The procedure and what to expect

A colonoscopy is an important exam used to evaluate intestinal bleeding, anemia, and changes in your bowel habits. It is also used as a screening test for early detection and prevention of colon cancer.

For this procedure, the doctor will have you lie on your side on an exam table, and will use a colonoscope to look inside your large intestine. You may be given medication, with your consent, to make you feel comfortable during the procedure. The exam takes approximately 30 minutes, but may vary. Please plan to be at the hospital for about three hours, including time to register, meet with nurses, and rest after your procedure

Designated Driver

Please arrange for an adult escort, 18 years or older, to take you home after the procedure. You will be receiving sedation, and you should not drive until the next day. Your escort does not have to come with you when you check in but MUST meet you in the Endoscopy Unit on Proger 3 when you are ready to go home. You are still required to have an adult escort, 18 years or older, if you plan to take the T, taxi, ride sharing service, THE RIDE, or are walking home. If you do not have an escort on the day of your procedure, your procedure will be CANCELLED.

(7) Days before your procedure

  • Pick up your prescription for the bowel prep at your pharmacy. This will require a prescription that you should have received. Call 617.636.0142 if you have any questions.
  • If you take iron pills, STOP taking them now.
  • If you take Coumadin/Warfarin/ any blood thinners, call your cardiologist, prescribing MD, or primary care doctor today for further instructions.
  • Continue taking your aspirin.


(5) Days before your procedure

  • Starting today, DO NOT eat high-fiber foods (salad/vegetables, beans, seeds, popcorn, multigrain bread, nuts, or fresh and dried fruits) until after the procedure.


(4) Days before your procedure

***If you have constipation, take narcotic medication, or have previously had a colonoscopy and were told that your colon was not well cleaned out, your "PRE-PREP" with MiraLax (available over the counter), STARTS TODAY. See "PRE-PREP WITH MIRALAX INSTRUCTIONS" below.


(1) Day before your procedure

  • Only drink Clear liquids the ENTIRE DAY before your colonoscopy. DO NOT eat any solid foods. Do not drink anything RED.
    • What CAN you have? -  Clear Soda, (ginger ale, sprite, 7-up ) Gatorade (NO RED/BLUE) chicken/Beef broth, Jell-o (NO RED/BLUE) Popsicles, lemonade (no pulp) clear juice ( apple, white cranberry, white grape)
    • What CAN'T you have? - Red, green, dark soda, Grapefruit juice, orange juice, cream soups, alcohol, yogurt or pudding, solid foods.


GOLYTELY is a prescription medicine used by adults to clean the colon before a colonoscopy or barium enema X-ray examination. GOLYTELY cleans your colon by causing you to have diarrhea (loose stools). Cleaning your colon helps your healthcare provider see the inside of your colon more clearly during your colonoscopy. It is not known if GOLYTELY is safe and effective in children.

  • Carefully read Mixing your bowel prep
    • Mixing your bowel prep
      • GoLytely solution (bowel prep) is made up by dissolving the contents of the packet included in a gallon of clear liquid
  • Fill the supplied container containing the GOLYTELY powder with lukewarm drinking water to the 4-liter fill line
  • After capping the container, shake vigorously several times to ensure that the ingredients are dissolved.
  • Keep solution refrigerated 2° to 8°C (36° to 46°F). Do not freeze. Use within 48 hours, discard unused portion


If you are unable to obtain the GoLytely solution or know from experience that you do not tolerate it, you should purchase Miralax (over the counter) and follow the "MIRALAX SPLIT DOSE INSTRUCTIONS" below.

6 PM: start drinking the first half of your Bowel prep.

8-9 PM: HALF of your Bowel prep should be completed by this time.

Day of procedure:

NOTHING TO EAT OR DRINK (Only bowel prep)

2-3 Hours before procedure: Drink the remaining HALF of your bowel prep.

Helpful hints

  • Remove all jewelry at home.
  • Leave all valuables at home Bring your photo ID & insurance card.
  • Plan on being at GI/Endoscopy center for at least 3 hours.
  • Although your physician tries their best to stay on time, issues do arise resulting in delays.
  • We appreciate your flexibility and will do our best to stay on time.
  • Flush-able moist wipes can help with soreness from frequent bowel movements.

After the procedure

You will be monitored in the Endoscopy Unit recovery area for approximately one hour. You may return to work the day after the procedure.


If you have constipation, take narcotic pain medications, or you previously had a colonoscopy and you were told that your colon was not well cleaned out, your preparation for the procedure will require that you take a "PRE PREP" for 3 days with MiraLax before starting the prescription preparation from your doctor. This is very important for your procedure to be successful. Please purchase a bottle of Miralax (available over the counter) now to have ready.

Instructions- MiraLax (available over the counter), 1 scoop (17 grams) in 8 ounces of water twice daily for 3 full days before the procedure.


YOU NEED TO BUY THE FOLLOWING (no prescriptions are needed):

  • One 64 ounce or two 32 ounce bottles of Gatorade, propel water, Crystal Light, or any other noncarbonated clear liquid drink (no red colors). If you have diabetes, you may use sugar-free Gatorade.
  • Dulcolax (disacodyl) laxative tablets (not suppository or stool softener, you will need 3 tablets for the prep)
  • MiraLAX 238 grams (8.3 ounces) powder or generic polyethylene glycol 3350 (can find in laxative section)

Step by step instructions:


  • In a pitcher mix the 8.3 ounces of MiraLAX with the 64 ounces of the drink of choice. Stir/shake the contents until the entire contents of MiraLAX are completely dissolved. Chill if desired.
  • At 5PM take 3 tablets of Dulcolax laxative pill with water by mouth
  • At 7PM drink the first half of the drink of choice and MiraLAX mixture. Drink one 8 ounce glass every 15 minutes. You may drink it directly or through a straw.


  • Take the second half of the drink of choice mixture. Drink one 8 ounce glass every 15 minutes over 1 hour, to make sure you finish 4 Hours before your procedure time. You may drink it directly or through a straw.
  • Do not eat or drink anything three hours before your colonoscopy.