- Mellissa Gilbert, 59, shared how she’s modifying colonoscopy prep to better cater to her sensitive gastrointestinal tract.
- Colonoscopy prep involves drinking a laxative-based solution to clear the bowels for examination.
- “In the past I’ve ended up in a full-blown IBS situation for days and days after,” she wrote.
We know Melissa Gilbert to get real about aging and her disdain for Botox, so it comes as no surprise that the Little House on the Prairie star, 59, would openly share her colonoscopy prep, too. A new Instagram of hers pictures a large jug of lemon-lime flavored solution that’s used to clean out the bowels before the procedure, and in the caption, she detailed the uncomfortable struggles she’s had with prep in the past.
If you’re not familiar, a colonoscopy is carried out using a flexible camera to examine the colon for possible signs of cancer, like polyps or bleeding, per the Cleveland Clinic. And clearing out the bowels with a laxative-type product is crucial in ensuring the procedure’s success.
In her post, Gilbert explained how she approached her prep differently than usual (with her doctor’s advice, of course) to avoid Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)-related complications she’s experienced previously.
“I’ve had colonoscopies before and the prep has caused me quite a bit of distress. More than the usual discomfort. In the past I’ve ended up in a full-blown IBS situation for days and days after,” she explained.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are various different types of bowel prep kit solutions, and polymer-based (a.k.a. PEG) formulas are the most commonly prescribed and gentlest on those with stomach sensitivities because they don’t disturb the intestinal soft tissue. Gilbert’s photo of her jug clearly states that it’s a PEG formula.
“Rather than drinking the yucky stuff in one two-to-three hour go, my [doctor] has recommended I start late morning and drink a couple of glasses then wait an hour or two, then drink a couple more, and so on until I’m done and everything is all clear,” she explained. “He assured me that I will tolerate the prep better.”
She added that she also followed a modified liquid diet of low fiber, no leafy greens, vegetable peels, nuts, or popcorn, and ate lots of rice, pasta, smoothies, juices, and fish for about four days prior.
“If this is something you’re worried about, ask your [doctor] before you start your prep,” she wrote, urging others to schedule their own colonoscopies. “Don’t procrastinate. Get her done,” she added, concluding her post with a witty pun: “I’m going to be busy today as I have lots of sh*t to do.”
Gilbert has yet to share an update, but fingers crossed that everything went well!
Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer who reports on all things health and nutrition for Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Prevention. Her hobbies include perpetual coffee sipping and pretending to be a Chopped contestant while cooking.
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