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How do you prepare for a colonoscopy procedure?

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Quick Answer

The biggest step in preparing for a colonoscopy is to start avoiding solid foods the day before the procedure, reports Harvard Health Publications. This allows the colon to clear out so that doctors do not miss any polyps or lesions during the procedure.

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Only drink clear liquids before the colonoscopy, recommends Harvard Health. These can include water, broth, tea, some juices and clear soft drinks. Avoid drinking beverages with red, purple or blue dye, because they can look like blood during the colonoscopy. If you want something more solid, Jell-O or a popsicle is usually fine. Stop consuming anything two to three hours before your procedure.

Begin eating a low-fiber diet a few days before the procedure, recommends Harvard Health. Cut down on fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.

Your doctor gives you a medication that clears out your bowels to give the doctor a better picture, reports Harvard Health. You usually take this laxative the afternoon or evening prior to your colonoscopy, although the exact dose and timing varies. This medication may cause diarrhea, and many of these medications may cause nausea, cramping, dehydration or kidney problems. Harvard Health recommends drinking extra liquids both before and after a colonoscopy.

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