Reader needs colonoscopy, but can’t drink prep so­lu­tion

Sherbrooke Record - - COLUMNIST -

LEN­NOXVILLE

Saint Ge­orge’s Anglican Church, Len­noxville, at 84 Queen St., cel­e­brates Holy Eucharist ev­ery 1st, 2nd & 3rd Sun­day at 11 a.m. Morn­ing Prayer is held ev­ery 4th Sun­day at 11 a.m. Sun­day School ev­ery 1st & 3rd Sun­day at 11 a.m. 819-346-5564.

NORTH HAT­LEY

St. Barn­abas Anglican Church, 640 Sher­brooke Road in North Hat­ley. 9 a.m. Eucharist Ser­vice ev­ery 1st and 3rd Sun­day; Morn­ing Prayer Ser­vice (Li­turgy of the Word) ev­ery 2nd and 4th Sun­day. 819-842-2686.

Pres­by­te­rian LEN­NOXVILLE

St. An­drew’s Pres­by­te­rian Church, 256 Queen St., Len­noxville, 819-569-3100, Sun­days: 10:30 a.m. Wor­ship and Sun­day School.

United AYER’S CLIFF - MA­GOG

Ayer’s Cliff - Ma­gog - Ge­orgeville Pas­toral Charge wel­comes ev­ery­one for Sun­day ser­vice at Beu­lah United Church in Ayer’s Cliff - Wor­ship ser­vice and Sun­day School 9:15 a.m. and St. Paul’s United Church, Ma­gog - Wor­ship Ser­vice and Sun­day School 11:15 a.m. with lunch pro­vided each Sun­day fol­low­ing the ser­vice in Ma­gog. Min­is­ter: Rev. Lee Ann Hogle 819-571-7233.

LEN­NOXVILLE

Len­noxville United Church, cor­ner of Queen and Church Street, wel­comes you to wor­ship with Rev. Linda Buchanan on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29 at 10:00. Sun­day School is avail­able. Re­fresh­ments will be served af­ter wor­ship. 819-565-8449; web­site: lennoxville­u­nit­ed­church.com

RICH­MOND

The Rich­mond-mel­bourne Pas­toral Charge in­vites you to join us for wor­ship on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29 at 10:30 a.m. in Rich­mond, 247 rue Prin­ci­pale Sud. Vir­ginia Wal­lace will be lead­ing this wor­ship ser­vice. All are wel­come!

SHER­BROOKE

Ply­mouth-trin­ity United Church, cor­ner of Duf­ferin and Ter­rill, 819 346-6373, the Rev. Sa­muel V. Dan­sokho, min­is­ter. Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29, Re­for­ma­tion Sun­day, bilin­gual wor­ship ser­vice with Holy Com­mu­nion 10:30. No ser­vice in French. Wel­come to all!

WATER­VILLE/NORTH HAT­LEY

Water­ville/north Hat­ley United Church, Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29, 11 a.m. Ser­vice with leader Shirley Knutson. Sun­day School. Rev. Mead Bald­win 819-837-1112.

ASK THE DOC­TORS By Eve Glazier, M.D., and El­iz­a­beth Ko, M.D.

Dear Doc­tor: Now that I’ve turned 50, I need to get a colonoscopy, but I just can’t drink that dis­gust­ing prep so­lu­tion. I’ve tried three dif­fer­ent times, but I wind up so nau­se­ated that I can’t fin­ish. Is there any other way to pre­pare?

Dear Reader: Let us re­as­sure you that you’re not alone in your strug­gles with pre­par­ing for a colonoscopy. Many of our pa­tients say that the pro­ce­dure it­self is a breeze com­pared to drink­ing the so­lu­tion. How­ever, the prepa­ra­tion phase, which thor­oughly emp­ties the in­testines, is vi­tal to a suc­cess­ful pro­ce­dure. Al­ter­na­tives do ex­ist, but they don’t have the same ef­fect, and there­fore the re­sults of the colonoscopy may not be as ac­cu­rate or use­ful.

A colonoscopy is a pro­ce­dure in which a gas­troen­terol­o­gist ex­am­ines the inside of your colon and rec­tum us­ing a long, flex­i­ble tube. Known as a colono­scope, it’s equipped with a lighted tip and a cam­era. A colonoscopy can re­veal whether colon tis­sues are ir­ri­tated or swollen, if polyps have formed, and whether cancer is present. When polyps are found, a small wire loop on the colono­scope can be used to re­move them.

For the best view, the colon must be clean. In fact, the state of your colon is the most im­por­tant vari­able in the exam. Un­less ev­ery last ves­tige of fe­cal mat­ter has been elim­i­nated, it’s pos­si­ble that polyps, which are small growths with the po­ten­tial to be­come can­cer­ous, or other ab­nor­mal­i­ties may be missed.

And here’s where the dreaded prep so­lu­tion comes into play. Avail­able un­der brand names like Golytely, Colyte, Nu­lytely and Tri­lyte, these are pow­ders that con­sist of a lax­a­tive, along with es­sen­tial electrolytes like potas­sium and sodium. You mix the prep pow­der with 4 liters of wa­ter and drink it ac­cord­ing to your doc­tor’s or­ders.

The lax­a­tive, along with the vol­ume of wa­ter, emp­ties and cleanses the bowel. The added electrolytes com­pen­sate for those you are los­ing. Be­cause electrolytes are ba­si­cally salts, the prep so­lu­tion tries to com­pen­sate for the taste with the ad­di­tion of su­per-sweet fla­vor­ings. The mix of the two, as you have found, is chal­leng­ing.

An al­ter­na­tive is a low-vol­ume prep so­lu­tion that you mix with sig­nif­i­cantly less wa­ter. You still have to drink a full 4 liters of fluid prior to the exam, but other than the 2 cups or so of the lowvol­ume prep so­lu­tion, the rest of that 4 liters can be wa­ter or any other clear liq­uid.

But — and this is im­por­tant — low-vol­ume prep so­lu­tions won’t get the colon as clean. Also, there is the risk that your electrolytes can be sent out of bal­ance. If there’s re­ally no other way, then dis­cuss the low-vol­ume prep with your doc­tor. And if you’re will­ing to give tra­di­tional prep just one more go, try these tips:

— Chill the so­lu­tion well be­fore drink­ing.

— Sip it through a wide straw (it’ll go faster) placed far back on your tongue.

— Al­ter­nate gulps of so­lu­tion with sips of some­thing that tastes good.

It’s not fun and it’s not easy, but it’s worth the in­vest­ment be­cause you’ll get the best re­sults from your colonoscopy. And, re­mem­ber: When it’s caught early, colon cancer can be suc­cess­fully treated.

Eve Glazier, M.D., MBA, is an in­ternist and as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of medicine at UCLA Health. El­iz­a­beth Ko, M.D., is an in­ternist and pri­mary care physi­cian at UCLA Health.

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