Demystifying Colonoscopy Prep

Smiling middle-aged couple riding a bike outdoors in the sun. Read our colonoscopy prep tips to find out how to get ready for your colonoscopy.

For most people, the term colonoscopy doesn’t exactly conjure up happy thoughts, especially when it comes to colonoscopy prep.

Now, it usually isn’t as bad as most people think. Moreover, prep is important to clean out the colon before the colonoscopy.

Residue can make it harder for the doctor to see your colon. This means a polyp or other issue might not be identified. Dye, solid debris and/or residue can mimic blood, as well as mask irregularities, color change, or polyps. These things should be noted and/or potentially removed to prevent colon cancer.

Without adhering to prescribed prep protocols, you won’t have a completely clean colon.

There are different types of colon prep, some considered harsher than others.  At Colon and Rectal Specialists we use a more tolerable split-dose pill prep (Osmoprep) for   most patients. This prep is part of our Kinder Colonoscopy that offers patients many benefits including privacy and more comfort.

Your doctor will give you specifics for your prep, but you can use the guide below as a guide.


Prep Instructions: Getting Started

Routine colonoscopies take place in under an hour, from beginning to end. Preparation, however, takes longer. This is because your large intestine needs to evacuate all of the solid waste matter inside. Similarly, the small intestine needs to get rid of all of the “new stuff.”

If you work during the day, you likely won’t need to miss work while you get ready. Be advised that the effect of sedation can take you out of commission. You will likely need to take the day off for the procedure. Be sure to arrange for a ride home, as well!

Patients should try to stay close to home while cleansing the colon. That means patients who work nights should consider taking off work during preparation if possible.

This can be inconvenient, and an enema may seem quicker and easier. It can take up to a day and a half to fully cleanse the colon, however. The process we outline here is more comprehensive and thorough.

What if your colonoscopy results aren’t clear the first time around? It’s much less convenient to do the whole thing over again.

Every patient is unique and depending on what time of day your procedure is scheduled, details can differ. However, patients preparing for a colonoscopy all follow roughly the same steps in the runup to their procedure.

Low Fiber/Residue Diet

Preparation begins about three days prior to the procedure with a low fiber (or low residue) diet. That means fewer high fiber foods, which typically we definitely recommend that you make a part of your regular diet! Low fiber foods are easier to pass, meaning they’ll be out of the way sooner, clearing the colon more quickly.

Abstain from raw vegetables and fruits (cooked is fine), seeds, nuts, and dried fruit.

Clear Diet Day

The next phase is a clear diet day, which you’ll do the day before your colonoscopy. This means a liquid diet to your system of any dyes that might make your results hard to read. It can also make the cleansing process easier.

This kind of fast can seem daunting. We recommend sipping on some of the following items during the day. It can take the edge off and keep you from feeling too uncomfortable.

Common Clear Diet Items

  • Water
  • Coffee and tea (no cream, milk or dairy)
  • Light-colored or clear juices (apple, white grape, pulp-free lemonade) and sports drinks
  • Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
  • Clear sodas
  • Dye-free Jello and gelatin

There are certain other things you’ll need to abstain from. Your doctor will provide an approved list of clear diet foods and drinks for this prep day.

The Night Before

Prep solutions cleanse your colon to give your doctor the best view to find and remove things like colon polyps. Carefully follow the instructions for your bowel prep tablets or solution, not eating or drinking after midnight the night beforehand.

Then, slip on some comfortable clothes and get ready to pass the time.

You’ll probably be up a lot during the night to go to the bathroom in the hours before the procedure. Consider sleeping close to the bathroom so as not to bother your sleeping partner or family.

Benefits of the CRS Kinder Colonoscopy

  • More tolerable colon prep
  • Split dosing, less fasting
  • Better sedation
  • You meet your doctor prior
  • Removal of polyps
  • Convenience & Privacy
  • Fast answers

Don’t wait to make an appointment. If you are over 50, or your doctor has recommended a colonoscopy due to family history or other factors, it’s crucial. Colonoscopies really do save lives – maybe even yours.

Contact one of our three Richmond area locations or learn more about the CRS Kinder Colonoscopy.

Learn More About A Kinder Colonoscopy Experience