Colon cancer

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

During a colonoscopy, you are given a powerful substance to clear your bowel, which is commonly used to spot colon cancer. It helps in treating the cancer in time, so that it does not spread to other body parts. It may also be used to detect any small growths and polyps that may develop to become colon cancer in the near future. So, if you are going to get a colonoscopy soon, then there are certain steps that you have to take care of in order to properly prepare for the procedure. A colonoscopy is simple, but the preparing for it is what most people shudder about. It is quite an inconvenience for most. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for a colonoscopy.

You may also be interested in: What Do Cancer Cells Feed On


  1. Following a special diet
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Take laxatives
  4. Other tips to prepare for colonoscopy

Following a special diet

Typically, to prepare for a colonoscopy, you will be asked not to eat any solid foods at least one day before the procedure. Your drinks will be limited to plain water, coffee or tea with no cream or milk, and carbonated drinks. Avoid any red colored liquids, as they may be confused with your blood during the exam. Sometimes, you may be asked not to drink or eat anything at all from a night before the procedure. From a few days before the exam, you will be asked to eat a low-fiber food, with no whole grains, seeds, nuts, dry fruits, or raw veggies or fruits. One day before, you will be asked not to eat any solid food, and only clear liquids. On the day of the exam, you will be allowed to eat or drink anything at least 2 hours before the exam.

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy - Following a special diet

Stay hydrated

If you are going to have a colonoscopy examination, it is important to stay fully hydrated. As you are going to lose lots of body fluids during the flushing process of your bowels, even mild dehydration may cause severe symptoms, like headache, dizziness, lightheadedness etc. So, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of clear fluids.

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy - Stay hydrated

Take laxatives

Sometimes, your physician may recommend you to take a laxative in pill or liquid form. You may be asked to take it the night before the day of your colonoscopy. In some cases, you may also be asked to use an OTC enema kit a few hours before the procedure. These agents are helpful in emptying your colon, so that the images do not look blurred during the exam. If you are suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes or any heart problem, your doctor may make a few changes in your existing medicines or iron supplements.

How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy - Take laxatives

Other tips to prepare for colonoscopy

  • Try to stay near a washroom.
  • Keep lots of books and magazines handy.
  • Try to drink the solution using a straw, as the taste buds in the front part of your tongue may make the solution feel more bitter.
  • Grab some hard candies to take between your bowel preparation doses.
  • Stay hydrated by sipping water between the doses.
  • Buy the softest possible toilet paper or baby wipes to use in the washroom.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
1 of 4
How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy