Aging & Health: Take Charge

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Sep 8, 2020

Colonoscopy prep: make it easier

By Joey Keillor, @joeykeillor




Among the many discomforts of having a colonoscopy, people often say that the prep work before is the worst part. Below are a few tips can help make the process easier:

  • Two days beforehand. Start eating a low-fiber diet. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.
  • The day before. Don’t eat any solid food. Stick to clear liquids, broth soups, and popsicles and gelatin that aren’t red or purple. The evening before your procedure, drink the first dose of your laxative preparation as directed.
  • The day of. Drink clear liquids only and stop drinking all liquids two hours before your scheduled report time. Take the second dose of your laxative preparation at the time instructed.
  • Throughout. Take your medications as directed. Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated, except two hours prior to your test.

It’s important that you drink all of the laxative preparation. If you find it difficult to do so because of the taste, try these tips:

  • Refrigerate the solution and drink it cold.
  • Suck on ice or a lemon or lime wedge.
  • Chew gum right before you drink each glass of the solution.
  • Drink the solution through a straw.

There are several colon-prep products that involve significantly less fluid that the standard prep. Brand names include Prepopik, Suprep and Plenvu. The main downside to these is that they are not recommended for those with heart, kidney or liver disease, which may prevent many older adults from using them. Plus, they are more expensive.


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