Blog | Monday, December 15, 2008

Colonoscopy prep harder on women

Colonoscopies are especially important for women, because they're more likely to have polyps or lesions deeper in the colon. But the bowel prep, the part most essential to a thorough screening, is harder for women.

Harvard Women's Health Watch (pay-per-view subscription, $3.95) reported that 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.

Harvard Women's Health Watch suggests giving patients the following advice to help women with bowel prep:
  • Read prep instructions well before the procedure date. Some food and drugs must be stopped a week before;
  • Arrange the time and privacy ahead of well before beginning the prep;
  • Add Crystal Light or Kool-Aid (not red, blue or purple) to the foul-tasting prep solution. Drink it chilled; drink it through a straw far back on your tongue; or hold a lemon slice under the nose while drinking it; and
  • Water can get boring, so keep a variety of clear liquids on hand to drink.

ACP Internist highlights ways to make colonoscopy screening easier on patients, including video interviews, as well as reviews expert opinions on two guidelines on colon screening methods released in 2008.