How Do You Safely Prepare for a Colonoscopy?


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Preparing for a colonoscopy is most safely done under the direct supervision of the doctor who plans to perform the procedure, explains Amber J. Tresca for About.com. The process entails using a prescribed system that clears the colon of fecal matter; Golytely, phospho-soda or sodium phosphate tablets are the most common types of preparation.

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It is important to clear the colon because it gives the doctor a clear view of the intestinal wall, notes Tresca. To safely prepare, continually drink plenty of water, especially because colonoscopy preparation systems tend to cause diarrhea; avoiding dehydration is key. For the phospho-soda regimen, it is recommended to do a completely liquid diet starting 12 hours before the colonoscopy takes place.

The process for clearing out the colon usually starts the day before the colonoscopy; it is highly likely for the person preparing for the procedure to spend much of the preceding day on the toilet, according to Tresca. Each preparation product has a specific procedure that must be followed; failing to follow instructions can result in having to do the preparation a second time. Tresca also recommends using wet wipes throughout the preparation process because this helps keep the posterior from becoming sore.

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