A colonoscopy is a procedure that doctors often perform to examine the colon. During this procedure, the doctor inserts a tube into the rectum and runs it through the colon. The tube has an attached camera so that doctors can examine the colon for cancer, polyps, or other issues of the gut. A few days before the procedure, patients must take certain steps to prepare for the test. While the steps can differ slightly because of doctor preferences, the result is to make sure the colon is empty prior to the procedure.

Eat Foods Low In Fiber

A few days before the procedure, your doctor will ask that you eat a diet that's low in fiber, which helps to clean out the bowels. Eating smaller meals will also aid this process. Easily digestible foods low in fiber include pasta, eggs, and white bread. You can also eat fruits and vegetables after cooking them and removing the skin. Avoid eating nuts, beans, and oatmeal.

Begin A Liquid Diet

The day before your scheduled procedure, you must switch to a liquid diet. This diet consists of clear liquids such as bouillon, broth, and gelatin. You can also have clear soft drinks, sports drinks, and fruit juice without pulp. Tea or coffee is acceptable as long as you don't add creamer or milk. Avoid eating or drinking anything that has red, purple, or blue dye as an ingredient as this can imitate bleeding in the colon during the procedure. Drink plenty of water as well so you don't become dehydrated.

Empty The Bowels

The doctor will likely recommend a solution for you to drink the night before the procedure. This solution cleans out the colon by emptying the bowels through frequent bowel movements. Eventually, you'll have very loose stool that turns into diarrhea. It's perfectly normal for the bowel movements to appear clear or yellowish, as this signifies there isn't any food left in the colon. While drinking the solution, your bowel movements will come on quickly, so it's important to remain close to the bathroom. Wear pants with an elastic waistband so you can pull them down quickly without having to waste time with a zipper or buttons. 

Your doctor will inform you of the exact steps necessary for cleaning out the colon prior to the procedure, and it's essential that you follow them thoroughly. If you don't follow the instructions and your bowel isn't empty, you may have to repeat the procedure if the doctor cannot complete the test. 

To learn more about getting a colonoscopy, contact a doctor.