What Diet and Medications Are Used Before a Colonoscopy?


Quick Answer

Before a colonoscopy a patient is typically given oral laxatives and requested to drink a large quantity of a cleansing solution or is put on a clear-liquid diet for several days, according to MedicineNet. Immediately prior to the procedure intravenous fluids, usually including a sedative, are administered.

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Full Answer

The colon must be completely cleared before a colonoscopy if an accurate image of the colon lining is to be obtained, states MedicineNet. Cleansing preparations must be conducted exactly as prescribed to ensure that the colonoscopy yields an adequate visual image of the colon. Residual stool in the colon can obscure the doctor's view of the colon lining, requiring repetition of the colonoscopy or substitution by a less informative test. Sometimes specific instructions are given to avoid eating stringy foods, red Jello and foods containing seeds during the days leading up to the colonoscopy.

Some medications interfere with colonoscopy procedures, requiring that the colonoscopist be informed of all medications the patient is currently taking, advises MedicineNet. Common medications that possibly require provisional instructions prior to a colonoscopy include aspirin, arthritis medicines, blood thinners, insulin and iron supplements. The colonoscopist should be informed if the patient has previously required precautionary antibiotics before surgeries or dental procedures.

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