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Spotlight on Colonoscopies

Preparing for Your Next Colonoscopy

New tips from patients

Colonoscopy Tips

Your colonoscopy

This month, we'd like to shine the spotlight on the procedure that nearly every PSC patient has had: the colonoscopy. It's a detailed examination to check the health of your large bowel (colon).

Follow the guidelines

According to the PSC Care Guidelines, everybody diagnosed with PSC should have a colonoscopy look for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) if they don't already have it. Those that do have IBD should have a colonoscopy once a year, and those that don't have IBD should have one every five years. If you already have PSC and have symptoms that mean IBD is suspected, expect to have a colonoscopy.

Not everyone's cup of tea

Important as colonoscopies are, they're not everyone's favourite experience, and that's often down to drinking the 'bowel prep' required to prepare the colon for the exam. It can be difficult for some people (not all) to drink and it can cause nausea and bloating. Not everyone manages to drink the prep in full or keep it down, meaning the bowel prep is sometimes not as effective as it could be.

Unless you no longer have a colon, colonoscopies are a fact of life if you have PSC - so what can be done to help drink the bowel prep and does it help?

12 top tips

We've put together a new list of the top 12 tips to make the prep easier to drink from members of our PSC community. Thank you to everyone who got involved.

Do tips like this really help?

Dr Keith Siau and colleagues took a look at the scientific evidence. Overall, the results showed that taking bowel prep with something other than water, or alongside something to mask the flavour, was an effective way to improve the palatability and taste, and reduce some of the side effects (vomiting and bloating) associated with taking bowel preps. There was no difference to the feeling of nausea or abdominal pain, but, importantly, for those people who drank bowel prep with something more flavoursome than plain water, the overall cleanliness of the bowel was superior and individuals reported they were more willing to repeat the bowel preparation in future.

Watch a short vlog

If you haven't yet had the pleasure of preparing for a colonoscopy, you might be wondering what it's like. Luckily, you don't have to wonder any more. PSC patient, James, captured his experience in a lighthearted vlog. It is definitely worth a watch!