Colonoscopy Prep for a Stoma Patient

Man talking with his doctor about colonoscopy prep
According to Healthline, a colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the inside of the large intestine. This is done to check the bowel for disease or abnormalities. Learn how a colonoscopy works for those with a stoma and how to prepare for the procedure from the wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) nurse, Cheryl Hutton, with CHC Solutions, Inc.

Procedure Details

The instrument that is used during the procedure is called an endoscope. It is a thin, flexible tube that is lubricated and has a camera at the end. This way, the doctor or nurse can see inside the bowel. Typically, the tube would pass through the rectum and into the lower part of the bowel. However, for those with a stoma, the tube passes through the stoma itself and into the remaining part of the large bowel.

Preparing for the Colonoscopy

Before the colonoscopy, there is a consulting appointment. The doctor will provide instructions on how to clear the bowel prior to the procedure. It is important that the bowel is clean so that the doctor can clearly see inside.

Each hospital has its own preparation instructions. So, make sure to carefully read the information given as it will provide directions on what to eat and drink during the days leading up to the test. Most likely, you will need to follow a clear liquid diet prior to the colonoscopy. The doctor should provide a list of liquids that are safe to drink and those to avoid.

Laxatives and any other bowel prep, as well as instructions on use, will also be provided to help empty the bowel. Therefore, expect to spend a lot of time near the bathroom as frequent diarrhea prior to the colonoscopy is common.

Discuss with your doctor any medication you are taking before taking bowel preparation liquids or medications. You may need to temporarily stop your medication depending on your doctor’s advice. It is important to seek professional advice before stopping a medication. It’s also a good idea to take the medicines to the consultation appointment prior to the procedure.

Hints and Tips for Colonoscopy Through the Stoma Preparation

There are a few things you can do to help prepare for the colonoscopy through the stoma, but remember to always confirm best practices with your doctor:

  • During bowel preparation, arrange for some additional supplies for the stoma. The pouch will need changed more often.
  • Try a drainable (high-output) pouch while taking bowel prep. This way, you can drain the contents in the toilet. This pouch can stay on rather than having to remove it each time it needs to be emptied.
  • Have plenty of dry wipes and hand sanitizer to cleanse the hands and wipe the pouch opening.
  • Use a barrier wipe for the skin around the stoma to help protect the parastomal skin.
  • Take plenty of stoma supplies to the hospital or outpatient center for the colonoscopy procedure (they may not have your brand in stock).
  • Take a spare pouch to the consultation to familiarize the doctor or nurse who will re-apply the pouch after the procedure is over.

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*Disclaimer: Any health and wellness content presented is for general informational purposes only. Such content is not intended to replace or serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.