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Colonoscopy Prep

Before undergoing a colonoscopy, the digestive system needs to be cleared out to ensure the colonoscopist can get good pictures. It is commonly believed to be the most unpleasant part of undergoing a colonoscopy.

Generally cleaning out is achieved through a combination of fasting and laxatives. The laxatives are also referred to using the term 'prep'.

The exact regime depends on the type of laxatives used (which in turn depends on country, doctor's preference and any other medical conditions).

Typically, the patient must stop taking anything constipating a few days before the procedure, and avoid solid food for 24 hours before the procedure, and begin taking the prep around 18 hours before. Most preps are unpleasant tasting, but can often be mixed with other drinks to improve the taste. Large amounts of liquids must be consumed in order to prevent dehydration, as the patient will experience diarrhoea. Some people find it difficult to drink enough.
Tips for a Better Colonoscopy Prep Experience
Tips for making the prep experience as pleasant as possible include:
  • Eating ice lollies or jelly (Jello) to alleviate hunger pains during the fasting- but nothing red coloured!
  • Once you start taking the prep, stay close to the toilet.
  • Using Vaseline or other barrier cream around the anus can reduce irritation from loose bowel motions
  • Moist toilet paper or baby wipes can soothe and clean more effectively than dry toilet paper
  • Cramping can be eased using heat- a hot bath or hot water bottle- as painkillers will generally pass straight through
  • Many of the prep solutions taste unpleasant. Flavouring the prep with allowed fluids, drinking ice cold, and using a straw can all help to mask the taste.

For more information please visit our Colonoscopy page
and Colonoscopy Prep Tips Thread
Colonoscopy Prep for Children and Kids
Here is a link for a Comic Strip to assist with Bowel Prep for Kids

References for Colonoscopy Prep


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