Preparing for a Colonoscopy

While no colon preparation is fun, our regimen has been developed to make it as simple and effective as possible. Please follow each instruction as given. The most important step prior to your colonoscopy is emptying out your colon by following the "bowel prep" given to you by your nurse.

If you have a pacemaker, mitral valve prolapse, artificial heart valves or artificial joints, please alert your nurse or doctor.

You may continue to take your routine medications during your colonoscopy preparation. However, if you are taking blood thinners like Eliquis®, Warfarin, Xarelto®, Plavix, Coumadin®, Heparin, Pradaxa® or Iron, please make your nurse or doctor aware. If you are diabetic and take pills or insulin, your doctor may give you exact instructions about how to take your medicines and how to prepare for your colonoscopy.

It's important to talk with your doctor if you don't understand what to do with your medications. Never be afraid to ask questions.

24 hours before your colonoscopy

General guidelines advise you follow a clear liquid diet throughout the day prior to your procedure. That means no red, orange or purple drinks and avoid milk or citrus drinks with pulp.

You can eat honey, flavored gelatin (no red, purple or orange flavors), clear broth, popsicles and hard candy. You must NOT eat any solid foods the day before your colonoscopy. You may only have a clear liquid diet.

Drink only clear liquids before your colonoscopy such as lemonade, Sprite/7 Up and water. Be sure 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. Avoid dark beverages such as coffee and cola products. Do not drink alcohol before your test. No red, orange or purple drinks and avoid milk or citrus drinks with pulp.

By the day before your test you should have your bowel prep. If not, let your physician know.

  • After midnight on the day of your procedure you may have no more than 24 ounces of tea, water, Propel or Gatorade, and you must stop drinking these liquids three hours before you check in at the facility.
  • Please no gum after midnight.
  • Take your medications with only a sip of water no later than 3 hours prior to your check-in time.

Tips to help with preparing for a colonoscopy:

  • Plan to remain close to toilet facilities.
  • We recommend Charmin Plus toilet tissue to minimize anal irritation from wiping.
  • Rub a small amount of hydrocortisone cream on the outside of the anus to lessen irritation.
  • If you are having a menstrual period, it is okay to wear a tampon.

Should you have any questions about your prep, please call your physician’s office. After hours we have a prep nurse available to answer your questions every night of the week until 9 p.m.