Colonoscopy Bowel Prep: Ensuring a Clean and Effective Examination

Your GI specialist will give you specifics, but in general, what follows here is the information you need for a successful colonoscopy.
CT Colonoscopy vs. Traditional Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy examination is the gold standard in colon cancer screening. Recommended at regular intervals for people ages 45 and older, this minimally invasive test requires some preparation. Your GI specialist will give you specifics, but in general, what follows here is the information you need for a successful colonoscopy.

You Will Need to Fast the Day Before Your Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy involves insertion of a thin endoscope through the rectum and into the large bowel, or colon. With it, the gastroenterologist uses a small light and video imaging to see and remove polyps, benign growths which are the precursors of colon cancer. The doctor also checks for other problems within the large intestine – areas of bleeding, diverticulitis and more.

To get a clear view of the interior lining of the colon, your physician will ask you to fast for a full 24 hours. This means you cannot consume any solid foods, dairy or liquids containing pulp or any other kinds of solids. Your doctor will instruct you if and when to take any medications you are on, such as blood pressure medications.

You Will Need to Drink Clear Liquids the Day Before Your Colonoscopy

Have as much water, clear broth and juice, soda pop and lemon ice as you wish to have. In fact, the more you consume, the better your “clean out” will be.

However, be sure to avoid dairy products, red/purple drinks (such as sports drinks or grape juice) and any liquid containing pulp. Do not consume alcohol.

Take Your Prescribed Liquid Laxatives

Your GI specialist will prescribe liquid laxatives for you to take in certain amounts and at certain intervals the evening before your test. While this is the part of the exam prep which people dislike, it is absolutely necessary.

The right prep eliminates all residues from the bowel, giving the doctor a clear view of the lining and enabling them to visualize and remove polyps for biopsy.

If you don’t prep correctly, your doctor won’t be able to see the colon tissue clearly. This means that you may have to repeat the whole process again for another colonoscopy – along with all the same liquid laxatives – so make sure to follow the prep steps just as your doctor ordered.

To make the liquid laxative experience easier, be sure to stay home with the bathroom in close proximity. You will have to use the toilet frequently, but thankfully, as you near the end of your prescribed doses, you will see your bowel movements run clear. This is ideal for a good test the next day.

Helpful Tips for a Good Preparation

Your preparation day might not be the most pleasant you have ever had. However, you can make it easier by following these tips:

  1. Keep your laxative liquid in the fridge and drink it cold. People find that the cold temperature makes it easier to tolerate.
  2. Drink the liquid with a straw, rather than just chugging it down.
  3. Your liquid diet should be composed of drinks you really love – Sprite, sparkling water and juices, popsicles. Just avoid red and purple colors.
  4. Black coffee is OK, but limit the caffeine.
  5. Finish your liquid laxative. Even if you think your colon is completely emptied and clean, drink it all to be sure that all residues are gone so your doctor gets good images of the interior of your large bowel.

Pre-colonoscopy Preparation and Colonoscopy at Genensis Healthcare Partners

At Genensis Healthcare Partners, our providers encourage adults to keep up to date on their colonoscopy screenings. They help patients have the most comfortable and accurate tests possible, and the right prep is an important part of the assessment process.

Call us today to learn more or to book your colonoscopy. We have 20 convenient locations in the state of California. In addition, you can arrange your first visit online. We hope to see you soon!