Preparing for a Standard Colonoscopy
Having a colonoscopy can be daunting, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Knowing how to prepare for a colonoscopy can be a huge help as it can take away some nerves and ensure your colonoscopy goes as smoothly as possible.
Here are some general steps to take into consideration when preparing for a colonoscopy.
Note that Queensland Gastroenterology will give you a more detailed booklet upon confirmation of your procedure, and your doctor will provide specifics per your circumstances.
The importance of preparing for a colonoscopy
For a successful colonoscopy, it’s very important that your bowel be clean. This helps your doctor to see the lining of the bowel and check for anything suspicious or problematic.
Poor preparation can mean that the procedure will have to be stopped and you will have to repeat the procedure on another day.
Colonoscopy Preparation – Timeline
Around two weeks before your procedure
Read and understand your detailed booklet provided by Queensland Gastroenterology.
This will ensure you know what to expect before, during and after your colonoscopy and allow you to make arrangements for your preparation.
For example, you should ask a friend or family member to be prepared to drive you home from the procedure if you’ve been advised by your doctor.
One week before your colonoscopy
If you’re taking any supplements, like fish oil capsules, multivitamins and so on, you need to stop taking them one week prior.
This is a good time to prepare a shopping list of the things you may need to buy for your colonoscopy preparation.
This may also include bowel preparation medication.
Examples of items you may need to stock up on
Items for a low-fibre diet
- Plain white bread / toast
- Plain muffins, bagels
- Plain bread rolls
- Plain croissants
- Pita bread
- Refined breakfast cereals like Cornflakes, Rice Bubbles etc
- Plain cakes and biscuits
- Plain pancakes
- White rice, white pasta
- Fruit juices
Items for the 24-36 hours lead up to a colonoscopy
- Cheese processed & plain Cottage cheese
- Cream or sour cream
- Rice pudding
- Condensed milk
- Evaporated milk
- Powdered milk
- Butter / margarine
- Plain milk drinks
- Soft drinks
- Strained fruit juices
- Clear soups
Please note that you won’t need all of the above items, only some in order to comply with the following steps.
2-3 days before the colonoscopy
This is when you should start eating a low-fibre diet.
Some foods that are allowed: Fruit juices, white bread/toast, refined breakfast cereals, meat and dairy foods.
Some foods that are NOT allowed: Wholegrains, porridge, muesli, nuts, seeds, baked beans, lentils, dried fruit, or raw fruits or vegetables.
Note that dark colouring in your bowel can cause inaccuracies during the colonoscopy, so avoid drinking or eating anything coloured red or purple.
24-36 hours before the colonoscopy
It’s during this time that you should avoid eating any solid foods. Instead consume only clear liquids like clear broth, tea, clear/transparent juice like apple juice, some yellow or orange sports drinks, jelly and popsicles (not red, purple or dark), etc.
Depending on your doctor’s advice, some other acceptable foods at this stage are:
- Tea / coffee with minimal low fat milk or some soft drink
- Iced tea
- Orange / lemon cordial
- Plain/transparent lollies (not red)
Make sure to keep hydrated, you can drink as much water as you like.
The day of your colonoscopy
On the day, it’s important to consume clear, or close to clear, liquids only. This may include:
- Orange / lemon cordial
- Clear soups
- Some yellow or orange sports drinks
For more information, check our Colonoscopy Information and Consent Booklet or get in touch with us.
Around two weeks before the procedure.
You should let your doctor know during your initial consultation.
A colonoscopy is typically performed with the patient under sedation or anaesthesia to minimise discomfort and pain.
You can’t drive home after a colonoscopy. We ask that you arrange for a friend or family member to drive you home after your procedure. If you are travelling home by DVA, Taxi or Uber you will need a friend or family member to accompany you in the car home.