What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is one of many tests that may be used to screen for colon cancer. It is used to find ulcers, colon, polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.

Preparation and instructions

Before this test, you will need to clean out your colon (colon prep). Colon prep takes 1 to 2 days, depending on your doctor’s recommendation. Some colon preps may be taken the evening before the test.

For many people, the prep is worse than the test. You’ll most likely be asked to drink a clear liquid solution to clear out your system so that your colon will be empty for the test. You’ll experience loose, frequent stools and diarrhea for the entire duration.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your colonoscopy. Read the instructions carefully as your preparation may vary.

Preparing for your colonoscopy is a process. Here are some things you will need to keep in mind:

  • You may need to change your medication routine if you take medicines like aspirin, Plavix®, clopidogrel, anti-inflammatory medicines, blood thinners, diabetes medicine, or fish oil. Tell your doctor about all the medications and supplements you’re taking before your colonoscopy. – OR – You will need to stop taking certain blood-thinning medications in the days before your colonoscopy. Blood thinners may increase your risk of bleeding if certain procedures are performed during the colonoscopy. If you have chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, your doctor will give you specific instructions regarding your medications. Tell your doctor about all the medications and supplements you’re taking before your colonoscopy.
  • Do not eat popcorn, nuts or seeds for one week before the procedure.
  • Three days before your colonoscopy, eat only low-fiber foods. Also, stop taking any fiber supplements or anti-diarrheal medication.
  • The bowel prep may be uncomfortable, and you may feel hungry.
  • Plan to stay home during your prep time since you will need to use the bathroom often.
  • Your bowel prep is complete when the stool coming out is yellow, light, liquid, and clear — like urine.
  • If your stool is not clear X hours before the colonoscopy, you may have to reschedule.
  • You will need to stop drinking four to eight hours before your colonoscopy to ensure your stomach is empty for the procedure.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the colonoscopy. Your test will have to be rescheduled if you don’t have someone to accompany you home.


If you have additional questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact our office. We’re happy to help.