A colonoscopy is one of the top ways to help prevent or detect colon cancer. If you are scheduled for a routine colonoscopy procedure, learning how to prepare for a colonoscopy can be the most challenging part. There are many ways to empty and clean your colon and rectum so your doctor and get the clearest images possible during the test. For the best results, you’ll have to fast and use laxatives beforehand. Colonoscopy prep may seem inconvenient, but this screening procedure might help save your life.
Your doctor may recommend the Miralax/Gatorade Liquid Diet preparation method. This involves the use of sports drinks and over the counter laxatives. Keep reading to learn how to make the process as smooth as possible. Please follow the instructions below, unless you were otherwise directed.
What to Buy To Prepare for a Colonoscopy
Purchase Miralax 238g (8.3 oz) and 4 Dulcolax Laxative Pills (Not stool softeners) at the pharmacy (over the counter). Also (2) 32 oz. Bottles Gatorade (NO RED).
How to Prepare One Week Prior to a Colonoscopy
Do not take iron pills or blood thinners. Your doctor will let you know if you have to temporarily stop some medications prior to your procedure. These medications may include: Plavix, Coumadin, Aspirin, Percodan, Alka-seltzer.
Tylenol or Acetaminophen is safe to take prior to the procedure.
What to Eat The Day Before Your Colonoscopy
You are not to eat solid foods for the entire day before your colonoscopy. Do not have any dairy products or juices with pulp. Examples of clear liquids that you can consume on this day are:
- Clear soup broth
- Clear fruit juice (Apple, white cranberry, white grape, etc.)
- Jello (no red)
- Sprite, Ginger Ale, Seltzer
- Coffee or tea (without milk)
- Iced Tea
- Popsicles (no red)
- Italian ice (no red)
- And of course, water
It is important to drink as much fluid as you can throughout the day to avoid dehydration and help to flush your colon. Your total fluid intake should be at least 200 ounces.
At 5PM: Take the 4 Dulcolax laxative pills with an 8 oz glass of water.
At 6PM: Mix HALF of Miralax powder with 1st 32 oz bottle of Gatorade in a large pitcher. Stir until completely dissolved. Drink an 8 oz glass of the solution every 15 minutes until you finish the mixture. It may take 1-2 hours before you begin to have bowel movements. If you develop cramping, bloating, or nausea while drinking the preparation, you should stop drinking for about a half an hour. Then you can resume drinking the solution. Diarrhea will usually continue for several hours after completing the bowel preparation.
What To Do the Day of Your Colonoscopy
At 4AM: Mix the other HALF of Miralax with 2nd 32 oz bottle of Gatorade. Drink an 8oz glass of the solution every 15 minutes until you finish the mixture.
Continue clear liquids until 4 hours before your procedure. At this point, you must stop all liquids, including water, gum, candy, mints, and cough drops.
NOTE – Failure to take the preparation as indicated may result in a poorly cleansed colon and possible cancellation of the procedure.
- You may take your vital medications with a small sip of water.
- You may brush your teeth.
- Please arrive for your procedure at least a half an hour prior to your procedure time.
- Please make sure you have arranged ahead of time for a responsible adult (age 18 or over) to drive you home after the procedure.
- If you are diabetic, to avoid dangerously low blood sugar, please do not take your oral medications for your diabetes or your insulin on the morning of your procedure. You can resume your diabetes medications after the procedure, once you have eaten. If you are taking insulin, it is always a good idea to check with your endocrinologist or primary doctor as to the best way to manage your blood sugars. Please bring your insulin with you. If you are unsure about taking any medication, please call us.
- If you are taking Coumadin, Plavix, or aspirin, it may need to be stopped prior to your procedure. Please ask your doctor. These medications are usually stopped several days before your procedure.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing such as a sweatsuit. No metal should be worn, including underwire bras or zippers. Leave all jewelry at home, including belly rings & tongue piercings.
- If you are a smoker, it is advised that you do not smoke at least 6 hours before the procedure.
What to Expect After a Colonoscopy
- You must arrange for a responsible adult (18 or over) to drive you home. Going home in a taxi is not allowed.
- The effects of the anesthesia can persist for 24 hours. After receiving the sedation, you must exercise extreme caution before engaging in any activity that could be harmful to yourself or others (such as driving a car). Do not make any important decisions and do not drink any alcoholic beverages during this time period.
- Take only the medication that is prescribed by your doctor.
- After your procedure, you may have anything you’d like to eat or drink. You will probably want to start with something light. Please include plenty of fluids. Avoid items that cause gas, such as sodas and salads.
- If your procedure required the placement of a metal clip, you cannot have an MRI for 30 days.
Easy Colonoscopy Preparation at Digestive Healthcare Center
Colonoscopy preparation isn’t easy, but it is a smart step to protect against colorectal cancers and polyps. If you are well prepared, your doctor will be able to effectively examine the colon and rectum. If you have any questions about the procedure or preparation, please call our office at (862) 217-5141. You may also contact us via our secure contact form.