the slight risk of continuing, with questionable benefit.

So clean out that colon before your next colonoscopy! In the end it is for your own good.