If you want to call your doctor and ask how to know if bowels are empty for the colonoscopy, then stop right here. You can analyze it by yourself. You just have to be a bit observant and see the color of your stool.
The bowel movements coming out should look like the fluids you are taking. Your bowels are empty if the color of your stool is clear, light yellow, and is not cloudy, like urine. If it is dark brown and has residues, it means your colon is not empty, and you need more colonoscopy prep.
So, before rushing to the conclusion for your bowel movements, you must know why you need colonoscopy bowel prep and then find how to know if bowels are empty for colonoscopy. What does it signify if the stool is brown, yellow, or green? When you get this all, work on bowel prep instructions and have a successful colonoscopy.
Colonoscopy Bowel Prep
Colonoscopy is the internal examination of your large intestine, particularly the colon, to see any abnormalities that can lead to colon cancer. As the doctor observes your colon by sending a thin tube with a camera, your bowel must be clean for a successful procedure. The cleansing of the colon before a colonoscopy is ‘Colonoscopy bowel preparation.’
You have to be very observant before your procedure and assess what’s going on with your bowel. Because a perfectly clean bowel will help your doctor thoroughly analyze any polyps or other intestinal problems. So, don’t be reluctant in your bowl preparation and focus to the fullest to get a clear bowel.
How to Know if Bowels are Empty for a Colonoscopy?
The color of the stool is a clear indication of whether your bowels are empty for colonoscopy or not. If the stool is clear without any fecal material, it means your colonoscopy prep is complete, and your bowel is clear enough for colonoscopy. If the stool is not clear and has coloration or solid material, you must have missed any step in the colonoscopy preparation that resulted in incomplete prep.
Most people start their prep and find magical ways to have a clear colon within minutes, but this is not the case. Everyone has a different response to the prep. Some of you will take longer to begin and complete the prep, while some will take shorter. In most patients, it takes about 6-8 hours to complete colonoscopy prep. Women can take longer than men for their longer colon (1).
So, when you are preparing for a colonoscopy, have the nearest access to the bathroom all the time because of the bowel movements.
An important thing you must consider is, do not stop drinking your colonoscopy prep even if your stools are running clear. There would be several drinks or pills; make sure you have completed them all. You may find it tempting to quit all these, but remind yourself skipping one or two steps will ruin your whole efforts.
What if Liquid Stool is Brown in Colonoscopy Prep?
If your bowel movement is not clear and the liquid stool is brown, you are near to the finish line but have not completed the prep. For a fully empty bowel, the color of the stool must be clear without any solid residues. When there is fecal material, your colon will be containing leftover food residues. These residues will make it hard to observe your colon.
So, if this is the case with you, call your colonoscopy team and discuss the whole matter.
Also Read: How to Avoid Vomiting During Colonoscopy?
What if Liquid Stool is Green or Yellow in Colonoscopy Prep?
If you are passing clear or light color, including yellow or green stool, it is a sign your colon is ready for examination. Some people get tense of paleness, but it is not to be worried about. This yellow liquid stool is the result of digestive juice and does not mean that prep is incomplete. However, if the stool is not clear and is cloudy liquid, you have to ask your doctor for extended colonoscopy prep.
Enema – Constipation Solution in Colonoscopy Prep
In some cases, constipation becomes a big hurdle in colonoscopy prep. However, a dedicated food plan and the use of laxatives help to empty your bowel. Still, if you face constipation issues, you need an extra step. This additional assistance to fully empty your colon before a colonoscopy is an Enema (2).
This is not painful at all, and you can get rid of your constipation easily. You will need to inject a liquid into the bowel through the rectum, and this type of enema incorporated in colonoscopy prep is a cleansing enema. In this step, you will receive a water-based solution with a stool softener that pushes the solid waste and clears the colon. When you get this solution, the high volume of water starts the movements of the large intestine. As a result, bowel movements release the solution and sold matter.
