Colonoscopies are standard procedures that are performed to inspect the colon and the lower part of the digestive tract. According to the American Cancer Society, you should schedule a colonoscopy once every 10 years after you turn 50 if you have an average risk of developing colorectal cancer. Colonoscopies can be uncomfortable procedures, and they do have some risks associated with them. If you are concerned about the risks, then keep reading to reduce complications as much as possible.
Pay Attention to the Gut
Before a colonoscopy is completed, you will be asked to ingest a special type of drink. This solution clears the colon and the lower digestive tract of all wastes. The drink will be a propylene glycol solution. Alternately, you may be asked to take several laxatives instead of ingesting the prep fluid. As the preparation forces out fully and partially digested matter, the microorganisms that live inside the intestinal tract will be forced out of your system as well.
The intestinal tract or gut will contain bacteria and yeast, and the microbes will form a balanced ecosystem that help with digestion. Bacteria make up the majority of the microbes. Specifically, there are trillions of bacteria in the gut. Some of the bacteria and the yeast will remain in the digestive tract and will multiply after you have your colonoscopy, and the microorganisms will return to a balanced state.
However, it may take some time for the microorganisms to balance out once the intestines are flushed clean. An imbalance in the microbes can cause something called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can lead to malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies, since the microbes in the gut help to break down the food that moves through the digestive tract.
To help prevent a serious dysbiosis issue, make sure to provide your body with an abundance of healthy bacteria after your colonoscopy. Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled ginger to directly increase gut bacteria. Also, eat yogurt with probiotics and consume items that help to encourage the growth of bacteria colonies in the intestines. Broccoli, beans, bananas, and blueberries are a few foods that can help you.
If your doctor finds a polyp in the colon, then a polypectomy may be performed. During the procedure, the polyps are surgically removed to keep them from turning into cancerous tissue. Endoscopic devices are typically utilized to remove the polyps, and a cauterizing tool will be used to close off the area where the removal has taken place. This helps to minimize bleeding issues.
Some bleeding can occur after the polypectomy, though, and this bleeding should be prevented as much as possible. Your physician will use techniques to make sure that bleeding risks are minimized. However, you should also do your part to keep bleeding problems to a minimum. Working with your doctor to reduce or stop medications, like anticoagulants and antiplatlet varieties, that can cause bleeding is wise. Also, you will need to make sure that you follow the directions closely that are provided with your prep materials. A poorly cleaned colon is one thing that can raise your bleeding risks.
To reduce delayed bleeding risks that can occur several days after your procedure, make sure to eat foods that can move easily through the digestive tract. This will help to reduce pressure on the colon and the polyp-removal area. Avoid foods that can cause constipation, like red meat, cheese, bananas, and ice cream. You should instead eat foods that are high in fiber. Whole fruits and vegetables should become the main part of your diet for a week or more. You should also eat foods with healthy grains like bran cereals, whole-wheat breads, and popcorn.