Prepping for Your Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy Prep


Let’s face it – getting a colonoscopy is not anyone’s idea of fun. But perhaps more unpleasant than getting a colonoscopy is having to get a repeat screening because you didn’t properly prep the first time.

Dr. William Cirocco, MD, a colorectal surgeon at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, shares these tips for ensuring you’re prepared for your colonoscopy:

Pre-Procedure: In a colonoscopy, the doctor is looking for polyps – these polyps are what can turn into colon cancer. To have a successful colonoscopy, the colon needs to be flushed of content so that the doctor can get a clear view. You’ll be directed to a colon-flushing solution in the 24 hours before your colonoscopy or you may be prescribed a split prep: drinking half of the solution the evening before and the second dose the morning of your colonoscopy. The solution flows through your system and takes the contents of your colon with it.

Stop Solids: While the solution works its magic to cleanse your colon, you’ll want to avoid ingesting any solid foods. In the days leading up to your colonoscopy, don’t eat foods with small seeds, like kiwi, cucumber or bread with sesame seeds. These foods can disrupt the cleansing process.

Clear Liquids: No coffee, tea or soda leading up to your colonoscopy – water or other clear liquids only. No liquids on the day of the procedure, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.

Medications: If you take regular medication – blood thinners (even Aspirin), insulin, or others – you should consult your physician about how to proceed with these in preparation for your colonoscopy.

Medical Records: If you’ve had previous colonoscopies or colon issues (bleeding, abdominal pain), it’s helpful to provide your medical records before the procedure. Sharing your family medical history as it relates to polyps or colon cancer is also important.

Know What to Expect: It’s normal to be nervous before your colonoscopy but knowing what’s going to happen can help you relax. You will be given a short-acting anesthetic via IV, so you won’t feel any pain during the procedure. After the colonoscopy you’ll go to a recovery room as you come out of the anesthesia. Some patients may experience soreness or cramps after the colonoscopy, but others may not.

Appointment Day: While the actual screening only takes about 30 minutes, you’ll need to plan for the check-in process, changing into a hospital gown, getting the IV for your anesthesia, consulting with the doctor and the recovery period. You should expect the whole process to take half a day, and to have a support person drive you home after the procedure.

Now that you know the ins-and-outs of preparing for a successful colonoscopy, it’s time to schedule your appointment. Find a Banner location providing colon screenings. 

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  • Ellie Davis says:
    It's interesting to know that during a colonoscopy, the doctor is looking for polyps that can turn into colon cancer. A friend of my father will have a colonoscopy soon, and we are looking for advice. I will let my father know about your article to help him understand what a colonoscopy is useful for. 
  • Jenna Hunter says:
    Thanks for the tips on not eating solid foods before a colonoscopy. My brother is thinking about getting one so that he can check for cancer. It could be really helpful for him to be able to get the procedure done by a professional.

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