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Colonoscopy Preparation

Some of the first steps in preparing for a colonoscopy include reviewing your medical history with your physician and arranging a ride home from the procedure. The next phase of colonoscopy preparation involves emptying your colon by following a liquid diet and taking the laxative your doctor prescribes. On the day of your colonoscopy, final preparations include receiving an IV, blood pressure cuff, and other equipment to help monitor your condition during the procedure.

Colonoscopy Preparation: Before the Procedure

In the days leading up to your colonoscopy, your doctor will want to discuss your medical history and any medical conditions you may have. Be sure to bring a list of your current medications to your appointment, including prescriptions and any over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal remedies you are taking. Also tell your doctor if you have any allergies.
At your appointment, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding:
  • Where and when to arrive at the medical facility
  • How to do your colonoscopy preparation
  • What to expect the day of and the days following your procedure.
You'll need to arrange a ride home after the colonoscopy -- you won't be allowed to drive because of the sedatives you'll be given during the procedure. Your doctor may also give you other special instructions.

Preparing Your Bowel for Colonoscopy

For the colonoscopy to be thorough and safe, your bowel must be completely empty. So, to prepare for the procedure you may have to follow a liquid diet for one to three days beforehand.
A liquid diet means consuming only:
  • Fat-free bouillon or broth
  • Strained fruit juice
  • Water
  • Plain coffee
  • Plain tea
  • Diet soda.


In most cases, you can also eat gelatin or Popsicles® in any color except red or blue.


The night before the procedure, you will also take one of several types of laxatives (such as Golytely® or Fleets Phospho-Soda®). This is known as a bowel prep.

(Click Bowel Prep Using Fleets Phospho-Soda for more information on this topic.)
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Prep for Colonoscopy

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