Module 1. Understanding and Preparing for Colonoscopy

What does bowel prep involve?

Before your colonoscopy procedure, you will need to cleanse your bowel completely. This is called bowel preparation (or bowel prep), and it is the most important requirement for a successful colonoscopy. As Dr. Gelrud and Dr. Echavarria explain, a good bowel prep done by you will allow a good colonoscopy examination to be performed by your doctor. A well-cleaned colon lets your doctor see clearly inside your colon for polyps or other abnormalities. A poorly cleaned colon will obscure your doctor's view, making it easy to lose and miss polyps or abnormalities that can over time become cancer. The bowel prep process includes dietary restrictions and taking a bowel prep medication. Dietary changes play an important role because certain foods, like vegetables, can be seen in the colon during a colonoscopy. Dietary changes include a low residue diet (low fiber) a few days before your colonoscopy, and a clear liquid diet the day before and the day of your colonoscopy. Before your colonoscopy procedure, your doctor will give you the exact diet and bowel prep instructions you need to follow. Make sure you fully read the instructions ahead of time and that you plan accordingly.
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Animation - What is a colonoscopy and how do I prepare?
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