Colonoscopy....any tips?

I had my first one a few years ago. I almost had to do a retest because they did not make it clear that someone had to STAY and wait for the procedure to be over to be there for when they released me.

I absolutely hate fasting, but even worse was the pineapple puke flavored Kool Aid I had to drink.

As I waited in my room (by myself) for the procedure to start, my BG began to plummet and I had to yell to get someone’s attention. I had the nurse hook me up with a Dextrose drip and was able to relax into oblivion. However much less insulin you plan to take, take less. I always forget that if I think the word movement that my BG can plummet. It’s just better to be a little high than low.


I agree. Take very little insulin…just not worth it to have to eat something after going thru all this fasting. I don’t think the medical community realizes how hard colonoscopy prep is for a diabetic.

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Thanks for your reply. Yes, it’s challenging for diabetics…but then again, what isnt? Lol.

Recovery was a breeze. The anesthesia they use is great nowadays. Still need someone to drive you home, but I felt great…just real hungry!

Thanks Laura, and everyone else for that matter. I knew I would get some good information if I asked a question here. Works every time.

And yes, I do have a driver. I need a driver everywhere I go. That is one of the worst things about everything that I have had to face with this condition. No longer driving due to my eyesight. Sucks. But oh well. It is was it is, just like everything else diabetes.

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@Stang777 - Thanks for your detailed write-up, very helpful. I’m faced with a possible colonoscopy and am deciding whether to undergo it or just say “no”.

You are very welcome. I think it is very much worth doing it, it can take care of problems before they are big problems that can kill you. Even with the problems I had from the first one, it was still worth doing (and I was so afraid to do it I had put it off for years) and I didn’t have those problems after the second one. I am having the colonoscopy for the followup to the EMR next month, and really have no qualms about doing it. They usually let you choose the prep method you want to do, and I found taking the Duralax pills followed by the Miralax mixed with my choice of drink to be the easiest one for me. I do think it probably helps to mix it with a Powerade type drink so you don’t lose all your electrolytes. I didn’t do that for the first one and I think that was what caused me to have problems after the first one. I think those problems were, at least partly, caused by my getting dehydrated and the Powerade type drinks helps with that more than just regular drinks do. I wish you a lot of good luck with yours and hope that they don’t find anything troublesome, but if they do, I hope they will be able to take care of it right then. Again, good luck to you.

I just said NO. There are less invasive screening tests if you are not predisposed or having any problems most insurance co’s will OK a stool screening test that has no prep/fasting anything. Got the tip on this from a friend that works for a proctology practice.

I just got a referral for my first colonoscopy in my 40s. Unfortunately, I have a terrible family history of colon cancer, and my Uncle just had surgery to remove part of his bowels. So, won’t be able to avoid one in this case.

@JC14, you’re right that there are less invasive tests, but I just discussed these with my doctor less than two hours ago. The drawback is simple: the stool screening test suffers both from false negatives and false positives. So, for someone like me with a high likelihood of developing colon cancer at some point, it’s time to face the music and schedule the colonoscopy.

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Thanks, @JC14, I’m inclining that way. From conversations with friends, it seems that the preparation is the worst part, but complications can arise from the procedure itself. And, they were dosed up on Fentanyl. I’m going to retest when I get around to it, to see if the result was wonky.

I will chirp in here about colonoscopy. Before the procedure, I told one of the nurses that I was diabetic and that I had not eaten, but then, after the procedure, when I woke up, my medical handler lady said that it had been difficult to rouse me. I said that I am diabetic. The medical lady’s jaw dropped, like the beak of Donald Duck in the cartoon. She obviously had no idea at all that I was diabetic. I asked for my wife, who was toting my diabetic supplies. This experience made me wonder if a small neatly printed “diabetic” tatoo might go on my arm. I could hide it under my shirt sleeve, but medical people including EMTs would first go to my arm…

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Well, I’m glad I found this thread and the others out there on colonoscopy prep. I’m going in for my first colonoscopy next Friday. I know there are other ways to screen, but I also know that 1) I’m adopted, so I don’t have that family history that most do, and 2) black Americans get colon cancer at a slightly higher rate. Therefore, I figure I’m one of the lucky folks out there with access to a great medical center and great insurance, so I’m just going to suck it up and get screened.

