How to Prepare
The preparation is admittedly the least pleasant part of a colonoscopy, because the patient will need to completely empty their bowels so the doctor can get a clear look at the rectum and colon. The patient will thus have to stop eating solid foods at least 24 hours before the exam.
The will also have to take a bowel preparation or laxative that will induce diarrhea and cause liquid stools. Those liquid stools can irritate the skin around the anus, so the patient should apply ointment or petroleum jelly around the anus before drinking the bowel preparation. Similarly, patients should use wet wipes rather than toilet paper.
The bowel preparation can sometimes make patients vomit or feel nauseated. If that happens, the patient should wait 30 more minutes before drinking more of the preparation, and take small sips. Walking or eating a few soda crackers may help reduce the nausea.
The patient should also tell their doctor beforehand about any medications, such as prescription, over-the-counter, or supplements, that they are taking. Some drugs can interfere with the colonoscopy, and the patient may either have to stop taking them or use a substitute for a short time.