5 Tips for Stress-Free Colonoscopy Prep

colonoscopy, colon health
June 18, 2024


While many of us strive to be the healthiest versions of ourselves, we may skip over colon health—in fear of the dreaded colonoscopy. However, colonoscopies are vital for proper colon health, especially if you’re over the age of 45. Colonoscopies can discover colon problems while they are still treatable, and prevent colon cancer from developing. 

At Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute, we understand that colonoscopies have a reputation for being stressful, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. But colonoscopy procedures are common, relatively quick, and nothing to be ashamed—or afraid—of. 

To diminish your anxiety about your upcoming colonoscopy, the experts at Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute put together a guide for a stress-free procedure, including proper planning, relaxation techniques, and more. 

Reduce Stress Leading Up To Your Colonoscopy

Before your colonoscopy, clear your calendar of any stress-inducing events. This may look different for everyone, but everyday stressors include plane flights, long road trips, work presentations, and lifestyle changes that can impact your anxiety levels. We recommend rescheduling anything that may add stress at least one week before the procedure. 

If you work, we recommend you’re upfront about taking days off for your colonoscopy. You don’t have to detail your reason, of course, but if you go ahead and schedule some time off before your colonoscopy, you can reduce stress and focus on your recovery. Typically, only 2-3 days are needed—one for the day before (also called prep), the day of your colonoscopy, and a day after. Some people may need more or less recovery time, but don’t hesitate to continue resting if you need it. If you’re a parent, finding child care on the days you take off work may be beneficial. 

Create an Organized, Detailed Plan Before Prep Day

In preparation for the day before your procedure, read through your doctor’s notes and ask any questions you may have. Our fear is often of the unknown, and by understanding the colonoscopy procedure and the preparation required, you can diminish the stress that comes with it. 

You’ll likely receive a list of foods you can eat during preparation. We advise you to make a trip to the store and gather everything you need during prep and recovery. Some common items on a colonoscopy prep list include apple juice, popsicles, baby wipes, and toilet paper. If your shopping is done beforehand, you’ll have everything right at your fingertips when you need it.  

Find Ways to Relax During Prep

If you focus on relaxation during colonoscopy preparation, you can decrease anxiety and make the experience more enjoyable. We recommend treating your day of preparation as a relaxing spa day. Light serene candles, wear comfortable clothing, and read a new book on your day of prep. If you enjoy skincare, this is a perfect time to try a new facial or skin treatment. Or, for the movie buff, relish in a packed movie marathon day. Whatever you enjoy, fill your day of preparation with those hobbies, and you may be surprised by how quickly time passes. 

Similarly, you’ll use the restroom often, so don’t be afraid to stock your bathroom with supplies. Magazines, books, water bottles, toilet paper, and baby wipes are a great place to start, but feel free to personalize your stash with your favorite things to make you more comfortable.

Get Creative with Clear Beverages

The day before your colonoscopy, you’ll be restricted to clear liquids. And while it’s good for you, water can quickly become unappealing. We recommend you stock up on various clear beverages to keep things lively. Our favorites include: 

  • Popsicles
  • Jell-O
  • Gatorade
  • Sprite or 7-Up®
  • Tea or coffee (without cream or sugar)
  • Apple, grape, and cranberry juice

Avoid any drinks with red, blue, or purple dye, as it may disrupt your doctor’s ability to study your colon. Drink from funky straws or a new water bottle to have fun with your colonoscopy prep. With a bit of creativity, prep day can go from bad to bearable.

Talk With Your Doctor About Colonoscopy Anxiety

Your doctor is your number one resource. They can answer any questions you may have about your procedure and any concerns you may have. If you’re feeling particularly anxious before your colonoscopy, don’t hesitate to reach out to your provider. They can provide any reassurance you may need before your procedure. 

At Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute, we strive to create a stress-free, relaxing environment. Our doctors perform colonoscopies regularly, so there’s no need to be fearful or ashamed of the process. If you have any questions about your procedure or want to know if you need a colonoscopy, contact our caring, knowledgeable team of experts at Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute. 

Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute: Colonoscopy Services in Birmingham

For over 30 years, our team has provided excellent care for various ailments. Alabama Colon & Rectal experts utilize modern technology and techniques for comfortable treatment and results-oriented solutions. Call us at 205-850-1830 or contact us online today!

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