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Colonoscopy: How To Prepare

Will you have a colonoscopy in the next few days? Then the doctor has probably already explained to you how the examination works and what you need to consider in advance. If you should have forgotten a few tips in the excitement, we summarize the most important points for preparation here:

Avoid foods containing grain

Avoid foods that contain grains three to four days before your doctor's appointment. That means: Among other things, no muesli, no wholemeal bread, no tomatoes, kiwis or grapes. "If there are still grains in the intestine, it hinders the investigation," explains private lecturer Dr. Axel Eickhoff, head of the gastroenterological department at the Hanau Clinic. For example, the examination device, i.e. the endoscope, could become clogged with undigested granules.

No high-fiber foods the day before

On the day before the colonoscopy, you are only allowed to eat "easily digestible food". For example, eat a white sandwich with yogurt for breakfast. Prepare a clear vegetable broth at lunchtime, yogurt will again be a side dish. Vegetables such as spinach, asparagus or legumes, on the other hand, are unfavorable because they contain a lot of fiber. Therefore, avoid such high-fiber foods - as well as the grains.

From the afternoon only clear broth and drinks

After lunch: only spoon clear soup when you are hungry. You should not eat anything after 6 p.m. You can drink as much as you like the day before. You will also usually start drinking the laxative in the afternoon or evening. When exactly you need to drink the cleaning solution depends on the particular preparation that the doctor has prescribed for you. It will also tell you how much fluids to drink in total.

Nowadays, however, you are usually spared five to six liters of a barely edible salt solution! Even if the total amount you drink can be several liters, you usually only have to drink two to three liters of the laxative solution. You can often choose the rest as you like - for example, light fruit juice without pulp or thin tea. Bowel specialist Eickhoff has a tip: "You can mix almost all products with apple juice or something similar and drink them chilled, then they taste more pleasant." It is best to ask at your doctor's office.

Only drinking allowed directly before the colonoscopy

You are not allowed to eat anything - at least beforehand - on the day of the colonoscopy. If you can't stand hunger, drink a sugary lemonade or light fruit juice. You may have to get your five to six liters of liquid anyway.

Important: Point out medication

Medication - for example for high blood pressure - you take normally throughout the day. If you take a blood sugar lowering drug or inject insulin, you must - in consultation with the doctor treating you - adjust the dose and check your blood sugar more frequently. Important: Blood thinners must be discontinued prior to the examination. Under no circumstances do this on your own. Your doctor will give you precise instructions. The effectiveness of contraceptives ("the pill") may be limited. Ask the doctor what to watch out for.

Do you want a sedative?

If you would like to be injected with a sleeping pill before the procedure so that you do not notice the examination, you are not allowed to drive a car afterwards. This also applies to motorcycling and cycling or the operation of devices. Let us take you home and give yourself the rest of the day rest. If you can, don't go back to work until the next day.

When can you eat something after the examination?

Normally, if you feel like it, you can eat again without restrictions after the examination - unless the doctor tells you otherwise. It is best to ask specifically. Of course, once you've been given a sedative, you'll need to be fully awake first.

Important NOTE: These are general recommendations. Your doctor may give you other tips that may apply to you, depending on the laxative solution used and their own experience. People who suffer from heart or kidney disease may need to check the amount they drink with their doctor.

Video: what is a colonoscopy?

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