A colonoscopy (koh-luh-NAH-skuh-pee) allows a doctor to look inside the entire large intestine. The procedure enables the physician to see things such as inflamed tissue, abnormal growths, and ulcers. It is most often used to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. It is also used to look for causes of unexplained changes in bowel habits and to evaluate symptoms like abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, and weight loss.

Preparation For Colonoscopy

Procedure FAQ

The need for a colonoscopy is real. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. amongst both men and women, yet it is totally preventable. During a colonoscopy, a gastroenterologist can remove benign polyps that have the potential to grow into colon cancer. By following the recommended screening guidelines, colon cancer is essentially preventable.

Depending on the prep, it can take from 15 minutes to more than 6 hours after starting the prep to begin to notice the diarrhea. Drinking clear liquids will help with bowel movement.

The first thing to do is to stop taking the bowel prep and take a break. That might mean 30 minutes or even an hour before you drink anymore. After nausea has decreased or stopped, you can restart the bowel prep but drink it at a slower rate.

Aspirin intake:  It is okay to take baby Aspirin as needed.

Iron intake:  If you did not stop taking iron for the week leading up to the procedure there is a small chance that the quality of the bowel preparation may not be good. It is difficult to know if the iron will impact the prep quality at this point or not. Since you have already started the bowel prep, it is best to continue. If you took one or two doses of iron ty mistake, it is not an issue.

Please call our office at 509.922.2055 and we will work with you and your pharmacy to make sure you have all of the required prep medication/s.

Yes, you can take your anxiety/depression medications before coming in for your procedure.

We realize the importance of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, especially in diabetic patients. It is important to remember that even though we ask you to avoid eating solid food during the bowel preparation process, clear liquids are still allowed. Consider drinking juice (apple juice) or fruit flavored beverages (lemonade) as a way to maintain your blood sugar level.

Yes. Tylenol is allowed, but no more than 4000mg of Tylenol should be taken in 24 hours. If you have an allergy to Tylenol, then you should not take it. Additionally, if you have liver failure/cirrhosis, you should limit the amount of Tylenol that you take to 2000mg in 24 hours.

No. Studies have shown that split dose preps (in which laxatives are taken the evening before and the morning of the procedure) produce better cleansing.  While this can make for an early morning, the most important thing is that you get a good quality exam. A good quality exam will reduce the chance of having to repeat the prep/procedure, or having polyps missed during the exam. If there is stool residue stuck to the side of your colon, your doctor may not be able to find and remove all polyps and cancer can be missed.

Yes. Your body produces 6 – 7 liters of fluid a day, even if you are not consuming solid food. This fluid is continuously coating the colon. Consuming the entire prep helps clean out this fluid and increases the quality of your colonoscopy.

If you have Valley Gastroenterology Patient Portal Account, log in and navigate to Records, then Documents and you will find your prep instructions there. We also have all of the preps listed on our Website under Patient Recourses.