Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation Instructions

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Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation

On the day of your colonoscopy, your colon must be clean on the inside, and you must have a ride home following the procedure. An unclean colon can result in your test being rescheduled, missed lesions, increased procedure time, and a potential increase in complication rates. Bring a list of all of your current medications with you and let your doctor know if you have diabetes, kidney problems, or might be pregnant.


If you are diabetic, you will get special instructions on how to adjust your medication. If you are taking any medication that affects blood clotting, you may have to adjust 7 to 3 days before the test. Be sure to check what medications you should take with your doctor. Examples of prescription blood thinners include Agrylin®, Coumadin® (warfarin), Plavix® (clopidogrel),Ticlid® (ticlopidine), Xarelto® (rivaroxaban), Pradaxa® (dabigatran), Effient® (prasugrel), Lovenox® (enoxaparin), and over-the-counter medications including aspirin and NSAIDs (Advil®/ibuprofen, Motrin®, Aleve®, and Ecotrin®).


Stop eating any nuts, seeds, corn, or popcorn.
Purchase a variety of clear liquids. (No red, blue or purple flavors.) Clear liquids mean that you can see through them.
Gatorade®, Pedialyte®, or Powerade®
Clear broth or bouillon
Coffee or tea (no milk or creamer)
Carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks, Kool-Aid®, or other fruit-flavored drinks
Strained fruit juices (no pulp) like apple or white grape
Jell-O®, popsicles, and hard candy


Drink 8 glasses of water or other liquids during the day to avoid dehydration.


STOP eating all solid foods.
START your clear liquid diet. (No red, blue, or purple flavors.)
START THE PREP that your doctor has checked on this page and follow instructions closely. Your doctor may add other oral laxatives to be used with your prep.
Brand names include Dulcolax®, Citroma®, Citrate of Magnesia, and LiquiPrep®.


Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you will usually take your morning medication with a sip of water up to 2 hours before your colonoscopy. Diabetic patients will need to adjust their medication as directed.
You will receive sedation and will need someone to drive you home.

One-day method: At 12 noon the day before the colonoscopy: Take 4 Dulcolax® tablets. Mix 64-ounces liquid with 8.3 ounces MiraLAX® and place in the refrigerator (DO NOT ADD ICE). At 6 pm, drink one 8-ounce glass of the MiraLAX/Gatorade solution and continue drinking one 8-ounce glass every 15 minutes until the mixture is gone. Set a timer for every 15 minutes to keep pace.

Helpful Tips:
Stay near a toilet; you will have diarrhea. Ideally, your bowel movements will become either yellow or clear liquid after a complete prep.
Side effects of some preps include nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, thirst, dizziness, and dehydration. If you feel nauseous or vomit, take a 30 minute break, rinse your mouth, and then continue drinking your prep. If you throw up your bowel prep, just try your best to drink as much bowel prep as you can tolerate and report for your endoscopy as scheduled. Be sure to alert your doctor that you could not tolerate your entire bowel prep.
Feeling some abdominal cramping is normal.
Petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) around the anus or using baby wipes may decrease skin irritation..

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