With that said, I had two surgeries last year at the same medical center, so I know a bit of the drill. I had my call with the anesthesia nurse this morning. I called my GI team twice just to nitpick some details. I’ve seen a few sites that say to transition to a softer sort of diet before the procedure. The person I spoke to was “have at it until 3 days before you come in.” I like that because I tend to like heartier sorts of foods. However, I did do a Costco run and got pasta just in case I lose my resolve regarding going crazy this weekend. :slight_smile:

I’m still on MDI at the moment, so like before, they have my dropping my Lantus dose. She didn’t advise me to drop my Humalog dose. I dose based on carbs eaten, insulin on board, and blood sugar. I’ll roll it back just a little bit to be safe in the days before my colonoscopy to see how I handle liquids only and self-induced diarrhea.

I wear a CGM, so I should be fine regarding that. I’m trying to decide if I want to go crazy with juice since I only drink apple juices when my blood sugar is low. I’ll think on that a bit more. I have tons of small bottles of Mott’s apple juices because I’d rather drink that than a glucose shot or chew on a dry glucose tab.

I’ve also stocked up on a few boxes of Jello. Lemon and lime are the two flavors you can have because those don’t have red or purple dyes. I got some coconut water, which I drink but not regularly, for the electrolytes. Colonoscopy prep cleans you out, but that means the good stuff gets wiped to based on what I’ve read. I’ve taken probiotics religiously for years. As a woman with type 1, once I realized, duh, my microbiome was a mess with the higher blood sugars, doubling down on probiotics really helped. I’ll keep that in place.

I already drink a ton of tea during the fall and winter months to ward off colds. I also stocked up on my usual supply of chicken broth, which I use for cooking. Now I’ll just be drinking it.

Now I just have to get the other stuff: a crazy supply of my favorite flavored waters, diaper rash cream or Prep H, and Tucks, and I’ll be good to go!

Anyway, I’ll stalk this and other threads in the run-up to this procedure and will report back if anything weird happens. I’m hoping that nothing weird will happen.

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I’m glad this came up. I’m having my yearly scope in a couple of months and this will be the first time as a diabetic. I have autoimmune liver disease (PSC) and crohn’s so, alas, I get the yearly scope as cancer risk is greatly increased due to both PSC and crohns. I didn’t even think of what the prep will do to my sugars (never worried about that before).

I did it!

I had my yesterday morning, and the result is normal. That means I go back for another screening colonoscopy in 10 years. God-willing, I’ll be around for another 10 or more. :slight_smile:

Finding this thread really helped, so thanks to @laura54 for starting the discussion and for the great replies. Between learning how my peers have dealt with colon prep and reading a lot of informational articles, I was able to power through the awful prep and be okay once I checked in for the exam.

For first-timers: Take the colon prep seriously.

It sucks, but your doctor needs a clear view. If he or she doesn’t get one, you’re going to have to do it again. They have a ranking called the Boston Bowel Prep score. My score was perfect. A 3 for each section (right, mid, and left colon areas) and a 9 total. That just means my colon was clear.

I had the liquid prep, which started in the evening before. Then I had to wake up and start the rest of the liquid prep by 5am. Based on what I read, the two-step liquid prep has the best results. Clearly, my doc was right about that. She even included pictures in my after visit summary, so now I have pictures of the inside of my large intestine, which look like they came out of a medical textbook.

I’ve gotten over that barrier. Now onward with menopause! :tired_face:


You’ve done it before, so you know what to expect.

I realized that on the no food day it was okay to have beverages that I otherwise avoid like regular apple juice and my favorite Korean sports drink, Pocari Sweat*. :slight_smile: I also had low carb options like coconut water and tea. In fact, that was a bit of info I gleaned from this thread because @Cinderfella mentioned using white grape juice on that day.

