Colonoscopy Prep Alternatives (Microbiome Friendly)

Recently I read an article about how colon cancer is on the rise in Americans under age 55. While the exact causes are unknown, unhealthy diets, alcohol intake, and sedentary lifestyles are believed to contribute.
Most of my newsletters focus on actions you can take to improve your diet and lifestyle so today I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to support your gut health while using early detection screenings.

There are 4 screening tests recommended by doctors to find polyps and/or colorectal cancer: stool tests, flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy–the one most everyone has heard of, and CT Colonography or virtual colonoscopy.
Stool tests look for abnormal DNA and blood in your stool; flexible sigmoidoscopy uses a thin lighted tube to check for polyps in the rectum and lower third of the colon; colonoscopy uses a longer lighted tube to check for polyps inside the rectum and entire colon; and a virtual colonoscopy uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon. Here’s the pros and cons of each.
If polyps or abnormal DNA is detected, then the current recommendations are to get a colonoscopy and have the polyps removed and tested to see if they are cancerous or not.

Prepping For Colonoscopy

Most of you are aware that prior to getting a colonoscopy, there is prepping that must be done to clear out the colon (hours-long process of drinking a salty solution followed by a lot of time on the toilet.
There are some easier alternatives that involve tablets versus the high-volume drink; split dosing of the high-volume drink; low-volume drink versions; and flavor mixes that can be added to these drinks to improve the flavor. Here is an explanation of each.
Some chemical free alternatives include a magnesium citrate protocol or colon hydrotherapy,
In any case, clearing out your bowels will substantially change your gut microbiota and it takes about 14 days for most people’s bacterial balance to recover to baseline.

3 Tips To Help Your Microbiome Bounce Back

There are some strategies to help your friendly flora build back after a colonoscopy: your nutrition, stress level, and sleep are all going to influence those 400 or so strains of bacteria that live in your colon and support your immune system, digestion, and production of certain vitamins (K, B2, and B12). Aside from keeping your stress down, getting enough rest, and eating a healthy diet, here are 3 specific tips for you:

  1. Right after your colonoscopy, go for easily digestible foods such as pureed soups or slow cooked foods that also help you to rehydrate. Opt for nutrient dense options–clean proteins and fiber rich veggies. This is good for your body all the time, not just after a colonoscopy!
  2. I recommend eating any prebiotic foods that agree with your system because prebiotics feed your healthy flora and will help them bounce back more quickly. Examples are chicory, sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), leeks, garlic, psyllium, and artichokes. If you tolerate raw asparagus, raw leeks, and raw dandelion greens, those are high in prebiotics. Listen to your body. If you experience a lot of gas when you eat prebiotic foods, you may need to back off on the quantity and allow your body to adjust.
  3. Probiotic foods are also helpful for building your friendly flora back. Yogurt, kefir, and raw dairy are popular options but if dairy doesn’t work for you, there are dairy free options such as coconut yogurt or kefir or water kefir. Other great non-dairy probiotic foods are fermented vegetables (green beans, kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented pickles), natto, miso, tempeh, kvass, and kombucha.

I hope that this information is helpful for you to be a more confident advocate for yourself in choosing the right screening test as well as knowing some great strategies to help your friendly gut flora bounce back if you get a colonoscopy.

It is my passion to work with people like you who want to sustain or regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

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