Getting ready for the exam
In the days and weeks leading up to your colonoscopy procedure, you'll need to take some steps to ensure you are properly prepared for your exam. These steps may include altering any medication you are currently taking as indicated by your physician, scheduling a ride to and from your procedure, and taking the day off from work. You'll also want to fill your bowel prep prescription and pick it up in time to complete the prep regimen as prescribed by your doctor.
To help you prepare for your colonoscopy, we created a sample timetable of the 2 weeks leading up to your colonoscopy. It will help give you an idea of when you need to pick up the prep, ask a friend for a ride, and change your diet for the colonoscopy prep. It's important to remember, however, that the information in this table is only a guideline, which your doctor may alter according to your unique needs. Follow the specific plan your doctor provides for you, and contact him or her if you have any doubts, questions, or concerns.
Download the sample colonoscopy timetable
What is a low-residue diet?
A low-residue diet is designed to limit your intake of fiber and other undigested materials to minimize the production of solid waste in your colon and rectum. Some foods you can typically eat as part of a low-residue diet include
- White bread, refined pastas and cereals, and crackers
- White rice
- Vegetables without skin or seeds
- Fruits without peels or seeds
- Limited amounts of milk and yogurt
- Tender meat, poultry, fish, and eggs
- Broth-based soups (strained)
- Jelly, honey, and syrup
It's no secret that the bowel prep experience is less than pleasant. In fact, for many patients, it's the most intimidating part of preparing for the colonoscopy procedure. But remember: A colonoscopy is the easiest and best way to prevent and detect colon cancer, and a complete bowel prep is the key to a successful colonoscopy.
We have created the My MoviMent Prep Kit to help guide you through the process.
While a good colonoscopy prep is specially designed to help you stay hydrated, you're going to lose a lot of fluid as your bowels are flushed clean. Even mild dehydration can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including dizziness, lightheadedness, and headache, so it's important to drink plenty of clear liquids before, during, and after the prep process.
Additional colonoscopy prep tips
The following are helpful colonoscopy prep tips from other patients. You should always follow your healthcare provider's dosing instructions.
- Plan on staying near the bathroom
- Keep plenty of magazines or a book on hand
- After you mix your prep solution, chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours before drinking (drink within 24 hours of mixing)
- Try drinking your prep solution with a straw. Bypassing the taste buds in the front of your mouth may make the taste more tolerable
- Stock up on hard candies (no red or purple) to enjoy between bowel prep doses
- Sip clear liquids between doses to stay hydrated
- Use baby wipes instead of toilet paper
Talk to your physician
We've created a comprehensive Physician Discussion Guide to help you talk with your doctor about colon cancer, colonoscopy, and the colonoscopy prep process.