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Before Your Colonoscopy

Before you go to your doctor's office for your colonoscopy, you'll need to take a bowel prep. A bowel prep will prepare your colon for viewing by removing solid waste from your digestive tract. In other words, it causes episodes of diarrhea occurring over several hours, so that the colon is empty at the time of your colonoscopy and the doctor can see the lining of the colon clearly.

The complete bowel prep regimen includes a special diet as well as medication. You'll need to start the bowel prep process a full day before going in for your procedure, or as directed by your healthcare provider.

Digestive Anatomy

Eating and Drinking Before and During Your Prep

Starting the day before your procedure, you will only be able to eat clear foods (broth, etc.) and liquids. Be sure to get exact instructions from your healthcare provider about when you need to stop eating solids, what you can and cannot drink, and how often you should drink during the bowel prep.


Stay hydrated

A major part of prep success is staying hydrated. The prep process removes a lot of water from your body, and it needs to be replaced. It is vital that you stay hydrated.




What to Expect While You Prep


Once you begin drinking the prep, it's hard to know when it will start working. Different people have different reactions. When the effects do kick in, they will be urgent and frequent. You'll need regular access to a bathroom from the time you start the prep, to the time you leave for your colonoscopy appointment. The effects of the prep may last for a few hours after you finish it.

Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms:


  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Rash

  • Epilepsy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Convulsions
  • Fatigue

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Irritability



Robbie, Anne and Laurie openly share their colonoscopy experiences with you in this video created by the The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation.




How To Prepare For Your Colonoscopy

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