Instructions for Patients Undergoing Colonoscopies:

  • You must have a responsible adult to accompany you home after the procedure.
  • You may not operate a motor vehicle for the remainder of the day following your procedure.
  • You may not take a taxi or bus home unless accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • If you do not have a responsible adult to accompany you home, your procedure will be cancelled.

The Day Before Your Procedure

  • Drink only clear liquids the entire day. No solid food should be taken. Clear liquids include: water, bouillon, apple juice, white grape juice, pulp free lemonade, Sprite, ginger-ale, coffee or tea without milk or non-dairy creamers, plain Jell-O (no added fruit or toppings and no red, purple or blue Jell-O).
  • Colyte, Trilyte, Nulytely, or Golytely Prep: mix the powder in the provided plastic containers with water to the fill line and chill in the refrigerator. Begin drinking the solution at approximately 4 p.m. Drink one 8-ounce glass every 10 to 15 minutes until complete in about four hours. You must drink the entire container of solution. If your stools are not completely clear (pale yellow to clear fluid) after taking the entire solution, you should take one 10-ounce bottle of Magnesium Citrate. This can be purchased without a prescription at any drug store.
  • You may add Crystal Light powdered lemonade to the solution to improve its taste.
  • No solid foods may be taken during or after the prep.
  • Once the prep is complete you may drink water until midnight.
  • You may not have anything to eat or drink after midnight or on the day of your procedure.
  • If you are on insulin or other diabetic medication, check with your primary or referring physician for instructions.
  • If you are over age 50 and have recently had an electrocardiogram (EKG), bring a copy of the EKG tracing with you or have your primary physician fax a copy.
  • If you are on blood thinners (i.e., Coumadin, Heparin, Lovenox, Plavix, etc.), consult with your referring physician.

The Day of Your Procedure

  • Do not eat hard candy or chew gum.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to remove and leave jewelry at home.
  • Limit your visitors to one to two adults.
  • Once registered, you will be asked to put on a hospital gown. A nurse will review your medical history with you (bring a list of your current medications and allergies). An intravenous line (IV) will be started for your sedation during the procedure.
  • Your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen level will be monitored during the procedure.
  • When your procedure is done, you will remain in the recovery room for up to one hour.
  • Your doctor will discuss the results of your procedure with you and give you a written copy of the report.

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a colorectal cancer specialist in Washington, DC, please call our scheduling line.


Meet the Team

Find a colorectal cancer expert at MedStar Georgetown to meet your individual treatment needs.

Awards & Recognitions

Comp Cance Center Logo

The MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Washington, D.C. region.

Related Resources

Learn more about colorectal cancer care and support services at MedStar Georgetown: