Colonoscopy - Frequently Asked Questions

Please read thoroughly as most answers to your questions can be found below:


1. What is the best “clear” liquid to take?
Gatorade, which comes in many flavors, is an excellent choice as it contains electrolytes such as potassium; clear boullion or chicken broth. Avoid RED liquids.

2. Why avoid red liquids?
The red color can persist in the colon and potentially look like blood.

3. One of the medications I was instructed to take the morning of my procedure is red. Can I take it?
Medications for blood pressure, heart conditions and seizures should be taken the morning of your exam regardless of the color.

4. Is there any way that I can make the prep solution taste any better?
You can try sucking on hard candy. You can rinse your mouth with water or a mouthwash. Make sure to chill it before drinking it. Try drinking it through straw. Suck on Italian lemon ices in between sips of the prep solution. Do not eat or drink anything else while you are drinking this solution.

5. I feel nauseous, what should I do?
It is important that you take your entire Prep. Remember that without a clean bowel, the doctor will not be able to adequately see the inside of your colon to complete the examination. If you feel like vomiting while taking the prep, slow down. Pause for about 30-45 minutes to allow your stomach to empty. Be sure the prep is chilled, and then try to resume the prep at a slower rate, sipping through a straw if possible. If you do vomit and are unable to continue, call us and have a phone number of a pharmacy that is open, in case we need to call in a prescription for an anti-nausea pill.

6. What if I don’t move my bowels daily?
Please notify our schedulers before you start the prep and request a special prep for patients who do not have a daily bowel movement.

7. I already have diarrhea before taking the prep, do I still have to take the laxative?
Yes, you must take the prep as directed. Your colon is approximately six feet long. The entire colon must be emptied for your physician to see the colon clearly.

8. I am taking the prep and already have loose, watery stools. Do I still need the rest of the prep?
Yes, you may have solid stool higher in the colon that needs to be eliminated. Please make sure that when you complete the prep that your movement is watery and clear; clear being defined as being able to see through the movement.

9. I have finished taking the bowel prep and haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. What should I do?
Bowel movements usually start within two to three hours after taking the prep, but can take longer. If you have not had a bowel movement within three hours of drinking your prep, you may need an extra laxative. The best options are: drinking a chilled 10oz bottle of Citrate of Magnesia (for those taking ½ Lytely prep); taking two to three Dulcolax tablets; inserting a glycerin or dulcolax suppository may also help initiate the bowel movement. Call if these options are ineffective, but please try them first!

10. I see yellow color in the toilet bowl. What do I do?
If your last bowel movements were clear enough that you were able to see the bottom of the toilet, you should be fine. The yellow color is a result of the bile that normally colors the feces. This shouldn't interfere with the examination.

11. My bottom is sore. What can I do?
To clean the area, avoid rubbing. Gently pat with a wet washcloth or lubricated baby wipes. Apply Chamois Butter, Vaseline™, Preparation H™ or Desitin liberally.

12. Can I drink alcoholic beverages?
We strongly suggest you do not drink any alcoholic beverages prior to your procedure since they can cause dehydration and some wines may thin your blood.

13. Can I chew gum or suck candy?
Yes, but nothing with soft centers or red color.

14. What if I am still passing stool the morning of my test?
Take a tap water enema until you run clear. If this does not work, call the office.

15. Can I brush my teeth?
Yes, please do.

16. Can I wear my dentures?
Yes, you may wear your dentures to the endoscopy suite. However, you may be asked to remove them prior to the procedure.

17. I have been instructed not to take anti-inflammatories or blood thinners several days before the procedure. What can I take for headaches and pain relief?
You may take Tylenol as directed.

18. Can I have chicken soup?
You can only have the broth. No noodles, chicken or vegetables allowed.

19. Can I have the colonoscopy done if I have my menstrual period?
Yes, the procedure can still be performed. We ask that you use a tampon if possible (not absolutely necessary).

20. Do I need a prescription for the laxatives?
It depends on the preparation instructions you were given. Fleet’s Phosphosoda does not require a prescription.

21. What if I have a cold, cough, rash or open wound?
If the procedure is elective, please notify our office as soon as possible so that your procedure can be rescheduled. Any patient with a fever, rash or difficulty breathing on the day of the procedure will be rescheduled.

22. What if I forgot to stop my aspirin?
Please notify the M.D. prior to the procedure. In general, we do not need to reschedule procedures for patients who forget to stop their aspirin.

23. What if I forgot to stop my Coumadin?
If you forgot to stop your Coumadin, your procedure will be cancelled and rescheduled.

24. What if I am hypoglycemic?
You may try sucking on some sugar prior to the procedure. Please do not eat or swallow anything.

25. What if I am on an antibiotic?
This will not interfere with your procedure. Please notify the M.D. that you are currently on or recently took antibiotics.

26. What can I do to manage my diabetes during the prep and procedure days?
You must contact your primary care physician to review management of your diabetes. We are available if there are any questions.