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Before you have a colonoscopy, tell your doctor if you:
  • Are taking any medicines, such as insulin or medicines for arthritis. Check with your doctor about which medicines you need to take on the day of your test.

  • Are allergic to any medicines, including anesthetics.

  • Have bleeding problems or take blood thinners, such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin)

  • Have heart disease or heart problems. If you take antibiotics before dental procedures, ask your doctor whether you will need them before your colonoscopy.

  • Had an X-ray test using barium, such as a barium enema, in the last 4 days.

  • Are or might be pregnant.

You may be asked to stop taking aspirin products or iron supplements 7 to 14 days before the test. If you take blood-thinning medications regularly, discuss with your doctor how to manage your medicine.

You will be asked to sign a consent form that says you understand the risks of colonoscopy and agree to have the test done. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form

Before this test, you will need to clean out your colon. The following information gives you a general idea of the preparation for a colonoscopy. Your doctor will give you specific instructions before your test.

  • One to two days before a colonoscopy, you will stop eating solid foods and drink only clear fluids, such as water, tea, coffee, clear juices, clear broths, Popsicles, and gelatin (such as Jell-O). Do not eat or drink red food items such as red juice or red Jell-O. Some new products, such as the Nutraprep meal kit or Visicol tablets or oral phospho-soda, are other methods of preparing for a colonoscopy. Ask your doctor whether another method will work for you.

  • Your doctor may have you take a prescription laxative tablet or drink a laxative solution (such as Nulytely or Golytely) the evening before your colonoscopy. This solution will be given to you as a powder that you will mix with 1 gal (3.8 L) of water. You are often asked to drink this laxative solution over 1 to 2 hours. This solution may taste very salty and may make you feel sick to your stomach. Each time you drink some of the solution, you may also drink some water or clear fluids (like apple juice) to help get rid of the salty taste in your mouth.

  • You will want to stay home the evening before the test because the colon prep will make you use the bathroom often.

  • Drink plenty of clear fluids during the prep so you will not get dehydrated. This will also help clean out your colon completely after you finish the colon prep.

  • Do not eat any solid foods after drinking the laxative solution.

  • Stop drinking clear liquids 6 to 8 hours before the colonoscopy.

  • Your doctor may have you use an enema 30 to 60 minutes before the test to completely clean out your colon.

Arrange to have someone take you home after the test because you may be given a medicine (sedative) to help you relax before the test.

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