HealthBeat4: The importance of preparing your body for a colonos - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

HealthBeat4: The importance of preparing your body for a colonoscopy

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and experts are saying the average person has a 5 percent chance of getting colon cancer during their lifetime. One way to catch it early is by getting a colonoscopy. According to doctors and nurses, the hours leading up to the screening are just as important as the screening itself.

A colonoscopy is a test that gives doctors a peek at the inner lining of the large intestine, allowing them to detect anything that could be cancerous. However, before the test can begin, the patient must have a clean colon.

"The first thing, I think, that people need to realize is how important getting ready for the procedure is," said Cathi Willms, registered nurse at the Pierce Street Same Day Surgery Center in Sioux City.

If there is any substance in the colon, the doctor can't see the lining of the bowel.

"And that's what we're trying for, to see if there are any abnormalities in the bowl, and we have to have in cleaned out in order to do that," said Willms.

According to Nurse Willms, patients are put on a strict diet the day before their colonoscopy test.

"Anything that you can see through. So it would be coffee, tea, pop, broth, popsicles and lots and lots of water," said Willms.

Along with a clear liquids diet, your doctor may recommend taking a laxative.

"Doctors here in Sioux City have several different options that they use for people to use the day before to get cleaned out," said Willms.

Nurse Willms said patients can expect to run to the bathroom multiple times once they've started the colon prep.

"I would stay really close to the bathroom. So you can park your TV close and hope you hit the ads," giggles Willms.

For many people, the prep for a colonoscopy is more trying than the actual test. However, Nurse Willms said it's in your best interest to follow the diet guidelines set by your doctor.

"We want people to have a good exam and the way that we have the most successful chance of detecting anything wrong is if we've got a clean colon," said Willms.

Experts said the average person should have a colonoscopy or screening by the age of 50; however, if you have other risk factors like a family history, your doctor might recommend the test be done before then.

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