Friday, December 19, 2008

Strange But True - Colonoscopy Prep Is Worse For You Than It Feels

They recommend that men aged 50 or above get a colonoscopy. I could live with that - I have a whole year to go until I turn 50. But, unfortunately, I've already had to have one. If you've never had a colonoscopy, you can relax, the procedure is fast and painless. Heavy doses of sedatives are given, and you don't remember a thing about it.

That's the good news. The bad news (yes, there's bad news - this is a colonoscopy discussion, isn't it?) is the 24 hours leading up to the colonoscopy. In order for the procedure to work, your colon needs to be squeaky clean. You have to drink something that helps everything come out, like Fleet Phospho-soda. It's this teeny little bottle and you drink it with Ginger Ale or something like that. And then you wait, but not for long. Within 30-45 minutes, your digestive tract rejects the Phospho-soda and everything else in it. You wouldn't guess that you had that much volume inside of you. It would be a great temporary weight loss tool, if you didn't feel so bad while it was doing its thing.

And now, for some more bad news. According to the FDA, drugs to clear the bowels before a colonoscopy may harm the kidneys, causing acute phosphate nephropathy, whatever that is, and it can lead to permanent kidney damage, which sounds like a bad thing to this medical layman.

The best preparation for your colonoscopy is to listen to this John Green piece, or reading this link to it from Knot Magazine. And, if you like Ginger Ale, don't drink it with your Phospho-soda. You won't want to be having any more for a long while.


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