You are scheduled for a colonoscopy, an examination of the colon (large intestine) with a lighted flexible scope. During the colonoscopy, if an abnormality is seen, it will usually be biopsied at that time. This involves removing a portion or all of the abnormal area for processing and subsequent examination under a microscope.
Plan on being with us for a total of 2-3 hours. When you arrive, you will need to complete your paperwork, and then change into a patient gown. The nursing staff will perform a brief assessment and place an I.V. You will then be brought into the procedure room, be sedated, and undergo the colonoscopy. The colonoscopy itself takes about 15-30 minutes. After the colonoscopy, you will rest in the recovery area while the sedative wears off. We advise you to take the entire day off of work.
A thorough cleansing of the colon is essential and the examination is most successful if you follow the directions for preparation completely, as outlined below. If you have any questions about the test or preparation, please do not hesitate to call our office.
It is important for you to bring a list of all prescription medications and non-prescription products (over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory, herbal, vitamins, etc) you are taking and a list of any medications you are allergic to.
Purchase these items ahead of time:
- Gavilyte (per your prescription from our office)
- Gatorade, PowerAde, or All sport. (NOT RED OR ORANGE flavors)
- Tuck’s pads, or Vaseline – especially if you had hemorrhoids
5 or more days prior to colonoscopy:
- Arrange for a ride. If you do not have a ride, we will have to cancel the procedure.
- Purchase your laxative medications listed above.
- If you are taking Coumadin (Warfarin), contact us and your cardiologist for specific instructions.
- Aspirin and Plavix are usually continued if being taken for heart problems, Stroke or Blood Clots. If taking Aspirin just for prevention, you may stop it 5 days prior.
- If you have a history of heart valve problems or valve surgery or need antibiotics before surgeries, please notify us.
- Stop taking any anti-inflammatory medications, iron and vitamins with iron 5 days before the colonoscopy.
- Read and familiarize yourself with the preparation instructions below.
3 days prior to colonoscopy:
- Review and plan dietary needs for the next 2 days.
- Confirm your ride.
- Last chance to cancel or you will be charged a NO SHOW fee of $100
- If you have questions, please call us.
2 days prior to colonoscopy:
- Eat well balanced meals but try to avoid nuts, popcorn, raw fruit, raw vegetables, seeds, and salads.
- Write down a list of any allergies and of all your prescription medications and non-prescription products (over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory, herbal, vitamins, etc.) you are taking. Bring these lists with you on the day of the colonoscopy.
FOR FEMALE PATIENTS STILL HAVING A MENSTRUAL CYCLE WILL BE GIVEN A URINE PREGNANCY TEST. A PATIENT WILL BE PERMITTED TO SIGN A WAIVER IF THEY DO NOT WISH TO BE TESTED.
DO NOT STOP YOUR BIRTH CONTROL (PILLS, NUVARING, ETC)
One Day Before Colonoscopy:
- Start on a clear liquid diet when you get up and continue all day.
- It is imperative that you stay hydrated. During the colonoscopy preparation you lose approximately 3-4 liters of fluid.
CLEAR LIQUID DIET
- Soups: Clear bouillon, Chicken broth, vegetable broth, beef broth, or consommé
- Beverages: Tea, Coffee (without cream/milk), Kool-Aid, carbonated beverages
- Gatorade. You may add sugar to coffee and tea, but not milk or creamers
- (non-dairy creamers are OK).
- Juices: Cranberry (it is naturally flavored red), apple, grape, strained lemonade, and limeade.
- *** ANY JUICE THAT YOU CAN SEE THROUGH AND HAS NO PULP IS ACCEPTABLE
- Dessert: Italian ices, Popsicles, Jell-O, and hard candy.
- Do not drink red, orange, purple, or blue colored beverages or eat red/orange Jell-O.
- No solid food of any kind.
- Throughout the day, make sure to drink at least 8 glasses (2quarts) or more of fluids such as Gatorade or a similar product, preferably not just plain water.
- Take your usual prescription medications (except blood thinners or iron). If you are on Coumadin or other blood thinners, you should contact us and your primary physician for specific instructions at least one week prior to the colonoscopy.
- Diabetic Patients: You may have your usual breakfast today and should take your diabetic medications.
- Monitor your blood sugar at your usual times.
Taking the Laxative:
- 1:00 p.m. Mix the solution ahead of time and refrigerate.
