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How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy

Colonoscopies are carried out in order to investigate conditions of the colon. The procedure can be slightly daunting if you don’t know what to expect. There are a few steps that need to be taken leading up to a colonoscopy to make sure everything goes smoothly

In this short post, we want to help anyone preparing for a colonoscopy understand what happens and how they can get ready without any worries.

Why does someone have to prepare for a colonoscopy?

Polyps in the bowel are quite common, and most are harmless. For doctors to get a good look, you must make sure your colon (Large bowel) is as clean as possible, so the doctor carrying out the procedure has a clear view of what they’re looking for.

How long does it take to prepare for a colonoscopy?

On average, you will have 24-48 hours of preparation leading up to the procedure.

When you arrive at OneWelbeck, we provide you with a personalised plan that details what you need to do in preparation for your colonoscopy.

How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

Typically, you will have to do the following before your colonoscopy:

  • Have a “fibre-free food diet” for a few days
  • Cut down on portions before fasting
  • Switch to a “clear” liquid diet the day before
  • Take laxatives the night before
  • Possibly have an enema on the day of the colonoscopy

Why do I have to change my diet for a colonoscopy?

The bowel needs to be empty for investigation. If the lining isn’t visible, the doctor would not be able to diagnose correctly.

The diet plan laid out by your physician at OneWelbeck will ensure that that your bowels are clear, making it easier for them to investigate. Essentially you will need to omit all fibrous food including whole grains, fruit and vegetables

Do I have to stop taking medicine before my colonoscopy?

When visiting the clinic, doctors will want to know about any current prescriptions you may have, and whether dosages need to be lowered or stopped in the days leading up to the procedure.

A typical example of this would be codeine, as it is known to slow down bowel movement.

It is also important to also inform your doctor if you have a pacemaker.

How much water should I drink in preparation for a colonoscopy?

As long as you are already drinking a healthy amount of water every day (eight to ten glasses on average), you shouldn’t have to increase how much you drink before a colonoscopy.

What foods should be avoided before a colonoscopy?

Before your colonoscopy, your physician at OneWelbeck will ask you to limit your portion sizes and advice you on what sorts of food you should avoid eating. A plain white diet is ideal, with simple foods like rich tea biscuits, white bread and pasta, and chicken. Food that should be avoided includes fruit, high-fibre foods, vegetables, sugary drinks and snacks.

What kind of laxatives would someone getting a colonoscopy have to take?

When it gets to the day before the procedure, laxatives are needed. These will usually take the form of a sachet which will be mixed with water.

Do laxatives taste bad?

Some people may find it hard to drink laxatives in preparation. Simple tips to help with drinking include premixing the laxative and storing it in the fridge, so it is colder, using a straw to avoid taste buds, or adding a small touch of lemon or ginger to mask the flavour.

Do I need to have someone with me for the next 24 hours, following the procedure?

In some cases, a sedative is administered (medicine or gas) to provide pain relief for a patient. When this happens, a patient should have someone available to pick them up afterwards to take home safely.

What happens after a colonoscopy?

Following the colonoscopy, you may feel some sensations, be that the need to pass gas or some cramping. This is normal and is nothing to worry about.

You can find out what happens during the procedure by visiting our Colonoscopy page, where you’ll also get information on what to do after one is carried out.

Get in touch

At OneWelbeck patients having a colonoscopy can expect exceptional care in a calm, supportive environment.

If you have any questions about getting a colonoscopy, our team of world-class gastroenterologists will be happy to discuss options with you.

You can get in touch with us here.