You will get a clear colon after the enema, but do not panic if it is not. It can take two to three attempts to clean the bowel. You have to discuss your constipation problem with your doctor, and he/she will advise whether you need an enema in a hospital or use an enema kit at home. So, be open with your examiner and discuss everything regarding your prep.
Colonoscopy Bowel Prep Instructions
A fully clean colon is ideal for colonoscopy. If you want to get over your procedure without any delay, follow these colonoscopy bowel prep instructions. Here, you have 3 stages of colonoscopy bowel prep that you need to work on.
Soft Food and Clear Liquids
First, you have to make your diet plan consisting of only soft foods and clear liquids. You cannot even think of having a colonoscopy with your regular food. So, take small meals of soft and non-fibrous. Do not forget to take plenty of liquids to keep yourself hydrated (3).
Read the following article to learn more about the diet plan you can follow before your colonoscopy.
Take a laxative or bowel prep solution
Laxatives or bowel prep solutions loosen the stools and increase your bowel movements (4). When you take these, your bowel will be clear and ready for a colonoscopy. You have to take this bowel prep night before your prep and in the morning of your colonoscopy.
7 Days Diet Plan to Follow Before Colonoscopy
|Day 1||2-3 white bread slice with 2 eggs (boiled or scrambled) 1 cup of tea or coffee||1 glass strained fruit juice||1 medium bowl white rice or pasta||1 cup of chicken broth|
|Day 2||2-3 French toasts or white bread, cottage cheese, 1 cup of tea or coffee||1 banana Lunch: 1 medium piece of well-cooked tender beef||1 medium piece of well-cooked tender beef||1 bowl of vegetable soup|
|Day 3||1 bowl corn flakes, 1 cup milk with 2 boiled eggs||2-3 slices of ripe melon||1 to 2 fish pieces||1 bowl chicken broth|
|Day 4||2 white bread slices with mayonnaise or honey, 1 egg, 1 cup milk||1 bowl of chopped fruits drizzled with honey||2 medium-sized boiled potatoes||1 bowl beef stock|
|Day 5||1 banana, Plain cakes or cookies, 1 glass milk||1 bowl of plain pudding||1 baked chicken breast||1 bowl Bouillon|
|Day 6||2/3 cup yogurt, 1 banana||1 bowl custard or ice cream||1 bowl of chopped, well-cooked vegetables (carrots, potatoes, lima beans)||1 bowl chicken or beef broth|
|Day 7||1 cup Tea or coffee with no cream, or Fruit juice with no pulp||Juice popsicles or 1 small bowl clear Jell-O||1 bowl Consommé||1 bowl chicken, beef, or vegetable broth|
Adjust Your Medications
It is crucial for your colonoscopy prep to discuss your medical history with the doctor. If you have diabetes, heart problems, or high blood pressure issues, just tell your specialist to adjust your medicines in your prep (5).
After a colonoscopy, you should not go careless and read What to Eat After Colonoscopy so that can recover as soon as possible.
How do I know if My Bowels are Empty?
When your liquid stool or diarrhea is clear and has only light-yellow color, your bowels are empty. If there is a solid material, your bowel is not clear for a colonoscopy, and you need to work on more colonoscopy prep.
How Do You Know if Your Colon is Clean Enough for a Colonoscopy?
The color of your liquid stool is a clear indication of whether your colon is clean enough for colonoscopy or not. Passing a clear, non-cloudy stool means your colon is clean, but if the stool is of dark color with fecal material, the bowel contains solid material that you need to expel.
What to Take Away?
I’m sure now you have got all about how to know if bowels are empty for a colonoscopy, and you can better access your progress. So, be brave and prepare yourself mentally and physically for colonoscopy. Before leaving, do not forget to rate this valuable content written for your ease and if you feel anything uncertain, just leave a comment to let us know.
You are just like my family, and I am your nutritionist the same way I am of my parents. I will never suggest a meal that goes against your health. As I do not allow my family to make a missed shot with the food, I will choose the same for you. Read More About Me…