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Colonoscopy (cont.)

Colonoscopy Preparation

A colonoscopy can be performed in a hospital, clinic, or in a doctor's office, depending on the facility. The patient will be given an appointment and a set of instructions to follow before the test is performed.

  • Although the exact instructions given may vary from clinic to clinic, their objective is the same: to clean out the contents of the bowel before the test.
  • This allows the bowel wall to be seen during the test.
  • This system of cleaning the bowel is often called bowel preparation or "prep."
  • The patient will be given a combination of liquid diet, laxatives, or enemas for up to two days prior to the test with instructions on how to use them. Several medications are available for bowel cleansing, including polyethylene glycol 3350 (GoLYTELY, NuLYTELY), magnesium citrate (Citroma), and senna (X-Prep).
  • These medications produce diarrhea, which can be uncomfortable, but unless the bowel is empty of stool, the test can be limited and may need to be repeated at a later date.
  • On the night before the test is to be performed, nothing should be taken by mouth (food or liquids) until after the test is finished.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2013
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