Walking improves bowel prep for colonoscopy
The value of colonoscopy for screening for colon cancer depends a lot on how well the bowel is cleared before the procedure—and now physicians in South Korea have shown that the usual cleansing process is improved by having patients simply walk.
Walking results in better colon cleansing without increasing patient discomfort and should be recommended as part of routine colonoscopic bowel preparation, the team says.
“Adequate bowel preparation is one of the most difficult aspects of colonoscopy,” Dr. Hyun Soo Kim and colleagues note in their report in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Poor preparation increases the risk of lesions being missed, of complications and a prolonged procedure time.
Based on animal studies showing that exercise improved defecation, Kim, from Yonsei University Wonju College of Medicine in Seoul, and colleagues theorized that walking would improve colonic cleansing.
For their study, they randomly assigned some 350 patients to walking exercise or to a non-exercise group, with both groups drinking the same amount of bowel-cleansing PEG solution.
Those in the exercise group were instructed to drink some of the solution and then walk for at least 5 minutes, and repeat at 10-minutes intervals until they had finished all the solution. Those in the non-exercise group drank the same amounts of PEG every 10 minutes, but rested in between.
Significantly more patients in the exercise group had excellent or good preparations than in the non-exercise group—41% versus 25%.
The researchers also found walking was most beneficial for younger, non-obese patients and say it should be recommended for this group in particular.
SOURCE: American Journal of Gastroenterology, September 5, 2005.
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