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How do you prepare for a colostomy?

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Quick Answer

To prepare for a colostomy, abstain from foods for 12 hours before the procedure, and take a laxative or enema as instructed by the doctor, according to Healthline. Inform your doctor about previous surgeries and current medications, including supplements and over-the-counter drugs.

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Doctors typically advise patients to take a laxative or enema the night prior to a colostomy to cleanse the bowels, explains Healthline. Before a colostomy, the doctor performs a full examination that includes reviewing the patient's medical history, conducting a physical examination and taking blood samples.

During the surgery, a nurse puts an IV in the patient's arm to administer medications, states Healthline. The patient receives general anesthesia through the IV, allowing him to sleep painlessly throughout the operation. A colostomy involves creating either a large incision or smaller incisions for laparoscopy, which uses a camera that guides tiny tools into the incisions.

As patients often stay in the hospital for three to seven days after the surgery, it helps to pack essentials, take a medical leave from work and arrange care for children, notes Healthline. Recovery involves gradually consuming clear liquids and soft foods, starting with ice chips on the first day. Doctors also teach patients about the proper use of colostomy bags as well as proper diet, lifestyle and activity level.

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