Bowel preparation for Colonoscopy or Sigmoidoscopy


If you are having a colonoscopy you will need to take a solution to completely clear your bowel before the procedure.

The solution maybe a powder that makes a solution when mixed with water to cleanse your colon. It has a laxative action, clearing the bowel so that it is clean and empty.

It is very important that you have a cleansed bowel for your colonoscopy so that any abnormalities in your bowel can be seen by the clinician performing the procedure.

Instruction leaflets for the type of solution you will be given will be sent with your appointment letter and can also be found below, along with some helpful videos.

Please contact the endoscopy pre-assessment team if you have any questions about taking your bowel preparation.



if you are having a signmoidoscopy you may be asked to to take an enema prep instead.

If you have been asked to take MOVIPREP when having a flexible sigmoidoscopy please click here for information if it is a morning appointment or and afternoon appointment.

You should expect frequent bowel actions and eventually diarrhoea. Some intestinal cramping is normal. Using a barrier cream, such as Vaseline, locally after each bowel action will help to reduce soreness around the anus.

Please make sure you are near a toilet once commencing your bowel prep

Foods to avoid 3 days before taking bowel preparation

  • Nuts, seeds and pulses including baked beans
  • Wholemeal pasta and brown rice
  • Wholemeal or brown bread including granary, high fibre white bread, seeded bread
  • Potato skins and chips
  • Wholegrain cereal such as All Bran, Bran flakes, Shredded Wheat, Muesli and cereals with added fruit or nuts
  • Red meat
  • Cakes, biscuits, puddings or sweets containing fruit and / or nuts
  • Any puddings containing fruit and / or nuts
  • Tomatoes and pepper

Diet guidelines

7 days before your procedure 

Stop taking all iron tablets but continue all other medication.

4 days before your procedure 

Stop taking any constipating agents i.e. lomotil, codeine phosphate etc, but continue all other medication.

3 days before your procedure

Eat foods which are low in fibre. Avoid foods such as fruit, green, vegetables, cereals, baked beans and brown bread. Choose foods from the ‘foods allowed’ list.

Have plenty to drink - at least ½ pint/ 1 glass, each hour 

  • You cannot have red or purple coloured drinks.

  • Clear Fluids include water, dilute cordial, black tea, black coffee, Bovril, Oxo, strained clear soup, lemonade.