Good luck! This forum and others are great for sharing and getting info.

*Something that my Seoul-based endo nurse recommended to me when I lived in South Korea. I managed to get food poisoning of some sort, had taken insulin, but couldn’t keep food down.

Two days ago, yup. Theoretically your basal should be set to keep you at a steady BG when you’re not eating anything, so—theoretically—leaving it alone should be fine. Kind of an opportunity test if you’ve got it set right, actually. Mine seemed to be fine where it was throughout the whole ordeal. Got down to 70s at the lowest, but it was 109 during the procedure itself and in that 90-110 range for the day before, so yay me I guess.

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  • Upside of being T1 for most operative procedures is they schedule you 1st in the a.m. Normally that’s preferable, but with this one I’d actually prefer to have it in the late afternoon, because the last prep phase is 5hrs previous to the procedure, and if you’re going in at 9am that means you have to get up at 4a.m. to drink that crap. If I had it to do over, I’d say I’m fine with my BG and please schedule me late in the day.
  • As it happened I was up at 3am and did the last prep then. I don’t think the “when” is critical; the point is just to be clear before the procedure. Similarly they said you could take up to 2hrs to drink the crap but I don’t think you have to—it’s more of a “Don’t take longer”—so I chugged the whole mess in 15 minutes just to get it over with and hopefully have time for some snooze between, y’know, episodes.
  • My instructions recommended Gatorade but I can’t STAND the taste of that stuff, plus it has carbs and I don’t want to have to bolus while going through this because it’s just another layer of uncertainty; for me it’s simpler to just stick to basal. So I used ReaLemon and Splenda to make ersatz lemonade for my Miralax mix. Nothing can totally disguise that flavor but this made it tolerable enough for me. Lemon Juice isn’t perfectly clear but at 1:32oz it’s so dilute as not to matter. Didn’t worry about the electrolytes because hey, it’s only 8 hours or so before I’m back on solids again.
  • Brigham & Women’s Endoscopy has this cool thing where they send you timed text msg reminders of what you’re supposed to do at each step of the process. I was ok with just a PDF and some might find it annoying, but I actually thought it was really smart, and reassured me I was on track. Smart use of tech—I admire that.
  • I was 100% clear by the last movement before heading to the hospital, so I gladly threw away the Fleet enema unused.

Annoyed. :unamused:

I got through the colonoscopy prep and colonoscopy, but I got a follow-up call from my GI doc’s office today. It looks like they did do a biopsy of some sort after all, so the report they gave me isn’t accurate. Not sure why they were in such a rush to kick me out considering that wasn’t in my procedure report.

What was in my report was that I had internal hemorrhoids. I had no idea, but I have been spending quality reading and mobile game playing time while just sitting on the toilet for no reason. :blush: Don’t ask. It just became habit after awhile. Now I read that prolonged lounging on the toilet can cause hemorrhoids. I eat a good amount of fiber and exercise, soooooooo…yeah.

Now the only thing to do is wait for, hopefully, what will be normal results. I’m also going over and above to repopulate my gut with good bacteria. Lots of kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, in addition to my usual probiotic supplement. That colon prep couldn’t have been good for all those hard-working bacteria that keep infections away, which means it can affect me in ways I really don’t want.

@Regina I’ll keep good thoughts and prayers going your way all is well for you! I never thought about it, but you’re right, the prep can’t be all that good for the bacteria that keeps us healthy. Some things are, as they say, a necessary evil. I’ll surely keep that (up the probiotics prior to/after the prep) in mind the next time I need to do a prep!

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Thanks, @Tapestry. I’m actually starting to get annoyed the more I think about it because, again, why were they in such a rush?

I did get a report, but it wasn’t correct. :angry: Then the nurse that called didn’t have the best bedside manner either. If a patient says their procedure report was all clear and then you tell them that, no, actually they had a biopsy, maybe you want to let the person process that. :worried:

I’ve had a biopsy before for a lump in my breast, so I’ve been through it. It’s still never fun. And, yeah, regarding the good bacteria. A colon prep can’t be good for them at all.

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