How Should I Prep for a Colonoscopy?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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A colonoscopy can’t be called a fun procedure and it does require more preparation than simply showing up at the doctor’s office on the day of the procedure. It is extremely important you adhere to all instructions given by a doctor that help you prep for a colonoscopy. Failure to follow these instructions may result in poor testing results, which means you might have to repeat the test. Instructions from a doctor may vary slightly for each patient, but there are a few things you are likely to be told to do.

Part of the prep for a colonoscopy is to clean out the colon so that doctors performing the procedure can see all parts of it. This means your bowels must be empty. You can usually have clear liquids and you’ll take laxatives, and may drink a special solution provided by your doctor that promotes colon cleaning. You should probably plan to avoid any activities twenty-four hours before your test. You will need to be a near a bathroom since it is likely you will need to use the bathroom very frequently once you’ve started to prep for a colonoscopy by taking laxatives and the special liquids your doctor gives you.


These liquids — which don’t taste very good — should be refrigerated. Drinking them with ice and using a straw to sip them slowly may help. Some people feel nauseous when they drink these liquids and slower drinking can help prevent throwing up. Also, as per your doctor’s orders, you shouldn’t drink any unclear liquids or eat any solid foods. Pay attention to the specific time at which you need to stop eating foods. If you can still drink clear liquids, don’t drink anything that is red, since this can corrupt test results.

If you take medications or vitamins, you may be asked not to take them as a part of prep for a colonoscopy. Discuss any and all meds or vitamins you take, whether they are prescribed or over the counter. Your colon lining can be affected by things like iron pills, and you are usually asked not to take these at least 24 hours in advance of your colonoscopy. You may need to discontinue taking certain types of anticoagulants because they may create problems with bleeding.

Part of your prep for a colonoscopy should be planning to get transportation home after you’ve had the procedure. Since many people are at least partially sedated during the procedure, you’ll be asked not to drive afterwards. It’s a good idea to make sure you can rest too, since plenty of people don’t feel that great for several hours or the rest of the day. Most people can expect a little gas or abdominal discomfort and you may want to stock your fridge with some light and simple foods you can eat once your test is done. Good choices include things like yogurt, and simply prepared chicken breast.

Remember that though prep for a colonoscopy is not all that fun, this test is a vital means of making sure your colon is in good health. Colon cancer can be a killer but when people get appropriate screening, the risk of having undiagnosed colon cancer reduces significantly. When people get regular screenings any early symptoms of colon cancer can be quickly addressed.



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Post 2

I remember that I could have lemon or orange jello and popsicles, but nothing with any red or purple in it. One thing that really helped me drink the clear liquid was first of all to make sure it was very cold. Then I took a sip of Sprite before taking a drink of the liquid. For some reason the carbonation in the soda helped get it down. I also had some of the flavoring added to help a little with the taste.

Thinking about what you have to do for colonoscopy prep is not fun at all, but it really isn't painful - just uncomfortable - and by the time you have the procedure you are feeling pretty weak.

Post 1

I had to have the dreaded colonoscopy when I turned 50 years old. I cleared my calendar from noon the day before and made sure to schedule the procedure for as early in the morning as possible the next day.

When preparing for a colonoscopy just don't plan on going anywhere or doing much for the afternoon and evening before. I was told to begin fasting at noon, so ate a light breakfast and began drinking the clear liquid in the early afternoon.

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