How to prepare for colonoscopy

Worried about your colonoscopy? Don’t be! Here is a guide on how to prepare for your colonoscopy so that you can relax and know what to expect.

What is a colonoscopy for?

The purpose of a colonoscopy is to check for polyps, ulcers, cancers, and other conditions inside the colon (large intestine). Prior to the procedure, you’ll be given medicine that will make you sleepy. You will then be given a sedative through an IV to help you relax which also makes most people forget having the procedure. 

Once you are sedated, the doctor will insert a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope into your rectum and slowly guide it through your large intestine. The tube has a camera and a headlight which allows the doctor to see the inside of your colon on a TV monitor. The doctor may also take biopsies (samples of tissue) during the procedure if anything looks abnormal.

What to eat before your colonoscopy?

It is important to follow a clear liquid diet the day before your colonoscopy. This means avoiding all solid food and instead consuming only liquids that are clear or have a very light color.

Some examples of liquids that you can drink on a clear liquid diet include:

  • Water
  • Fruit juices without pulp (such as apple or white grape juice)
  • Strained vegetable broth or consommé
  • Tea or coffee without milk or creamer
  • Gelatin
  • Sports drinks (such as Gatorade)

It is important to avoid drinking anything that is red, purple, or blue in color as this can interfere with the colonoscopy. You should also avoid drinking alcohol on the day before your procedure.

If you are unsure about whether a particular liquid is allowed on a clear liquid diet, be sure to ask your doctor or the medical staff at the facility where you will be having your colonoscopy.

What to avoid before your colonoscopy?

There are certain foods and drinks that you should avoid in the days and weeks leading up to your colonoscopy. These include:

  • Red meat
  • Processed meats (such as hot dogs, bacon, and deli meats)
  • Foods that are high in fat or grease (such as fried foods)
  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Spicy foods
  • Nicotine (from cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc.)

It is important to avoid these foods and drinks because they can make it more difficult for the doctor to see inside your intestine during the colonoscopy.

Lastly please ensure that you planned a securing a safe form of transportation. After a colonoscopy, you can be drowsy for hours. It is in your best interest to secure a taxi or a ride with a family member.

Preparing for the best

Preparing for a colonoscopy can seem like a daunting task, but it is important to do everything you can to ensure that the procedure goes smoothly. By following a clear liquid diet and avoiding certain foods and drinks in the days leading up to your colonoscopy, you can help the doctor get a better view of your intestine during the procedure.

Visit any of our clinics to get a referral for a colonoscopy. Our healthcare providers can provide you with more information about the procedure.  

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Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered, construed or interpreted as legal or professional advice, guidance or opinion.

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