Colonoscopy Preparation

Colonoscopy preparation. How to prepare for colonoscopy. Bowel preparation.

Why is colonoscopy preparation so important according to your doctors?


The most important part of a successful colonoscopy procedure is the thorough preparation. This is the hardest part for YOU. Each doctor may have different detailed instructions but they are all about cleaning out your bowels COMPLETELY. That means until clear liquid comes out instead of the stool.



How To Prepare For Colonoscopy - Tips For Successful Colonoscopy Preparation:

Things to know about colonoscopy prep:

  • Drink lots of liquids.

  • You should try drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day starting 2 days before the procedure. It’s important to be well hydrated for the colonoscopy procedure in general and for the medication used in the procedure.

  • Also, eat a low roughage diet starting about 3 days before the procedure. That means start decreasing the amount of those foods: whole grain cereals and breads, vegetables with lots of fiber like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.

  • Avoid colored foods, especially with red dyes in them like Jell-O.

  • Avoid seeds and fiber supplements.

When choosing the colonoscopy preparation product, ask yourself if you can drink a lot of fluids. If you can not, tell your doctor and he or she may select a product which requires the least addition of water or maybe a tablet form preparation.

Most likely your doctor will prescribe a PEG type of bowel preparation for a clean colon. The brand names for these products are Colyte, Golytely, etc. They usually require adding 4 liters of water.





The newer bowel prep products called MoviPrep or HalfLytely allow you to add less water (about 2 liters). Follow the instructions VERY carefully.





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If you can don't like the taste of these products-you can add some Kool-Aid or Crystal Light as a flavoring.

If you experience nausea, stop and retry in about 30 minutes. If it continues or get worse, consider calling your doctor. An over-the-counter medication called Dulcolax (bisacodyl), which is one of the laxatives, can be a part of the colonoscopy preparation.

This drug comes in tablet or suppository form and is usually added as an adjunct to the main preparation. This OTC product may cause cramping. Tell your doctor if you can not tolerate it.

FLEET PHOSPHOSODA is a product that was used for years for colonoscopy preparation. It was convenient and easy to take but it caused drastic loss of electrolytes very fast. This product did contain a health warning due to its associated with kidney failure. It also had many side effects that even led to a few deaths. I didn’t recommend this product for many years because I tried it myself before my colonoscopy and my family ended up calling 911 because I fainted. This product is now off the shelves.

Prescription tablets (Visicol, OsmoPrep) that have the same main ingredient as in Fleet Phospho-soda will get a black box warning about kidney failure risk.

Patients that are regularly constipated will probably require more time to prepare for the colonoscopy. Speak to your doctor if you have constipation. He or she may provide additional products for the cleanse.

If you experience skin irritation around the anus during the colonoscopy preparation try wiping the area with a wet, soft tissue and use Vaseline after each use. You can also try soaking the area in a bathtub of warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes after a bowel movement. Then, blot the skin around the anus with a cotton ball containing a thin layer of Vaseline.





If you choose a conventional colonoscopy or virtual colonoscopy the preparation is pretty much the same unless your doctor specifies something different.

A colonoscopy preparation is considered to be so simple. But I personally don’t think so. The body can react negatively to the physical stress and the laxatives and may become dehydrated. There is a simple way of checking your hydration status. If you have enough saliva in your mouth and able to spit-you are most likely not dehydrated.



It's very important to follow right colonoscopy diet. Click here to learn about Diet Before Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation.

People with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohns disease or Ulcerative colitis may have a worse time than others during the preparation. They may become dizzy, drowsy and/or week. They can experience abdominal pain and cramping because the intestines are chronically inflamed.

Do not be afraid to call your doctor's office and explain the extent of your condition. It may prevent further problems.


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