- 5:00 p.m. Begin drinking the prep. It is best to drink an 8oz glassful every 10-15 minutes until you have finished HALF of it. Rapidly drinking a glassful will do a better job than sipping an ounce or two at a time.
- You will have consumed several glassfuls before having the first loose, watery bowel movement, and you may feel slightly bloated. You will become more comfortable as you start to have bowel movements. You may experience nausea, abdominal fullness, and bloating. If this occurs, stop drinking temporarily or drink each portion at longer intervals until these symptoms disappear. If you start to have severe abdominal pain and vomiting stop drinking and call our office.
- Remember to remain close to toilet facilities.
On the day of the colonoscopy:
- Continue with all your usual prescription medications. Please be sure to take any blood pressure or heart medications the morning of the test with a sip of water.
- Starting 6 hours before your scheduled arrival time: You should start drinking the second dose of prep which you refrigerated overnight.
- Drink one 8oz glass of the solution every 15 minutes until you finish it.
- We realize this may involve getting up in the middle of the night but this allows us to view the colon better.
- Do not drink any liquids after finishing the second dose of the prep.
- If you have Diabetes: Do not take your diabetes pills today, but do bring a dose with you that can be taken just after colonoscopy. If you are on Insulin- take ½ of usual NPH and regular insulin. Bring the remaining dose with you to take after the colonoscopy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why do I have to drink so much? This is a large amount to drink, but it works by flushing out your system of waste material over several hours. The solution gently “washes” the bowel clean. Do not just sip the solution. It is important you drink 8oz every 15 minutes.
- Is there any way that I can make this taste any better? You can try sucking on hard candy. You can rinse your mouth with water or a mouthwash. Do not eat or drink anything while you are drinking this solution.
- Why avoid red liquids? The red color can persist in the colon and potentially look like blood.
- One of the medications I was instructed to take the morning of my procedure is red. Can I take it? Medications for blood pressure, heart conditions, and seizures should be taken the morning of your exam regardless of the color.
- I feel like vomiting and don’t think I can drink any more. What should I do? It is important that you continue drinking the solution if at all possible. Without a clean bowel, the doctor will not be able to see the inside of your colon to complete the examination. If you do vomit, wait 30 minutes, and begin drinking the solution again. If not improved, call us and have a phone number of an open pharmacy, in case we need to call in a prescription.
- I drank a lot of the solution and haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. What should I do? Keep drinking. Most people have a bowel movement after an hour; some patients may take 2 hours or longer.
- I am taking the prep and am now having loose, watery stools. Do I still need the rest of the prep? Yes, you may have solid stool higher in the colon that needs to be eliminated.
- I already have diarrhea before taking the prep, do I still have to take the laxative? Yes, you must take the prep as directed by your doctor. Your colon is approximately 6 feet long. The entire colon must be emptied for your physician to see the colon clearly.
- I see yellow color in the toilet bowl and a few flecks. What do I do? If you have drank the entire solution or if your last bowel movements were clear enough that you were able to see the bottom of the toilet, you should be fine. It is okay if you may have some flecks of material. The yellow color is a result of bile that normally colors the feces. This shouldn’t interfere with the examination.
- My bottom is so sore. What can I do? To clean the area, avoid rubbing. Gently pat with a wet washcloth. Apply Vaseline™, Preparation H™, or Destin liberally.
- Can I drink alcoholic beverages? We strongly suggest you do not drink any alcoholic beverages prior to your procedure since they can cause dehydration and some wines may thin your blood.
- Can I drink any nutritional supplements? You may drink Ensure (chocolate or vanilla) or Slim-Fast with Soy Protein/Lactose Free. These drinks are water based, not milk based.
- What if I am still passing stool the morning of my test? Take a tap water enema until you run clear. If this does not work, call the office.
- Can I brush my teeth? Please do
- Can I wear my dentures? Yes, you may wear your dentures to the endoscopy suite. However, you may be asked to remove them prior to the procedure.
- I have been instructed not to take anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners several days before the procedure. What can I take for headaches and pain relief? You may take Tylenol as directed.
- Can I have chicken soup? You can only have the broth. No noodles, chicken, or vegetables allowed.
- Can I have the colonoscopy done if I am on my menstrual period? Yes, the procedure can still be performed. We ask that you use a tampon if possible (not absolutely necessary).
- Do I need a prescription for the laxatives? It depends on the preparation instructions you were given.