2016-06-16 15:32:14 UTC

Colonoscopy 104: Preparation

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There are important steps you must take to safely get ready for your colonoscopy. These are general instructions. Be sure to follow any instructions given to you by your doctor.  

Your doctor or nurse will review the steps with you and make sure that you know how to get ready and what you can expect during and after the test. If you have any questions, be sure to bring them up with the doctor or nurse.  

  • Give your doctor a list of all the medications you are taking and any allergies you have.
    • The list should include both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, like aspirin, NSAIDs or vitamins or supplements.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications should be taken on the day of your colonoscopy.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if any of your medications should not be taken before your colonoscopy.
    • Ask your doctor before the test if you should take your medications the night before your colonoscopy.
  • Tell your doctor if you:
    • Have diabetes and what medications you are on for it.
    • Are taking blood thinners or have bleeding or blood-clotting problems.
    • Have a pacemaker or other implanted electromedical devices.
    • Have had stomach or bowel surgery, swallowing problems or other gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
    • Have heart, lung or any other health problems that may need special care before the test.
  • Clean out your colon.
    • Many methods can be used to help cleanse the bowel, and your doctor will tell you which is best for you. 
    • Often, you will need to eat only clear liquids the day before the test.
    • Often, you will need to drink a liquid that will help you move your bowels until your stool comes out clear. If your doctor tells you to drink this, be sure to drink it all.
    • Other ways to clean out your bowels involve different special diets or the use of enemas or suppositories. 
    • Whichever method or blend of methods is suggested for you, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders as directed.
  • Check your instructions about what to eat or drink the night before your colonoscopy and when to stop eating. If you do not remember the time of your appointment, call your doctor.
  • Since you will be given medicine to block pain and make you feel sleepy, you will not be allowed to drive a car, work or make important decisions after the test. 
  • You must have someone with you to review the discharge instructions and to drive you home after the test.
  • Plan to rest at home for the rest of the day after your test. 

A colonoscopy can be done as an outpatient procedure in your doctor’s office, outpatient surgical center or hospital. Be sure you know exactly where you need to go the day of your procedure, as it may not be the same as your doctor’s office.

Be sure to ask your doctor or nurse if there is anything you do not understand.  



© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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