New "Gatorade Prep" Improves Colonoscopy Process
The preparation process for colonoscopies at Lakes Regional Healthcare (LRH) just got easier. LRH is now offering a new “Gatorade prep” process to prepare the bowel for the colonoscopy. The night before a colonoscopy, patients must drink a mixture that clears the bowels for the procedure. Historically, the gallon mixture used had an unpleasant flavor, which prevented some people from undergoing the important screening procedure. With the new Gatorade prep, patients drink a mixture of Gatorade and Miralax, which are purchased over the counter. Miralax does not have any flavor, so patients only taste the flavor of the Gatorade. The only caveat is to not drink any red or purple Gatorade flavors, as they temporarily stain the colon and can obscure the images seen during the procedure.
LRH Director of Surgical Services Robyn Paulsen said, “This new Gatorade prep is something we’ve started using to make the preparatiaon for having a colonoscopy easier. Before now, many patients have commented on the unpleasant taste ofo the previous mixture. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in men and women. That’s why it’s so important to remove every possible barrier people have to receiving the screen.”
Despite colon cancer’s status as the second leading cause of cancer related death, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for more than 20 years. “There are two major reasons for this. One is that polyps are being found by screening colonoscopies earlier than ever and are removed before they can develop into cancers. The addition of high definition technology within the colonoscope such as that used at LRH aids in this early detection,” said Paulsen. “Second, there is an increase in patients actually receiving the screening and this allows more colorectal cancers to be found early on, when it’s easier to cure.”
Abnormalities in the colon are found during a colonoscopy with the use of one of LRH’s new high definition colonoscopes, which is a hand guided tube that is inserted into the rectum. The tube itself contains a camera and is connected to a television that allows the surgeon to view the inside of the rectum and large intestine. Air is pushed into the tube inflating the colon, allowing the tube to easily pass through the entire rectum and colon and the surgeon to examine the inside of the colon while looking for polyps and other abnormalities.
According to the American Cancer Society, the following are risk factors for developing colorectal cancer:
• 50+ years of age
• Personal history of colon polyps or bowel disease
• Family history of colon cancer
• Diet high in red meats, processed meats, and low in fruits and veggies
• Smoking and heavy alcohol use
Those interested in more information or in receiving a colonoscopy are encouraged to talk to their local family physician.