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Colonoscopy Prep harder on Women than Men
Newswise — Colonoscopy is especially
important for women, because they’re more
likely to have polyps or lesions deeper in
the colon. Only colonoscopy examines the
entire length of the colon.
Emptying the contents of the colon—a step
called bowel prep—is essential to a
But there’s some reason to believe that
bowel prep for a colonoscopy is harder for
women than for men, reports the November
2008 issue of Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
Women are more likely to be constipated, so
it may be more difficult to clear the bowel.
Women are also more likely than men to have
irritable bowel syndrome, which can cause
gas, bloating, and abdominal pain or spasm.
Preparing for a colonoscopy may be
uncomfortable and time-consuming, but it
needn’t be an ordeal. Harvard Women’s Health
Watch suggests the following to help it go
as smoothly and comfortably as possible:
• Make sure you receive your colonoscopy
prep instructions well before your procedure
date, and read them completely as soon as
you get them. You’ll need to stop certain
medications and foods up to a week ahead of
• Arrange for the time and privacy you need
to complete the prep with as little stress
as possible. Clear your schedule, and be at
home on time to start your prep. Stay as
close to the bathroom as possible.
• To make a bad-tasting liquid prep easier
to swallow, add some Crystal Light or
Kool-Aid powder (not red, blue, or purple);
drink it chilled; drink it through a straw
far back on your tongue; or hold a lemon
slice under your nose while you drink the
• Water can get boring, so keep a variety of
clear liquids on hand to drink before,
during, and after your bowel prep.