Preparing for a Colonoscopy

If you are preparing for a colonoscopy at Coast Colorectal, you should follow these directions. By following these steps, you can ensure that your bowel is as clear as possible. This increase the likelihood of a successful examination.

If you don’t follow the preparation instructions, there is a chance that your procedure will need to be postponed. It’s best to avoid this, as it means that you will need to perform the preparation twice.

Preparing for a Colonoscopy – General Information

  • Blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), Warfarin, Xarelto, or Brillinta may need to be ceased up to a week before your procedure. Please discuss this with your GP.
  • If you are diabetic, please check with your GP about your medication. Normally, you would be advised to take half of your medication as you are on fluids only. You will be advised about whether or not to take your morning insulin or tablets on the day of your procedure by your colorectal surgeon and your GP.
  • Continue taking all other medications as normal. On the morning of your procedure, take tablets with only a sip of water.
  • If you need pain relief medication, you can use Paracetamol, instead of aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Do not smoke for at least one day before your procedure. If you can, it’s better to stop smoking a week beforehand.
  • You will need to arrange for someone to take you home. You will not be able to drive yourself home. It’s also advisable to arrange for someone to stay with you overnight, following your procedure.
  • Do not operate heavy machinery for a day after your procedure.
  • You will need to purchase Picoprep. This is a three-sachet preparation that you can buy directly from our office or from your local pharmacy.
  • Be aware that you might experience some slight bleeding after a colonoscopy, particularly if a polyp was removed or a biopsy taken. However, if you experience severe pain or bleeding, please contact the rooms of the hospital where your procedure was performed. If you become concerned, don’t hesitate to call 000.

Preparing for a Colonoscopy – Two Days Before Your Procedure

Consume a low-fibre diet. This can include food options such as: eggs, steamed white fish, poached chicken, cottage cheese, low fat plain yoghurt, white bread, white pasta, white rice, jelly (lemon, lime or orange), skim milk, or well-cooked and peeled pumpkin and potato. Consume only approved clear fluids (see below).

Stop eating brown bread, cereals, fruit, vegetables and anything containing seeds. We also recommend that you avoid yellow cheese. You also need to avoid red and purple food colouring while preparing for a colonoscopy.

Approved clear fluids to be taken include:

  • Water, black tea, black coffee, herbal tea and green tea
  • Strained juices without pulp (apple or pear juice)
  • Clear soups such as broth or Bonox – strain out all noodles and other solids
  • Jelly (lemon, lime or orange)
  • Carbonated soft drinks (lemonade, lemon squash, ginger ale or mineral water)
  • Clear ice blocks

The Day Before Your Procedure

When you’re preparing for a colonoscopy, the steps are a bit different, depending on whether your procedure is scheduled for the morning or afternoon. Take a look below for the appropriate instructions for your colonoscopy.

Morning Procedure

One day before the procedure:

  • Cease eating solid food today
  • Drink only approved fluids
  • If you want, you can suck barley sugars or light lemon sweets
  • Drink plenty of water and approved clear fluids – aim for an extra two litres of clear fluid
  • At midday, take your first Picoprep:
    • Dissolve one sachet of Picoprep in a glass of water and stir until completely dissolved. Drink the mixture slowly over ten or fifteen minutes, and finish the entire glass. Drink another glass of clear fluid straight after this.
  • At 3pm, take your second Picoprep, using the instructions above.
  • At 6pm, take your third Picoprep, using the instructions above.

Afternoon Procedure

One day before the procedure:

  • Have a light breakfast before 7am (stewed fruit and poached egg; do not eat bread or cereals)
  • After 7am, cease eating solid food
  • Drink only approved fluids after 7am
  • If you want, you can suck barley sugars or light lemon sweets
  • Drink plenty of water and approved clear fluids – aim for an extra two litres of clear fluid
  • At 3pm, take your first Picoprep:
    • Dissolve one sachet of Picoprep in a glass of water and stir until completely dissolved. Drink the mixture slowly over ten or fifteen minutes, and finish the entire glass. Drink another glass of clear fluid straight after this.
  • At 6pm, take your second Picoprep, using the instructions above

On the day of the procedure:

  • At 6am, take your third Picoprep, using the instructions above
  • Continue to drink only approved clear fluids until your fasting time

If you have any questions about preparing for a colonoscopy, speak with your GP or your colorectal surgeon.