Before your colonoscopy, you must take a laxative medication and restrict your diet to clear your colon of stool so that the doctor can clearly see any abnormal areas in your colon during the procedure. If your colon is not completely emptied, the chances your doctor will miss abnormalities increases, and you may even have to repeat the procedure.
By the day before your test, you should already have your bowel prep. Your doctor may have prescribed and sent the bowel prep medication to your pharmacy or may have instructed you to take a bowel prep that is over-the-counter. Alternatively, your doctor may have requested that the bowel prep be mailed to you. Typically, bowel prep medication is a solution that you will need to drink starting one day before your procedure. You will be asked to take the colon prep in two doses: the first dose, 3-6 pm the night before your procedure; the second dose, 6-8 hours before your procedure.
One bowel prep medication type may not be right for everyone, and you should always use the bowel prep medication that your doctor has directed you to use. Colonoscopy bowel prep instructions are listed below by medication type for your convenience: CLENPIQ®, GoLYTELY®, MiraLAX®, MoviPrep®, PLENVU®, OsmoPrep® and SUPREP®.
The instructions are available in English and en Español.
Three days before your procedure, you should begin a “low-residue diet” to limit high-fiber foods, which your colon takes longer to clear.
High-fiber foods that you should avoid include:
Foods that you may eat include:
Beginning one full day (24 hours) before your procedure, you must begin a clear liquid diet, which means that you should NOT eat any solid foods and should ONLY drink clear liquids. For example, if your procedure is on Thursday morning, you should not eat any solid foods for Wednesday breakfast, lunch, and dinner and should only drink liquids that are clear. Aim to drink at least 12 tall glasses (about 8-10 ounces each) of clear liquids throughout the day in addition to what you drink with your bowel prep solution/medication.
A clear liquid diet consists of drinking only “clear” liquids, such as:
Alcohol can make you dehydrated and you should not drink alcohol while preparing for your test.
Beginning four hours before your procedure, you should STOP drinking clear liquids. This means that you should not have anything to eat or drink beginning four hours before your procedure.
After your procedure, you will be able to resume a normal diet, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.
You must have someone accompany you home the day of your procedure, even if you take a cab. You will not be able to drive yourself home. You can also use public transportation (taxi or bus), but only if you have an adult who can escort you home. The Medical Procedure Staff must be able to contact whoever will accompany you. If this person cannot be confirmed prior to the procedure, your procedure will be rescheduled for your safety. You should not drive a car, operate machinery, return to work, drink alcohol, or make any legal decisions the after your procedure until the following day.
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