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Prepping for a Colonoscopy

Many people will tell you that the prep is the hardest part of a colonoscopy, but a clean bill of health is worth the short-term inconvenience and mild discomfort. The staff members that work with colonoscopy patients are highly trained and committed to keeping you comfortable and safe and maintaining your privacy and modesty. They understand that while they may do this every day, you don't, so each patient is treated with respect and is given the most privacy possible. Your doctor and the colonoscopy team have one goal: your comfort and safety during the procedure.

Before the procedure your colon must be completely empty for the colonoscopy to be thorough and safe. To prepare for the procedure, you will have to follow a liquid diet for one to three days beforehand. A liquid diet means fat-free bouillon or broth, strained fruit juice, water, plain coffee, plain tea, or clear sodas. Gelatin or popsicles (no red, blue or purple) may also be eaten. You will also take one of several types of laxatives the night before the procedure. You must arrange for someone to take you home afterwards—you will not be allowed to drive because of the sedatives. Your physician may give you other special instructions. Inform your physician of any medical conditions or medications that you take before the colonoscopy.

After a Colonoscopy

Plan to rest for the remainder of the day after your colonoscopy. This means not driving, so you will need to arrange to have a family member or friend take you home. Occasionally, minor problems may persist, such as bloating, gas or mild cramping, which should disappear in 24 hours or less.