ZocdocAnswersHow should I prepare for a colonoscopy?

Question

How should I prepare for a colonoscopy?

Will I need to have an enema performed? Why do I have to take so many laxotives? I'm a 41 year old lady and have never had a colonoscopy.

Answer

A colonoscopy requires a very thorough preparation so that your gastroenterologist will be able to adequately see the details of the inside of the colon during the procedure. Typically a clear liquid is followed for the entire day prior to the procedure (including foods such as Jell-O and chicken broth); it is important to avoid red liquids, as they can be mistaken for blood during the exam. Usually nothing by mouth is recommended on the day of the procedure. Enemas are usually only required for patients undergoing procedures in the hospital, who continue to have non-clear stools prior to the exam. Some preparation regimens contain a combination of laxative tablets and a large volume of laxative liquid (up to 4 liters of fluid), such as GoLytely; other preparations may just contain the liquid. Your gastroenterologist's office should send you a packet in the mail containing their recommendations for preparing for the colonoscopy.

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