Preparing for a procedure with UVA Digestive Health, Endoscopy

We are so glad that you chose us to provide your care. Please note that UVA performs endoscopic procedures at two locations.  You can confirm the location of your procedure by referring to your appointment reminder letter. Please follow the endoscopy guidelines and preparation instructions to help make for a successful experience. 

□     IMPORTANT: If you have diabetes or are on a blood thinner other than aspirin, please call the doctor that ordered your procedure at least 10 days before your procedure date for further instructions regarding medication adjustments. 

□     You MUST have a driver on the day of your procedure: As you will receive anesthesia medications on the day of your procedure, you must have a responsible adult 18 years or older who can drive you home.  For your safety, UVA Health recommends that this person stay with you for several hours after your procedure.  You may not drive for 24 hours after your procedure. To help control the number of people in our waiting room, we will only allow 1 visitor per patient in the building. We apologize for the inconvenience, but children will not be allowed in the waiting room.

□     Medication and allergy information: Please bring a complete list of your current medications, their doses, and any allergies you may have.

□     Pacemaker or Internal Defibrillator: Please bring your device information card with you. 

□     CPAP Machine:  If you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine at home, please bring it with you even if you rarely use it.  Ensure that all components, including the power cord, are included.

□     Personal belongings: Please leave all jewelry and other valuables at home.  Please do not wear contacts the day of your procedure.  If you wear glasses, hearing aids, or dentures, please bring a case with you to store these items during your procedure.

We strive to provide the safest care for all of our patients.  As a result, some procedures may take longer for some patients than others.  Please arrive 45 minutes prior to your appointment time.  We ask for your patience and that you plan to be with us at least 3 to 4 hours.    

If you must cancel or reschedule your appointment, please call the UVA Endoscopy scheduling team as soon as possible at: (434) 924-9999.


MiraLAX® Bowel Preparation Instructions

Two weeks before your colonoscopy:

□ You will need to purchase (1) 238gm bottle of MiraLAX® (polyethylene glycol), (4) Dulcolax® (bisacodyl) laxative tablets, (2) 32oz bottle of Gatorade®, not red or purple in color.

□ If you are on medications (other than aspirin) that thin your blood or if you take medications for diabetes, you will need to let your family doctor know you are planning to have a colonoscopy and ask for instructions regarding this medication.

□  Please note that UVA performs colonoscopies at two locations. Please confirm your location by referring to your appointment reminder letter.


Five days before your colonoscopy:

□  Start a low fiber diet. Low Residue/ Low Fiber food list attached.

□ Stop iron, including vitamins that contain iron.

□  Arrange a ride home with a friend or family member.

□  Have plenty of clear liquids available at home, clear liquid diet attached.

□  If you wish, buy soft toilet paper, moist wipes or external ointment.


One day before your colonoscopy:

□  When you wake mix half of the MiraLAX® bottle into your (2) Gatorade® bottles until dissolved and place in the refrigerator.

□  Drink only clear liquids all day. Drink an additional 8oz of clear liquid every hour while awake, Gatorade® is preferred. Follow the lists below. Do not eat solid foods or milk products.

□  At 4:00pm take (4) Dulcolax® laxative tablets with water.

□  At 6:00pm begin drinking the first bottle of Gatorade®/MiraLAX® solution. Drink 8oz every 15-30 minutes until the first bottle of the solution is finished.

□  Continue to drink clear liquids until you go to bed. Stay close to a bathroom. Cleaning your colon causes diarrhea.


Day of your colonoscopy:

□  Finish drinking the second bottle of Gatorade®/MiraLAX® solution 5 hours before you leave your home for your procedure. You may need to start in the middle of the night for an early am procedure. Timing is essential.

□  You may continue to drink clear liquids for up to 2 hours before coming to UVA.

□  Arrive 45 minutes before your scheduled appointment time with a responsible adult who will be able to accompany you home.

□  You must bring your CPAP machine with you if you have sleep apnea.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Is It Important To Get Cleaned Inside? Your doctor must be able to see in order to complete the colonoscopy exam. If your colon is “dirty” on the inside, your doctor may not be able to see important things like polyps or cancer.

Is My Prep Working? The bowel movement coming out should look like fluids you are drinking – clear without many particles. You know you are done when the bowel movement coming out is yellow, light, liquid, and clear, like urine.

