Colonoscopy:5 Ways To Do Colon Cleanse For Colonoscopy

colon cleanse for colonoscopy

An estimated 153,020 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer[1] in 2023, and 52,550 will die. Colon cancer accounts for 8.6% of all cancer deaths. It is more common in men than women and more prevalent in black and Native Americans/Alaskan Natives than in other races. It is the fourth most common cancer[2] diagnosed in the U.S.

Screening for colon cancer is vital to catching it early enough to treat it successfully. The American Cancer Society[3] recommends screening for everyone age 45 and older with an average risk of colon cancer. Screening[3] may be accomplished through a colonoscopy or a stool test. If the results from the stool test are abnormal, a colonoscopy may be recommended.

Screening by colonoscopy is the standard practice for diagnosing abnormalities. The colonoscopy preparations ensure an accurate and successful screening. Continue reading to learn how to do a bowel preparation for a successful colonoscopy.

How To Do Colon Cleanse For Colonoscopy

  • Step 1: Preparing for your colon cleanse.
  • Step 2: Change your diet a few days before your colonoscopy.
  • Step 3: Begin your colon prep for colonoscopy on time.
  • Step 4: Consume only a clear liquid diet the day before your colonoscopy.
  • Step 5: Finish the entire bowel cleanse for colonoscopy.

5 Ways To Do Colon Cleanse For Colonoscopy

The following steps will help you properly prepare for a colonoscopy. Planning will make your colonoscopy prep easier.



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Preparing For Your Colon Cleanse

Many people put off their colonoscopy because they are anxious. Some are anxious about the test, and others are concerned about the prep. The procedure itself is tolerable, as you will be sedated during the process. Your doctor will determine the best bowel prep medications for you to use. Being adequately prepared for the bowel cleanse for a colonoscopy will alleviate anxiety.

Begin the bowel prep at home the day before you go in for your screening test. Read the instructions carefully a few days before to know when to begin.

Determine which foods you will eat a few days before your prep and which clear liquids you prefer, and make a trip to the grocery store so you are prepared.

Change Your Diet A Few Days Before Your Colonoscopy

colon cleanse for colonoscopy

When do you start the prep for a colonoscopy? It’s earlier than you think. Adjusting what you eat[4] a few days before your colonoscopy prep begins will make the bowel cleansing easier. Eating a low-residue diet has long been recommended.

Some research[4] has shown that changing your diet in the days leading up to the colonoscopy is unnecessary, but follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and ask questions if you do not understand.

Foods to avoid:

  • Nuts.
  • Seeds.
  • Red meat.
  • Popcorn.
  • Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and have skin.

Recommended foods to eat:

  • Soups.
  • Smoothies.
  • Rice.
  • Pasta.
  • Chicken.
  • Eggs.
  • Steamed vegetables.

Begin Your Colon Prep For Colonoscopy On Time

Read carefully to know when to start the prep for your colonoscopy. The bowel preparation may be done entirely the evening before your screening or divided between that evening and the morning of your colonoscopy: a split dose.[5] You may need to get up early on the day of your screening to finish the colon cleanse drink for the colonoscopy. Your healthcare provider will provide instructions for when you need to consume the prep doses.

The colon cleanse drink may require mixing and measuring. Keeping a written list of the times you consume the laxative can help you remain on track. You can mix the prep liquid with a flavored sports drink such as Gatorade to improve the taste. Be sure to check the instructions you were given with your prep kit.

Consume Only A Clear Liquid Diet The Day Before Your Colonoscopy

colon cleanse for colonoscopy
Your healthcare provider will instruct you to begin a clear liquid diet[4] the day before your colonoscopy. Do not consume anything red or purple on your liquid diet. These dyes may be mistaken for blood in your bowel during your screening. Recommended clear liquids include:
  • Black coffee or tea.
  • Jello (not red or purple).
  • Clear fruit juices (apple, pear, white grape).
  • Sprite or 7Up.
  • Sports drinks  (not red or purple).
  • Popsicles (not red or purple).
  • Broth.

Your healthcare provider will tell you when you must stop eating and drinking before the colonoscopy.

