Pre-Colonoscopy Prep Handout

How to Prepare Before Your Colonoscopy Procedure

Your colonoscopy is scheduled on DATE at TIME.

Pre-anesthesia evaluation appointment (if needed):

One-Day Prep Instructions for Colonoscopy

For your safety, you must follow the pre-colonoscopy prep instructions strictly. If you do not, there's a likely chance that your procedure may be canceled or rescheduled for another date.

If you take blood thinners or have a pacemaker/defibrillator, please call our office and speak to a nurse. If you take an iron supplement, please stop this 7 days prior to your procedure.

Dietary Recommendations

The key requirement for a successful colonoscopy is a clean colon. Switching to a low-fiber diet 3 days before your scheduled colonoscopy will help keep your colon clear during the procedure.

The following low-fiber foods are acceptable to eat a week before your colonoscopy:

  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Meat
  • Dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and butter
  • White rice and pasta
  • White or light wheat bread
  • Potatoes (avoid skin)
  • Clear liquids

Avoid any foods that are high in fiber, as well as fiber supplements. Fibrous foods take longer to be digested and add bulk to your stool, reducing your chances of a successful colonoscopy and screening. Increasing your fluid intake while on a low-fiber diet is also important.

Liquid Recommendations

The day before the procedure, avoid any red or purple liquids as they can affect the results of your colonoscopy. You are allowed to consume the following fluids:

  • Water
  • Clear juices (without any pulp; no orange juice)
  • Jell-O (without the added toppings and fruit)
  • Clear Soda (regular or diet)
  • Popsicles or sorbets (lemon, peach, or mango)
  • Clear chicken, beef, or vegetable broth or bouillon (avoid canned or boxed broths)
  • Black coffee (no milk, cream, or non-dairy creamer)
  • Black tea (no milk, cream, or non-dairy creamer)
  • Clear sports drinks like Gatorade
  • Pedialyte

Switch to clear liquids, i.e., apple juice, white grape juice, water, or ginger ale, from 11:00 P.M. until X hours before your arrival on the day of the procedure.

The general rule of thumb as you prepare for a colonoscopy is if you cannot see through the drink if it contains pulp or anything you need to chew, do not drink it. This includes:

  • Smoothies
  • Blended fruit and vegetable drinks
  • Dairy products
  • Non-dairy products, i.e., almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, or rice milk
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Tomato juice
  • Alcohol
  • Orange juice

How to Administer the Laxatives

Staying hydrated as you begin to prep for your procedure is vital as it clears out your colon and helps maintain your electrolyte balance before and after your colonoscopy.

You will begin to have liquid stools, usually around 2 hours after starting the prep. You may experience diarrhea for about 4 to 5 hours or until your colon has emptied out.

Your stool should be clear at the time of your colonoscopy. It will be completely transparent without any solid matter.

The day before your colonoscopy

Start the first dose of your prescribed laxative the afternoon or evening before the procedure. The instructions for usage will depend on the scheduled time of your colonoscopy and the bowel prep method you were asked to use. Cramping can be a regular occurrence for some throughout the prep process.

The day of your colonoscopy

Consume clear liquids only, but stop eating or drinking X hours before your scheduled procedure.

X hours before your colonoscopy

Drink the second half of your prep dose. The American Gastroenterological Association and American College of Gastroenterology recommend splitting your dose of laxatives to ensure your colon is thoroughly cleansed.

Stop drinking completely X hours before your scheduled colonoscopy. Your procedure will likely be canceled if you do not adhere to this and even consume gum, mints, or candy.

When to Arrive for Your Colonoscopy

Report to the practice X minutes before your appointment for registration—you will be here for about 2-3 hours.

Bring a responsible adult who can drive you home after the procedure.

The information on this website is provided for educational and information purposes only and is not medical advice. Always consult with a licensed medical provider and follow their recommendations regardless of what you read on this website. If you think you are having a medical emergency, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Links to other third-party websites are provided for your convenience only. If you decide to access any of the third-party websites, you do so entirely at your own risk and subject to the terms of use for those websites. Neither Arnon Lambroza, M.D., P.C., nor any contributor to this website, makes any representation, express or implied, regarding the information provided on this website or any information you may access on a third-party website using a link. Use of this website does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you would like to request an appointment with a health care provider, please call our office at 212-517-7570.

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