Colonoscopy Preparation

Colonoscopy Preparation Instructions

Our goal is to help you clean your gastrointestinal tract with the help of large volume of liquids and laxatives. 

Our success will require you to follow these instructions to move your bowels multiple times before your colonoscopy. If you don't succeed at prepping your colon, potentially cancerous lesions can be easily missed, rendering the procedure less effective at preventing colon cancer. 

Everyone's colon is different-- & you may require more liquids & prep solution than most people. It is often not possible to predict this, but you will know if the prep solution is not working, if you have not had loose stools/diarrhea on the day before the procedure. 

Five days before the procedure

Please let your primary care provider know, if you are planning to stop any medications.

Do NOT stop any of your home medications, including blood pressure medication or aspirin.

Do NOT take Vitamin E; iron supplements; Gingko; St. John's-Wort or fish oil.

Do NOT eat popcorn, quinoa, seeds or nuts.

Do NOT take anti-inflammatory/pain medications like Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac

Two days before the procedure

• You will receive a call from the Pre-Op department 2-5 days prior to endoscopy to schedule COVID testing and/or any lab tests, as needed.

• Take 2000 mg of magnesium citrate with 8 oz of water (or 2 tablespoons of Milk of Magnesia) before bedtime. * A loose watery bowel movement (stool) should result in approximately 1 hour. 

misc image

If your stool looks like this, keep drinking liquids! Hover to see.

Image Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351979716000062#fig1
misc image

If your stool looks like this, keep going! Hover to see.

Image Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351979716000062#fig1
misc image

This is what your stool should look like! Hover to see.

Image Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351979716000062#fig1

The day before the procedure: Start Your Bowel Cleansing Marathon!

• Before 10 AM, light breakfast with eggs, plain yogurt with honey or no fruit Kefir. 

• No grains, fruit/vegetables/fiber. If you wish, you may drink coffee, tea, fresh juice without pulp, broth.

• No solid food after 10 AM. 

• Drink clear liquids only, including clear PediaLyte solution-- at least one, 8-oz glass every hour for 12 hrs.

• You may take Gas X liquid or tablets for bloating.

At 12PM: 
• Begin drinking half of the bowel prep solution you & your doctor agreed to be the most appropriate. 

• Please drink ALL of the prep solution (8oz every 15 minutes).

• Drink large amounts of liquids/PediaLyte to prevent dehydration throughout the day.

Do not drink red, orange or blue colored liquids.

Do not eat any solid, soft, or pureed food with pulp. 

At 6PM:
Begin drinking the second half of the bowel prep solution, as above.

• By 7-8 PM, you should be done drinking both halves of the bowel prep solution. 

What are clear liquids?

• Clear broth (without noodles or solids): garlic, vegetable, chicken, turkey broth.

• Clear drinks preferred: PediaLyte or iced tea, Sprite, Squirt, 7-up, Lemonade, Coffee, Tea: Green/White/Black, Chamomile (no milk or cream).

• Popsicles: no ice cream or yogurt bars.

Patients on Anti-coagulants/Antiplatelet Rx:

You may need to discuss with your cardiologist and/or primary clinician whether it is safe to stop: Aggrenox, Xarelto, Brilinta, Coumadin (Warfarin), heparin, and Plavix (Clopidogrel). 


If you eat food or drink any dairy/milk on the day of your procedure, it will be postponed or cancelled. Any stomach contents may end up in your lungs by inadvertently aspirating these while under anesthesia.
You must have an empty stomach for 2-4 hours prior to the procedure to be safely sedated.

Your safety and excellent outcome is our priority. 

Patients with Diabetes

Consult with your primary clinician on how to modify your diabetes medications and timing of your insulin.

We suggest you not take your diabetes medications on the morning of your procedure, but you should take them as usual prior to endoscopy.

Please check your blood sugar a few times before and after your endoscopy, to prevent hypo/hyperglycemic episodes.

On the Morning of Procedure Please Bring:

• Your current ID and insurance Card.

• A list of your current medications with dosages (prescribed & over-the-counter), remedies, products and any known allergies to medications.

• A licensed driver to transport you to your home after the procedure. If you opt for public transportation, an adult/companion will be expected to accompany you.

• Please notify staff if a wheelchair is needed for the patient, if unable to walk before procedure day.

What to Expect Day of Procedure 

• Check in with the receptionist to complete necessary paperwork. You will be asked to sign a consent form to authorize the doctor to do your procedure as well sign a Notice of Privacy Practice. 

• If you are a minor, a parent or guardian must sign your paperwork. If you are an adult who is unable to sign the consent, you must have someone with you who is authorized to sign on your behalf. 

⦁ Plan to be at the center 1-2 hours prior to your appointment time. 

⦁ An IV will be inserted so you can receive IV fluids and medication.

⦁ If you are having an upper endoscopy, you will need to remove dentures, partial plates, and jewelry. 

After your procedure

• Typically an upper endoscopy/EGD takes ~15 minutes & a lower endoscopy/colonoscopy between 30 to 60 minutes. 

When the doctor is finished:
⦁ You will pass a significant amount of air that was introduced during endoscopy, while you rest for a short time until the effects of the anesthesia medication wear off.

⦁ Dr. Bahamonde will then tell you &/or your designated health care proxy what she preliminarily found during the procedure, though the final diagnosis and treatment plan will be pending pathology results, usually 2 to 7 days later.

⦁ A nurse in the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) will let you know when it is safe for you to leave and will give you additional general instructions. 

⦁ Take Gas X liquid or tablets (80mg every 6-8 hours) if you experience residual bloating, expected for 1-2 days.  

⦁ Please call Dr. Bahamonde’s office or your primary care clinician to schedule your follow-up Telehealth visit for results and recommendations, usually in 2-4 weeks later.