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Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (cont.)

Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Preparation

Upper endoscopy

  • The doctor will explain to the patient the procedure, including the possibility of biopsy and risks such as the need to remove polyps or other surgical procedures.
  • The doctor will ask the patient to sign a consent form agreeing to the procedure. At the same time, he or she must inform the endoscopy team of any medications, reactions, or allergies to previous procedures or tests.
  • Wear clothing that is easily removed.
  • Remove all dentures and eyeglasses prior to beginning an upper endoscopy. For colonoscopy, dentures can be left in.


  • Stop taking any medications, such as aspirin and sucralfate (Carafate), used to treat ulcers, that could cause false readings on tests.
  • People who have had cardiac valve replacement or blood vessel graft should receive antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for 8-10 hours before your examination to allow a valid examination of the upper GI tract and to lower the risk of vomiting.
  • You will be given a topical anesthetic before the test to numb your throat to prevent gagging.

Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy

  • Your rectum and colon should be cleaned of all fecal matter. Even a small amount of feces can reduce reliability of the test.
  • You will change your diet prior to the test-no fibers or foods with small seeds for 5-6 days before the examination. You will drink liquids such as tea, fruit juices, and clear broth.
  • You may be given laxatives 12-15 hours before the test. You will be asked to drink up to 4 liters (about 4 qt) of a special cleansing solution to clean out the colon. Several medications are available for bowel cleansing, including polyethylene glycol 3350 (GoLYTELY, NuLYTELY). Other laxatives to cleanse the bowel, such as magnesium citrate (Citroma) or senna (X-Prep), may also be prescribed, though polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX) is currently the most frequently used in colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy preparation.
  • You may be given 1 or 2 little enemas 2-3 hours before the procedure.
  • The doctor may perform a rectal examination to detect narrowings, polyps or abnormal growth, or hidden bleeding from your lower intestine.
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