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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I am having a colonsocopy how do I prepare?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Yahya Al-Habbal

    Bariatric (Obesity) Surgeon, General Surgeon, Upper GI Surgeon (Abdominal)

    Yahya has had an extensive career in surgery, working in various countries to accumulate diverse training and experience. He initiated his basic surgical training in … View Profile

    Before you can have a colonoscopy, your bowel needs to be completely cleaned out. This is so that when the colonoscope (tube) moves through the bowel, the camera on its tip can get a clear view inside. It’s very important that the bowel is prepared properly, otherwise the colonoscopy may not be successful, and the procedure may need to be repeated.

    In Australia, it is standard practice to provide patients with information about the procedure and how to prepare for it before a colonoscopy is done. You will be given a preparation kit that includes full instructions on what you need to do.

    the week before – take seeds out of your diet the day before – instead of eating solid foods, drink only clear fluids, such as broth and water (if your colonoscopy is scheduled for the afternoon, you may be able to eat a low fibre breakfast the day before, then clear fluids)

    the day of the colonoscopy – don’t eat or drink anything for at least two hours before the procedure. It is also usual to be asked to drink a special preparation solution (called oral lavage) to further clean out your bowel. There are a few different types, but they are all effective. The timing of when you drink the solution will depend on when your colonoscopy is scheduled:

    early morning colonoscopy – drink the solution the night before

    mid-morning colonoscopy – drink half the solution the night before, and half early the next morning

    afternoon colonoscopy – drink the solution the morning of the procedure.

    Before the colonoscopy, the doctor will discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions you have. You will also be asked to sign a consent form allowing the test to be done.

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