Tips For Making Colonoscopy Prep Easier

  • Khushleen Kaur MSci Chemistry with a Year in Industry, Imperial College London, UK
  • Katheeja Imani MRes Biochemistry, University of Nottingham, UK


Colonoscopy is a procedure that helps take a closer look into the large intestine (colon, rectum and anus) and the distal portions of the small intestine for any abnormalities that can be cancerous or non-cancerous, for example, intestinal ischemia, ischemic colitis, gastrointestinal bleeding, colon cancer etc. It is an important screening tool for individuals over 50 years of age and those with a family history of colon cancer.1

Colon cancer is the 4th most common cancer in the UK, with 42,900 people diagnosed each year, and colonoscopy is a vital tool for detecting and preventing this disease. However, the thought of undergoing a colonoscopy can be daunting for many people, especially the preparation process. While colonoscopies are vital in detecting and preventing colon cancer, the colonoscopy prep process can be challenging and unpleasant for some people.

Colonoscopy preparation involves cleaning out your colon so that your doctor can have a clear view of the lining of your colon during the procedure. While the prep process can be challenging, there are tips and strategies you can use to make it easier and more manageable. 

Explanation of what a colonoscopy is and why it is important

Colonoscopy is a procedure that uses a long, flexible tube-like device with a high-definition camera attached to the tip of the tube. This device is called a colonoscope. The camera is moved along the bowel to look for any abnormalities, and the healthcare provider will be able to see the insides of the large intestine on the screen.1

Early detection through colonoscopy screening can greatly increase the chances of successful treatment and recovery.

Overview of the challenges of the colonoscopy prep process

Colonoscopy preparation can be difficult on a physical and mental level, but many people who should have the operation typically choose not to because they are anxious about the procedure and how to prepare for it. Your colon must be clear and empty before the procedure so that your doctor can see the lining of your intestines clearly. You would need to fast beforehand and take laxatives for this to happen.

Cleaning out the colon is a step in the preparation procedure, which normally calls for a clear liquid diet, laxatives, and maybe other drugs. Many people find preparation time-consuming and painful, and others may have unpleasant side effects like nausea and cramping.

Emphasis on the importance of completing the prep process to ensure an accurate colonoscopy

Although the preparation stage can be challenging, it is crucial for a successful and accurate colonoscopy. Your doctor will be better able to detect any anomalies if your colon is cleaner. Skipping or failing to finish the preparation process can result in an erroneous or incomplete screening, which may overlook abnormalities and necessitate further testing.

Tips to make the colonoscopy preparation easy 

Diet-related tips

Some dietary tips to keep in mind while preparing for a colonoscopy includes: 

  • Maintain a clear liquid diet: Maintaining a clear liquid diet throughout the preparation will let your digestive system rest and will improve the cleaning process. Water, clear broth, apple juice, and tea are a few examples of clear liquids.
  • Avoid tough-to-digest foods: Preparation can be made less strenuous and easy by staying away from foods that are difficult to digest. High-fibre foods, dairy products, and fatty foods should be avoided.
  • Keep hydrated: It's crucial to keep hydrated throughout the preparation process as it can lower the likelihood of unpleasant side effects like nausea and cramping. Water and other clear juices should be consumed in large quantities.
  • Use laxatives as recommended: To aid with colon cleaning, your doctor may prescribe laxatives. It's crucial to use them as prescribed and to abide by any additional directions contained in the medication's container or provided by your doctor.

Lifestyle-related tips

  • Plan ahead and take time off work: The preparation procedure might be time-consuming, so it's crucial to plan ahead and, if necessary, take time off work. This can lessen your stress and let you concentrate on the preparation.
  • Discover activities to keep yourself busy while preparing: Preparation can be tedious and painful. It can be easier to go through the process if you can find activities to pass the time, such as watching a movie or reading a book.
  • Please follow the preparation instructions: It's crucial to strictly adhere to your doctor's preparation recommendations.
  • Have a system of support to see you through the process: Invite a friend or member of your family to assist you with your preparations. They can help keep you on track with the preparation procedures and offer emotional support.

Medical tips

To make the colonoscopy preparation process simpler, please let your healthcare provider know:

  • If you are taking medicines to thin your blood or prevent it from clotting (anticoagulants or antiplatelets), This does not apply if you only take aspirin
  • If you have diabetes and are on insulin
  • If you are allergic to any medicines or latex (rubber)
  • If you take any regular medicines, this includes anything you buy from a pharmacy or shop and even herbal or homoeopathic medicines. 

Before the surgery, several medications may need to be temporarily stopped or modified.

Also, discuss any concerns or medical conditions you have with your doctor beforehand. If you have inflammatory bowel disease or any other medical conditions, speak with your doctor before beginning. To ensure that your preparation process is safe and effective, they might provide you with specific instructions and advice that suits you the best.

Ask your doctor about alternate prep methods if you're experiencing trouble with the traditional prep procedure. For some people, a prep phase with divided doses could be more tolerable. It's crucial to take prescribed drugs exactly as instructed. Speak with your doctor if you have any queries or worries regarding your drugs.


A colonoscopy is a procedure that helps take a closer look into the large intestine for cancerous or noncancerous abnormalities using a device called a colonoscope. For a successful colonoscopy to be accurate, the colonoscopy preparation process must be completed. Although the preparation process can be difficult, there are methods and techniques you can employ to make it simpler and easier to handle. Maintaining a clear liquid diet, drinking enough water, making dietary changes, using laxatives as prescribed, paying close attention to the preparation instructions, having a support system, planning ahead, and finding something to do to pass the time are some ways to make the process easier. Keep your healthcare provider informed about your allergies, if you have any other medical conditions and if you are on any medications. Also, speak with your doctor if you have any worries or inquiries concerning the preparation process. Keep in mind that finishing the preparation procedure is essential for identifying and preventing colon cancer or other disorders of the colon.


  1. Stauffer CM, Pfeifer C. Colonoscopy. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 [cited 2024 Feb 8]. Available from: 
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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On-Emore Akpevwe

Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery - MBBS, Medicine and Surgery, Delta State University (NG)

Hi, I'm Akpevwe, a Medical Doctor who has always loved writing and enjoyed writing as a hobby for many years.

I am particularly interested in writing about healthcare and medical topics, and hope to use my background in medicine to provide unique insights and perspectives.

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