Colonoscopy Prep Instructions

Conditions and Services

By scheduling your colonoscopy you have taken an important step for your health. Shortly before the procedure, you will receive instructions on how to prepare your bowel. For a successful colonoscopy, you must understand and follow the instructions.

During your colonoscopy, your physician will use a lighted tube with a camera. This enables the doctor to see inside your colon and detect abnormalities including growths called polyps that can turn into cancer. If you fail to follow the instructions completely, your colon will not be clear and your doctor may not be able to see some of the abnormalities present. Consequently, your physician might need to repeat the colonoscopy.

Failing to follow the preparation instructions completely might also:

  • Increase the length of your colonoscopy
  • Increase your risk of complications
  • Make it necessary to cancel and reschedule your colonoscopy. As a result, you’ll have to do the prep again.

A few days before your procedure you will meet with your provider, who will review your personal and family health history and then examine you. Then your doctor will select a bowel preparation especially for you and provide you with oral and written instructions. It is important that you understand the instructions completely. If you have trouble understanding or remembering, we suggest that you bring a family member to your appointment.

Although there are many different brands of prep, they all include a combination of a clear liquid diet and pill and/or liquid laxatives. Clear liquids include fat-free bouillon or broth, gelatin, strained fruit juice (no red grape juice or any liquid with red color), and water. You will be instructed not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure. In addition, your physician may instruct you not to take certain medications prior to your procedure.

Should you have any questions about your prep, don’t hesitate to call your physician’s office. The staff will be happy to answer your questions.