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What are some instructions you should follow before undergoing a colonscopy?

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Quick Answer

Prepare for a colonoscopy by emptying the colon, starting approximately 16 hours prior to the scheduled procedure, states Harvard Medical School. Follow the doctor’s orders, such as eating the right diet and drinking liquids for bowel cleansing, which increases the chance of having a successful procedure.

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Full Answer

A colonoscopy is a procedure used in identifying colon cancer, polyps that may develop into cancer, and lesions. A colonoscopy can also detect and remove polyps, says Harvard Medical School. Early detection of growths inside the colon gives the patient better treatment options to prevent cancer metastasis.

Eat a low-fiber diet a few days prior to the colonoscopy, explains Harvard Medical School. Eliminate certain foods, such as whole grains, dried fruits, nuts and raw fruits or vegetables. Within 24 hours of the procedure, avoid eating solid foods. Only ingest clear liquids, such as Jell-O, popsicles, sports drinks, broth, black coffee, tea, clear soft drinks and clear juices, such as apple and white grape juices.

Drink one gallon of liquid bowel cleanser on the evening before the bowel cleaning. Some doctors prescribe a split dosing method, taking half a gallon the night before and the other half within six hours of the colonoscopy. The liquid triggers diarrhea, so follow further instructions from the doctor, says Harvard Medical School.

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