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Getting ready

Getting your letter

Once you've been referred you'll get a letter, in the post or by email, telling you when your colonoscopy will be.

Some hospitals will phone you to book you in, but you should also get a letter – call the hospital if you do not get one.

Your letter will:

  • tell you what you need to eat and drink in the days before your test
  • tell you when you should stop eating and drinking
  • have laxatives with it for you to take before the test, or information on how to get them
  • tell you how to take the laxatives


If you're pregnant, or taking any medicines, let the hospital know as soon as you get your letter.

2 days before

For 2 days before a colonoscopy, you should only eat plain foods like:

  • plain chicken not in a sauce
  • white rice, pasta or bread
  • clear soup

Your letter should tell you what you can eat and drink.

1 day before

The day before your colonoscopy you'll need to drink sachets of laxatives to empty your bowels ready for the test.

Most people:

  • need to drink a few sachets
  • need to drink the sachets at different points throughout the day
  • get diarrhoea a few hours after taking the first sachet

Stay at home and be near a toilet after you've starting drinking the laxatives.


You need to drink the laxative as it says on your letter. Otherwise the specialist may not be able to do your colonoscopy.