Recent Blog Articles

Cancer

Laxative-free colonoscopy on the way?

Toilet-paper
May 14, 2012

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Comments

Tama Schlemmer
July 12, 2012

This new prep-free colon scan can’t come soon enough for me!! Was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at 30yrs old and have not had regular colonoscopies because as I get older, each time I try to do prep I get very ill throwing up etc… I know many others who have had just one colonoscopy and vow they will never do it again because they bacame so ill from the prep too. Please hurry with this technology many are in desperate need of it!

Brian Collins
June 10, 2012

Dear Colonoscopy Cohorts,

I’d like to tell you my colonoscopy story in case you face these same challenges.

About 15 years ago, I had my first colonoscopy (they are a piece of cake really), and the doctor found hundreds of polyps, but fortunately, no cancer. The general consensus (I got second, third and fourth opinions) was that I needed to have my colon removed (colectomy), as was standard procedure at the time. I did a lot of research, including speaking with those who had gone through a colectomy, and found that their quality of life had seriously diminished after the surgery. So my gastroenterologist suggested that we just go in every couple of months and remove as many polyps as possible in each two-hour session until they were all gone. We followed that path for two years before all the polyps had been removed. Then we went to a once a year schedule, and finally, now, are doing a colonoscopy every two years. Thus far, it’s worked like a charm.

No one could figure out why I continued to grow polyps, but since their numbers were under control, I figured that I could live with a scope every two years, when about 30 new polyps would be removed.

But I decided to do some experimenting with my diet, minimizing my intake of dairy, sugar, and gluten (found in wheat products) to see if the number of polyps would go down every two years. What I found out was that for me, the elimination of dairy and sugar didn’t make much difference. But when I eliminated gluten from my diet – very easy to do these days with all of the substitutes, including gluten-free beer – the number of new polyps removed went from about 30 four years ago, down to five two years ago, down to one last week. For me, gluten seems to be the trigger.

Here’s your takeaway from the above info:

1. Having large numbers of polyps doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have your colon removed. And
2. Removing gluten from your diet could diminish the number of new polyps, and reduce your chance of contracting cancer.

Darrel Fredrick
May 17, 2012

I think this will be better for a lot of people it’s always good to see medical working to help others. I wonder how long before this makes it’s way into doctors offices around the US.

Nicole Dominique
June 06, 2012

I hope it makes it here before my next colonoscopy in 2014 😉

Commenting has been closed for this post.

You might also be interested in…

Harvard Men's Health Watch

Reading Harvard Men’s Health Watch each month is the simplest, easiest thing you can do to improve your health. In today’s fast-paced, information-packed world, it’s not always easy to do the right thing for yourself. But a few minutes each month with Harvard’s physicians in the pages of Men’s Health Watch can help you reduce your stress, lower your blood pressure, reduce your cancer risk, ease your joint pain, and live a healthier life.

Read More