Preparing for Your Colonoscopy

Please review this page one week before your procedure. These FAQs are just a guide. Please review the prep instructions you received from your prescribing AAGA physician. Call us directly at (410) 224-2116 if you have questions. Between 5 pm and 8 am, our doctor on call can assist you.

What can I eat or drink?
Please avoid ANY food or drink that is not clear (that you can’t see light through). For the entire day before your testing, do not consume any solid food, pudding, ice cream, milk, milk products, sherbert, yogurt, Ensure or shakes, creamer for hot beverages, etc.

DO NOT drink any red, purple, or dark-colored fluids. If you must drink colas or coffee, please limit intake the day before your procedure to four ounces. Caffeinated clear soda like Mountain Dew can help with caffeine withdrawal.

When must I stop taking fluids?
Your anesthesiologist at MCDH requires you stop drinking 4 hours before your test(s). However, you may take medications with a very small sip of water up to 2 hours before the procedure.

Should I stop my blood pressure and other medicines?
Please do NOT stop your blood pressure medicine. Take it as directed, even on the day of your testing. Please refer back to the printed instructions about blood thinners, diabetic drugs, other agents (prescription and non-prescription).

Contact us with any questions concerning pre-procedure medication restrictions. If your prescribing doctor wants you to continue blood thinners before your procedure, please call our office. Blood thinners include: Pradaxa (Dabigatron), Xarelto (Rivaroxaban), Effient (Prasugrel), and Eliquis (Apixaban).

I forgot to stop taking aspirin or other anti-inflammatory/arthritis medicine at the prescribed time. Can I still have the test?
Yes, but don’t take any more of the drug(s) in question. When you arrive, alert our nurse as to what medicines you have consumed.

I can’t stomach the prep!
If taste is the issue, try sipping the solution through a straw or add non-red-colored Crystal Light sugar-free flavoring to the product. Avoid sugared additives since this will reduce the effectiveness of your prep product. Chilling the prep solution may also improve its palatability.

If the amount of the solution is problematic, start drinking it earlier so the full volume of the prep can be consumed.

If nauseated or vomiting, take a 30-60 minute break then restart the prep. Also, rinsing with mouthwash, chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking on a piece of sugar-free candy may help improve your prep tolerance.

Can I stop drinking when my stools are running “yellow water?”
Please make every effort to finish the full volume of the prescribed prep, even if your stools are running clear yellow. Many patients make the mistake of stopping too soon. Not finishing the product often results in a less-than-ideal preparation, which adversely affects the quality of your colonoscopy exam.

I have my period. Can I still have the test?

I have a cold and/or fever. Can I still have the test?
Probably, but please call our office prior to starting your prep to discuss with our physicians. Please also discuss with your anesthesiologist when you arrive. He or she will decide if sedation can be safely administered.

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