Finish The Entire Bowel Cleanse For Colonoscopy

Once you begin the prep, you will likely want to stay home until you leave for your screening. When the laxative kicks in, you will have several hours of diarrhea.

Eventually, your waste will be clear or yellow liquid (from bile), indicating your colon is nearly empty. But how do you know if your colon is clean enough for a colonoscopy? You do not. Even if your output looks clear, finish all of your prep solution.

What Is Colonoscopy Prep?

A correct bowel prep for colonoscopy is essential to a successful procedure. Bowel cleansing involves cleaning out your entire lower digestive tract. Besides preparing for a colonoscopy, there is little reason to complete a colon cleanse like this.

Colonoscopy prep involves consuming a prescribed laxative solution[6] that will completely empty your bowels. Your doctor will prescribe a large volume of liquid, laxative pills, or a combination of both.

The formula[6] you take will force water out of your body into your bowel, increasing the volume in your intestine. The laxative properties increase peristalsis, or muscle contractions, quickly moving waste through the bowel. The prescribed laxative often contains electrolytes to help prevent dehydration.

Why Is Colon Cleanse Important?

When the doctor uses a camera to inspect your bowel during the procedure, the bowel must be free of all debris. A clean colon allows the doctor to assess the bowel’s lining for signs of cancer. Signs of cancer and polyps[7] (extra tissue growth) can be small, and if the inside of the bowel is not perfectly clean, these signs are more difficult to see. The doctor may not discern waste from abnormalities, potentially making your colonoscopy useless.

You may wonder if doing a colon cleanse for other reasons, such as detox, is necessary. Your body takes care of its own detox through various organs,[8] such as the liver, lungs, and kidneys. Your body does not require routine colon cleanses for detox. Here are practical suggestions to keep your body healthy.

A colon cleanse is also unnecessary for treating gas, bloating, or diarrhea. If you suffer from any of these symptoms and they don’t go away on their own in a day or two, be sure to talk to your doctor.

There are benign reasons for these symptoms, but other health problems,[9] such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease, can also cause them.

Side Effects & Safety Tips

Avoid dehydration during colonoscopy prep by drinking clear liquids.

Frequently going to the bathroom to empty your bowels during bowel prep may cause burning or itching of the skin near your anus. Using high-quality toilet paper that is soft or purchasing wet wipes may help prevent irritation. Applying an ointment like Vaseline may help soothe your skin.

Some people find drinking a large volume of liquid makes them feel nauseous or causes them to vomit. Drinking the solution cold and with a straw are two suggestions to make it more tolerable. You will be instructed to drink in a specific time frame, but within that period, you can break up the volume into smaller portions so it is manageable.

You may experience bloating and cramping while taking the bowel prep medications. This should be mild and will resolve once the procedure is over.

Final Thoughts

While doing the bowel preparations and when you go to your appointment, choose comfortable, stretchy clothing. A tight waistband will be uncomfortable and make it more challenging to get to the bathroom quickly.

You will need a responsible adult to drive you to your appointment and take you home after. It is often recommended that someone stay with you for several hours after your test while the anesthesia wears off. You may slowly resume a regular diet.

The incidence of advanced colorectal cancer is rising in people under 50.[10] Younger people should learn the signs of colon cancer and contact their doctor if they notice these signs:[11]

  • Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation,
  • Blood in the stool, making it black or darker than usual.
  • Visible red blood.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling like you need to have a bowel movement after just having one.
  • Vomiting.
  • Unexplained weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to fully clear bowels for colonoscopy?

Completely clearing your bowels can take 12-16 hours. Depending on the prep prescribed, you may finish it the evening before or the morning of your appointment.

What is the fastest way to clean out your colon for a colonoscopy?

The only safe way to clean out your colon for a colonoscopy is to follow the exact instructions given to you with your bowel prep.

What should you avoid three days before a colonoscopy?

High-fiber foods like popcorn, nuts, and seeds. Avoid foods or drinks that contain red or purple dyes.

What is the easiest colonoscopy prep?

There are different laxative options available from your doctor: a large quantity of liquid solution, pills, and a combination of both. Your doctor will evaluate which is safest for you according to your health.

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