Before a colonoscopy, you may need to avoid solid food the day before (by drinking only clear liquids). Your doctor may ask you to fast completely the night before. Some people may also have to take a liquid or pill laxative the night before (and possibly the morning of the exam, too) to clean out the colon. Your doctor might also make adjustments to your usual medications before the procedure. Since everyone is different, be sure to ask your doctor how best to prepare for your colonoscopy.
During the colonoscopy, you’ll be offered sedation to make you more comfortable during the procedure. This will be delivered with medication via a needle in your arm (IV). Then a long flexible tube (colonoscope) will be inserted into your rectum and colon. The tube has a light and camera so your doctor can see inside your colon on a monitor. To get clearer images, your doctor may put air into your colon through the tube, which may cause some cramping. Your doctor may then insert instruments through the tube to take tissue samples (biopsy) or to remove polyps.
Before your colonoscopy, talk with your doctor about the colonoscopy prep that’s right for you and what to expect during the procedure.