Prepping For Your Colonoscopy

A polyp can be as small as a millimeter or two. Seeds from toast or jams and even dietary supplements such as omega-3s, ginger or vitamin E can leave trace material in your colon that’s hard to remove or see through. Follow your doctor’s prep instructions, and if in doubt, call to get clarification or you may risk having to prep again.

The Two Dose Prep

Most doctors prefer patients to break the prep into two parts, with one course in the evening and one in the morning, six hours before your colonoscopy. Research shows that this method leads to the cleanest colon and, therefore, the most accurate look inside.

Refrigerating your laxative mixture can make it easier to drink. If you feel nauseous, taking a break from drinking the laxative and wait until your stomach settles down. Nausea is a common side effect for a colonoscopy prep because the prep stimulates the entire GI tract, which can cause increased irritability in your stomach.

If you vomit your prep, you should call your doctor’s office, as you may need to reschedule your procedure or consider alternative screenings that don’t involve flushing your system. The downside to other tests is they aren’t as effective as a colonoscopy at detecting precancerous polyps.

What You Can Drink

Sports drinks are the preferred liquids to mix with your prep. In addition to that mixture, you can drink clear fruit juices, such as white grape or apple, and light-colored flavors of Kool-Aid or Crystal Light. Whiskey and wine may be clear, but alcohol is not on the approved list of pre-colonoscopy beverages. You can have clear broth, popsicles, tea, coffee (no milk or cream) and JELL-O. You also can have diet or regular soda, which may help alleviate the nausea but worsen the bloating caused by already taking in a large volume of liquid.

There’s one rule of thumb to follow with all of these: Avoid red, purple or orange liquids, as they can obscure your doctor’s view of your colon during your procedure. If you're not sure if your liquids are clear enough, hold your glass up to a newspaper. Can you see the print? Good. You’re in the clear.