Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation
Having a colonoscopy can be daunting, but with a little preparation and some knowledge the procedure is easier to handle. That’s what this brief guide is about. It’s broken into sections so you can refer to them as you need them. The sections are:
- General checklist of things to do in the weeks before your procedure
- Colonoscopy bowel preparation materials
- Seven days before the colonoscopy
- Two days before the colonoscopy
- The day before your colonoscopy
- The day of your colonoscopy
- If you are having a colonoscopy AND an EGD, these instructions are inclusive of the EGD prep.
- We require a one week notice for all procedure cancellations. Please call 603-314-6937 in the event you need to cancel or reschedule your procedure.
- Please be aware that you may be contacted by the procedural department the day of your appointment to adjust your arrival time.
General checklist of things to do in the weeks before your procedure:
Be sure you are aware of your insurance benefits and coverage.
Not all insurance policies cover screening colonoscopies. If your insurance company requires a referral or prior authorization, please make sure our office has received it prior to your procedure.
If there has been a change in your insurance information since your procedure was scheduled, please call our office to be sure your information is updated.
- Be sure you are signed up for your Solution Health MyChart account. It will help us to communicate with you and provide you with direct access to all your medical information. You can find your MyChart here: https://mychart.solutionhealth.org
- If you have diabetes, be sure you have contacted your managing or prescribing provider for medication instructions.
- If you are on a prescription blood thinner (such as Coumadin, Plavix, Eliquis, Brillinta, Xarelto, Pradaxa, or an equivalent) our nurses will contact your prescribing provider for instructions on holding this medication. If you have not heard from one of our nurses one week prior to your procedure, please contact Elliot Gastroenterology at 603-314-6907.
- If you have children or are the primary caregiver for a family member, arrangements should be made for child or dependent care during your preparation and on the day of your procedure.
- You will need a responsible adult to drive you home from your appointment. You will receive intravenous sedation (propofol) during your procedure. Although short acting, propofol may have subtle, prolonged effects on your reaction and judgment time, thought processes, and wakefulness. We fully expect you will be able to return to your normal activities the day after your procedure. This includes driving and going to work.
Colonoscopy bowel preparation materials:
Nulytely (pronounced “new-lightly”) is a prescription bowel preparation. Your prescription will be called in to your local pharmacy approximately one week prior to your procedure date.
- Flavor packets may be included with your prescription. You may choose to use a powdered drink mix for flavor (such as Crystal Light). Use ONLY flavors that are yellow, orange, or green in color – DO NOT use flavors that are red, blue, or purple.
- Dulcolax or generic bisacodyl tablets, 5 milligrams (mg). You will need six tablets. This is a laxative tablet. DO NOT get the suppository or the stool softener.
One week before your colonoscopy:
Stop ALL vitamins and supplements, including fish oil and iron.
- Stop any fiber supplements such as Metamucil, Benefiber or Citrucel. Check with your managing provider for alternatives.
- If you are diabetic, call your managing or prescribing doctor to determine how your diabetes medicine should be taken the day of the procedure.
- If you are on a prescription blood thinner and have not received your instructions, please call Elliot Gastroenterology at 603-314-6907.
Two days before your colonoscopy:
Begin low-residue and low-fiber diet. Low-residue foods process quickly through the colon, providing an easier and more comfortable preparation.
- At 5 p.m. take two Dulcolax tablets with eight ounces of water.
Foods you CAN eat:
- Turkey or Chicken (without skin)
- White Rice
- White Bread
- Plain Yogurt
- Pasta (no red sauce)
- Potato without skin
Foods you CAN'T eat:
- Fresh or dried fruit (exception of fresh banana)
- Cooked or raw vegetables
- Nuts (all)
- Seeds (all)
- Red Meat
- Gum, Mints or Hard Candy
- Anything with red, blue, or purple dye.
The day before your colonoscopy:
DRINK CLEAR LIQUIDS ONLY.
Clear liquid is any liquid that you can see through, and includes:
- Water, clear broth or bouillon, black coffee, or black tea (you may use sweeteners). DO NOT use or drink milk products.
- Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water, or Pedialyte that is clear, yellow, orange, or green. Electrolyte drinks are recommended to help you stay hydrated.
- Lemonade, limeade, ginger ale, and clear sodas. DO NOT drink cola or root beer.
- Apple juice, white grape juice, white cranberry juice.
- Jell-O and popsicles are allowed if they are yellow, green, or orange colored.
Drink at least eight glasses of water or clear liquids. It is important to drink fluids the day before the procedure to keep you hydrated. The more you drink, the better you will feel.
- In the morning, add water up to the fill line of your Nulytely bottle.
- Add the flavor packet that came with your bottle, or other powdered drink mix (such as Crystal Light). Use ONLY flavors that are yellow, orange, or green in color – DO NOT use flavors that are red, blue, or purple.
- Stir/shake until the contents are completely dissolved. Chill the mixture if desired. You will drink this later in the day.
- At 1 p.m. take two Dulcolax tablets with eight ounces of water.
- At 3 p.m. take the remaining two Dulcolax tablets with eight ounces of water.
- At 5 p.m. begin drinking the Nulytely solution. Drink one glass every 10 to 15 minutes to finish HALF the bottle within two to three hours. Using a straw will help make drinking the solution easier.
- Refrigerate the remaining half of the mixture, you will drink this in the morning.
Please note that everyone reacts to laxatives differently. You may feel bloated, nauseated, or have stomach cramping while drinking the solution. This is temporary and will improve once you start having bowel movements. If you feel ill, stop drinking for 30 minutes and then resume drinking at a slower rate. Walking around between drinking each glass can help with bloating. Bowel movements usually start within two hours of starting to drink the liquids but may take longer.
The day of your colonoscopy:
Four hours prior to your procedure time, shake the remaining solution and finish drinking it within one hour.
- You may have clear liquids (NO broth) up until three hours before your procedure time.
- Three hours prior to your procedure time, you may take the following medications with a small sip of water:
- Daily narcotic
- Blood pressure/cardiac medication
- Seizure medication
- Asthma inhalers
- Thyroid medication
After taking your medications, nothing by mouth, EVEN WATER, THREE hours before your procedure time or else your procedure WILL be cancelled!
Please call us if you continue to pass thick, brown liquid or solid bowel movements after completing the preparation. The best results include passing only yellow liquid.
Please bring to your appointment:
- Insurance card
- Photo identification
- A list of all medications and dosages as well as allergies to medications.
- A list of conditions that may make you sensitive to sedation.
As a reminder:
- Please wear glasses; DO NOT wear contacts.
- Leave all jewelry at home, including body piercings.
- You may brush your teeth and wear dentures.
- Please allow for two to three hours at the facility. Please be aware unexpected delays may occur.
- Do NOT make any important decisions on the day of your procedure.
You may receive a call from a nurse a few days before your procedure to review your health history and answer any questions you may have.
Should you need to postpone your appointment, we ask for a week’s notice so that we have time to offer the appointment time to another patient.
If you develop a fever, rash, cough, flu, or Covid-19 symptoms in the days leading up to your procedure, please notify our office immediately as it may affect your scheduled appointment.
Please know your insurance guidelines and check your insurance benefits. If your insurance requires a PCP authorization (insurance referral), please be sure our office has received this prior to your procedure to prevent any unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses for you. Also, not all insurance policies cover screening colonoscopies. For instance, if you are under 45 years old and/or have PPO insurance, this procedure may not be covered. Every insurance is different; please contact customer service for your insurance plan to check your benefit coverage.
For more information regarding preparation for your colonoscopy, please call Elliot Gastroenterology at 603-314-6900 with any questions or concerns.