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Before Your Colonoscopy

Use the following information to prepare for your colonoscopy at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Medications

Take all of your regular medications with the following exceptions:

  • If you are a diabetic on insulin or an oral diabetic medication, please check with the doctor who manages your diabetes about decreasing your dosage. Your diet will be changed for a few days before the examination.
  • If you are on an antiplatelet medication such as Ticlid, Plavix, Integrilin, Reopro, or Aggrastat, you must contact your doctor to ask if you may stop this medication seven days before your colonoscopy.
  • If you are on Coumadin, you must contact the doctor who manages your medication about whether it can be stopped for five days before, and possibly seven days after, the procedure. If there is a problem with stopping the medication, please contact us several days before your colonoscopy.
  • Do not take any iron for one week before your procedure.

For heart patients

If you have artificial heart valves, or a history of endocarditis (infection of the heart valves) contact your heart doctor to see if you need antibiotics before your colonoscopy. (If you need antibiotics before dental procedures, you may need to take them before your colonoscopy.) These antibiotics will be given by IV before the procedure, so you will need to arrive 30 minutes earlier than listed for your appointment.

What to eat before your colonoscopy

Two days before your colonoscopy, you may eat light meals that include fat-free clear soups; small portions of skinless chicken or turkey, fish, white bread, eggs, and plain noodles; and clear liquids.

After breakfast on the day before your examination, you will be following a clear liquid diet (see "Cleansing preparation," below).

You may not have any solid foods, including butter, cream, fruit, vegetables, seeds, or nuts.

Do not eat or drink anything that is dark red or purple, such as juices, Jell-O, or popsicles in those colors.

Cleansing preparations

You will need to clean out your bowels before your colonoscopy. We will mail you the prescription for your NuLytely preparation, which you must fill at least five days before your procedure.

Please follow these instructions because they will help us give you an easier and more thorough colonoscopy.

The day before your colonoscopy

  1. At 8:00 am, eat a light breakfast. You may have eggs, white toast, and a plain bagel. No nuts, raisins, or fruit.
  2. After breakfast you will be following a clear liquid dietYou may not have any solid food, including butter, cream, fruit, vegetables, seeds, or nuts. Do not eat or drink anything that is dark red or purple, such as in juices, Jell-O, or popsicles.
  3. At 4:00 pm, start drinking the cleansing preparation, NuLytely. It is very helpful to add Crystal Light to the NuLytely to flavor it. Crystal Light comes in several flavors, so you may wish to try a flavor in a single glass of NuLytely to find one you like before flavoring the entire gallon.
    • Drink one glass of the NuLytely every 10 to 15 minutes. You may stop for 30 to 60 minutes if you feel very full, and then resume drinking the NuLytely. When you are finished, you should be passing clear fluid when you move your bowels.
    • It is best if you drink at least part of the NuLytely (4 to 6 glasses) the morning before your test. Finish the liquid 1 to 1-1/2 hours before leaving the house. But if you are traveling a distance and you are to arrive at the hospital for your colonoscopy between 7:00 and 9:00 am, drink all of the NuLytely the evening before your procedure.
    • If you are to arrive for your colonoscopy between 10:00 am and noon, drink 3/4 of the NuLytely the evening before your procedure and the remaining 1/4 the morning of your colonoscopy.
    • If you are to arrive for your colonoscopy between 1:00 and 3:00 pm, drink half of the NuLytely the evening before your procedure and the remaining half the morning of your colonoscopy.

The day of your colonoscopy

  • Do not eat any solid foods. You may have clear liquids until you arrive at the hospital the morning of your procedure.
  • Follow the instructions given with your preparation drink (NuLytely) for the morning of your procedure. It is especially important that you drink enough NuLytely on the morning of your test so that you will be passing clear or very light yellow fluid before the test.
  • You may have clear liquids until two hours before your procedure
  • Bring a friend or family member to drive you home after your colonoscopy. You will be too sleepy to drive after the procedure. If you do not have a driver, your procedure will be canceled.
  • Ask your doctor whether you should take your normal medications before the procedure. If approved, take the medication in the morning, once you have completely cleaned your bowels.
  • Plan to be at the hospital for about three hours.

At the hospital

Report to Endoscopy/Same Day Program area at least one hour before your procedure is to begin. Here you will:

  • Be given a four-digit privacy code that will allow your relatives and/or close friends to call and check on your progress
  • Complete a health history form
  • Complete a form about your medical and surgical history
  • Make a list of any medications you may be using
  • Talk with a nurse about any drug allergies you may have. You will also review with the nurse what will happen during and after the colonoscopy. The nurse will fill out an assessment before the procedure.
  • Be given medication (by IV) that will make you feel drowsy and relaxed
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