Colonoscopy: How do I prepare for it?


How do I Prepare for a Colonoscopy?

A health care professional will give you written bowel prep instructions to follow at home before the procedure so that little or no stool remains in your intestine. A complete bowel prep lets you pass stool that is clear and liquid. Stool inside your intestine can prevent your doctor from clearly seeing the lining.

You should avoid red and purple-colored drinks or gelatin. The instructions will include details about when to start and stop the clear liquid diet.

In most cases, you may drink or eat the following:
– fat-free bouillon or broth
gelatin in flavors such as lemon, lime, or orange
plain coffee or tea, without cream or milk
sports drinks in flavors such as lemon, lime, or orange
strained fruit juice, such as apple or white grape (avoid orange juice)
water and pills that you swallow or powders that you dissolve in water or clear liquids.

Some people will need to drink a large amount, often a gallon, of liquid laxative over a scheduled amount of time—most often the night before and the morning of the procedure.

Your doctor may also prescribe an enema. You may find this part of the bowel prep hard; however, finishing the prep is very important. Call a health care professional if you have side effects that keep you from finishing the prep.

A friend or family member can provide much needed support before and after your visit.


1. NIH

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