What are the effects of the “bowel prep?” You will have lots of diarrhea from the bowel prep. This will start anywhere from a few minutes to 3 hours after you start your prep. Many people have bloating, abdominal discomfort, and/or nausea. Some people do not like the taste or smell of the medicine. Please do not let this get in the way of taking the medicine as directed.

Rarely, some people throw up while taking the prep. If you throw up, stop taking the prep for 30-60 minutes. Then try taking the prep again. If you are unable to finish the bowel prep, your colon may not be clean enough for your exam.

My prep hasn't started working yet. What do I do? Different people respond differently to the bowel prep. If you have waited more than 3 hours without a response, then it may not be working well. Be sure you are drinking enough fluid. If that doesn’t work, drink the second part of your prep and continue to drink fluids. It should work eventually. Call the UVA Endoscopy Unit at (434) 924-9999 after 8 am on the morning of your procedure if the medicine is still not working.


Change to this diet ONE DAY before your Colonoscopy. You will return to your regular diet after the procedure.



Do not drink


  • Water (plain, carbonated or flavored)
  • Fruit juices without pulp, such as apple or white grape juice
  • Fruit-flavored beverages, such as fruit punch or lemonade
  • Carbonated drinks, including dark sodas (cola and root beer)
  • Gelatin (Jell-O)
  • Tea or coffee without milk or cream
  • Sports drinks
  • Clear, fat-free broth (bouillon or consommé)
  • Honey or sugar
  • Ice pops without ANY milk, bits of fruit, seeds or nuts


  • Anything red or purple. These liquids can look like blood in the colon.
  • Milk
  • Artificial creamers
  • Fruit or vegetable smoothies
  • Alcohol


Start this diet FIVE DAYS before your Colonoscopy. You will return to your regular diet after the procedure.




Refined breads, toast, rolls, biscuits, muffins, crackers, pancakes, and waffles.

Enriched white or light rye bread or rolls. Saltines, Melba toast

Refined ready-to-eat cereals such as puffed rice and puffed wheat Cooked refined wheat, corn, or rice cereal

Strained oatmeal, grits and farina

Refined cold cereals made from rice, corn or oats (Rice Krispies, Cornflakes, Cheerios)

White rice, refined pasta, macaroni, noodles



Most tender cooked and canned vegetables without seeds such as carrots, asparagus tips, beets, green or waxed beans, pumpkin, spinach, squash (acorn) without seeds, potato (no skin), pureed or cooked strained lima beans, and peas (no skin)



Most canned or cooked fruits, fruit cocktail, avocado, canned applesauce, apricots, peaches, pears (all without skin and seeds), pureed plums and ripe bananas

Strained fruit juice



Milk, mild cheese, cottage cheese Yogurt (no berries) Ice Cream (no fruit or nuts)

*limit milk/milk products to 2 cups per day



Ground or well-cooked, tender beef, lamb, ham, veal, pork, fish, shellfish, poultry (no skin), and organ meats, eggs Smooth peanut butter



Margarine, butter, vegetable oils, mayo, cream substitutes, Crisp bacon

Plain gravies, and salad dressings Chocolate

Broth, strained cream soups (no corn) made with allowed ingredients



Salt, soy sauce, ketchup

Mild spices in moderation, white sauce Sugar, honey, jelly, syrup

Lemon juice, vinegar, vanilla and other flavoring extracts Coffee, tea, carbonated beverages and fruit drink (without pulp)


Any bread product made with whole-grain flour or graham flour, bran, seeds, nuts, coconut, or raw or dried fruit, cornbread, and graham crackers Any whole-grain, bran, or granola cereal, oatmeal and cereal with seeds, nuts, coconut or dried fruit Bran, barley, brown and wild rice





Raw vegetables and vegetables with seeds, sauerkraut, winter squash, and peas




Raw or dried fruit, all berries, Prune juice





Yogurt containing fruit skins or seeds




Tough fibrous meats with gristle, shellfish with tough connective tissue

Meats prepared with whole-grain ingredients, seeds, or nuts

Dry beans, legumes, peas and lentils Chunky peanut butter

Raw clams and oysters



Any made with whole-grain flour, bran, nuts, seeds, coconut, or dried fruit Nuts, and popcorn

Raisins, seeds, seed spices, pickles, olives, Spicy mustards, and relish

Highly spiced salad dressings

Jam or marmalade with nuts and seeds



Beverages and gelatins that are red or purple in color up to 24hrs. prior to procedure