I've been successfully in complete remission with the SCD for 14 years now, but when I was diagnosed with Crohn's back in 2001, my doctor said it is recommended to have a colonoscopy 10 years after diagnosis. (From what I gather, most people need them much more frequently than that if they aren't on the SCD to manage their disease . . . I've lucked out!)
Babies, surgery for another unrelated issue, and “life” slowed me down from having that dreaded check-up. But then I started getting mystery pain last summer and decided I'd better bite the bullet and have the colonoscopy done . . . just in case there was something I needed to address.
I had to find a GI doctor because I blessedly haven't needed to see one since I walked out the door 14 years ago after telling my GI doctor that I was doing great on the SCD. I asked my general doctor for a recommendation and made an appointment to get the test set up.
The new GI doctor was interested in my great health and said I'm “essentially asymptomatic,” and said she would look up my website because she had never heard of such a diet.
First hurtle over. I now needed to do research on preps and find one that was the most legal possible. (Because why in the world would I want to have the first flare-up in over a decade because I was just checking things out in there?! Not worth it.)
The GI doctor prescribed SuPrep. At first the ingredients looked innocent enough, but upon reading the small print on their website, I discovered inactive ingredients include sucralose and “flavoring” (could be anything!) that could throw me into a flare-up. So, I did a little research by asking others online who are on the SCD.
I was surprised that most others on the SCD just take the liquid preps that contain many ingredients that are not SCD-friendly. And of those that did, they mentioned having bad flare-ups afterward. That fact alone inspired me to write this post!
How can a person do a prep that is as SCD friendly as possible?
A couple of people mentioned that they used a pill prep called OsmoPrep and that it worked well for them. Although it contains some illegals, it isn't liquid so it would have the least illegals possible, it seems. With OsmoPrep, a person uses their own liquids. An SCDer could drink SCD-legal broths and juices along with the pills.
The only thing that kind of freaked me out about these pills was that there have been rare cases of kidney problems and even kidney failure in connection with people taking them.
I did some more research, and basically found that although the research isn't conclusive on why certain people had kidney issues with the OsmoPrep, doctors have discussed the issue and overall feel it is safe to prescribe them to people with no history of kidney problems or medications that could interfere with the OsmoPrep. The other big factor is that because there is no liquid with the pill, they can't make sure that patients are drinking enough liquids with them.
Here are a couple of helpful articles I found :
This one is about the risk of taking OsmoPrep:
This one was technical but helpful in that it gives an honest evaluation of why people might have trouble, from doctors' viewpoints. It made me feel better about taking OsmoPrep since I have no history of kidney problems, I take no conflicting medications, and I vowed to myself to drink MORE water than even required.
I asked my doctor to prescribe OsmoPrep instead of the SuPrep, and she was reluctant to do so because she didn't have any experience with patients using it, but I went through with it anyway and had her prescribe it.
So, with the prep decision made, I began preparing which clear liquids to have on hand.
For the prep, this is what I did:
The day before and the day of the prep I drank lots of water and other clear SCD-legal liquids. This was to ensure that I went into the colonoscopy well hydrated and thus minimize the risk of kidney issues from the OsmoPrep.
12 oz. of water with each set of OsmoPrep pills (the bottle gives directions on how many rounds to do. One round the afternoon before, and the second round early on the morning of the colonoscopy).
I drank some Welch's White Grape Juice and made a few popsicles for variety. The popsicles did help me feel like I was eating something when I was really hungry!
I made homemade chicken broth ahead of time and skimmed all of the fat off of the top after chilling it in the fridge. Then I went even further and strained the broth before freezing it in 2 cup increments in quart-sized Ziplock bags. (Removing all of the fat is important to getting a clear scope!) I heated it up as needed during prep and recovery and added salt to taste. This helps replenish the electrolytes lost (and makes it taste great!).
I drank a lot of SCD-friendly tea with honey. Yum!
The day of was pretty easy. I had done all of the hard work, and I could be put to sleep and then be done when I woke up! The Dr. said everything went well and the OsmoPrep had worked well in allowing clear viewing during the scope.
I definitely recommend taking it slow on re-introducing foods. The pain from the air they pump in to see things better takes a day or two to settle down, and my body didn't want much more than clear liquids for that day and much of the next.
I then started drinking my peanut butter smoothie and some yogurt with honey, and worked up from there.
The whole ordeal definitely made me less able to handle things emotionally for the next few days until I was replenished nutritionally. I just took it easy and was feeling better soon.
The results of the colonoscopy? The biopsies throughout the colon showed inactive Crohn's disease! There was one little section that was inflamed and the Dr. offered to treat me for it, but I declined since I have no symptoms and I am going to bet that it was inflamed from all of the trauma of the prep and the few illegal ingredients in the OsmoPrep pills!
I'm pretty sure the pain I've felt is due to adhesions from the unrelated surgery I had a little over a year ago.
Whew! Although I knew I was healthy and doing great on the SCD, it was a relief and interesting to see proof and to be DONE with that check-up.
I'm so thankful for the fantastic health and quality of life I have with the SCD!
Is it hard sometimes? Sure. But anything worthwhile in life is rarely easy. It takes willpower and determination to stick to the SCD, but it is totally worth it!!
Skipping debilitating symptoms? Skipping surgeries and strong medications with harmful side effects? Count me in!
I hope this is helpful to someone else facing a colonoscopy while on the SCD. You can do it!
P.S. I am sharing my personal experience, and it does not substitute for a doctor's advice! :)
Hi! I'm Erin, from over at NoMoreCrohns.com. I know firsthand the healing power of food, and I love to share delicious recipes with you! While everything I make is free of gluten, grains, lactose, and refined sugar, none is short on flavor! It is flavor first for good health here. Enjoy.
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