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What is the best way to prepare for a colonoscopy?

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Quick Answer

Modifying the diet and drinking the prescribed bowel cleanse are the best steps to prepare for a colonoscopy, according to Harvard Medical School. The purpose of this preparation is to leave the bowel as clean as possible so the doctor sees any unusual growths in the large intestine.

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Several days before the colonoscopy, patients should start eliminating most fiber from the diet, recommends Harvard Medical School. This means avoiding raw vegetables and fruits, dried fruits, seeds, nuts and whole grains. Instead, eating refined grains and protein reduces fiber in the system.

The day before the colonoscopy takes place, the patient should not eat any solid foods, explains Harvard Medical School. Instead, he should only have clear liquids such as black coffee, tea, clear juices, clear broth or clear bouillon. Sports beverages are also acceptable, as are popsicles and Jell-O. This diet lasts until two hours before the colonoscopy, at which point the patient should not consume anything until after the procedure.

On the evening or afternoon before the colonoscopy, the patient should start drinking the bowel preparation liquid the doctor prescribed. In some cases, just one dose on that evening is necessary, while other treatments split the treatment into two doses. This liquid stimulates diarrhea that cleans all debris out of the colon, allowing the doctor a clear view of growths in the gut, notes Harvard Medical School.

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