How to Get the Best Colonoscopy Preparation

Gastroenterologists recommend that those over 50 years old should be screened for colorectal abnormalities. The intention of colon screening is to diagnose polyps or tumors at an early stage, while they can still be removed safely. Colon polyps have a lot of potential to turn cancerous, but a colorectal surgeon can remove them during the colonoscopy procedure, before they turn into colorectal disease. However, in order to ensure a safe and effective colonoscopy, thorough colonoscopy preparation is necessary.

The purpose of colonoscopy preparation is to clear out fecal matter and food substance from the colon. Clearing out the entire large intestine allows a gastroenterologist to have a better view of the bowels during the colonoscopy procedure, during which a very thin, bendable tube that has a miniscule camera and light on it is inserted through the anus and then guided through the colon. Images captured by the camera can be seen on a monitor in the exam room. If there were to be an obstruction in the way, polyps and tumors might be missed and the colonoscopy procedure would fail. This is why it is completely necessary to prep the bowel before the procedure. Three main laxatives are available for use during colonoscopy preparation.

Sodium Phosphate Tablets are commonly known as Osmo-Prep or Visicol.  Visicol requires a 40-tablet routine while Osmo-Prep has only 32 tablets. The tablets are taken at one-minute-intervals the night before a colonoscopy procedure. Effects are felt approximately one hour after the initial dosage. The patient will also be prescribed am all-liquid diet to go along with the sodium phosphate tablets. Side effects of this form of colonoscopy preparation include abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting and nausea, all of which is very normal during bowel prep of any kind.

Golytely requires a prescription from a physician. A Golytely kit includes a gallon-sized jug plus a powdered mixture. The jug is filled with water in which the mixture can be dissolved. The patient needs to drink at least 8 ounces of the mixture every 10 minutes, until the entire jug is empty. The patient will feel the need to pass all contents of his or her bowel after a few glasses. Stool expelled as a result of Golytely intake out will appear transparent, becoming clearer and clearer as the bowel continues to empty. This indicates that the bowels have been adequately cleaned. In cases where the whole gallon of Golytely has been consumed but stool remains dark-colored, the doctor can prescribe an additional enema. If nausea occurs after drinking the laxative solution, then anti-nausea medication is sometimes given to the patient.  Recent developments by Golytely manufacturers have come up with a more pleasant-tasting mixture that is better tolerated than past solutions.

Phospho-Soda Powder is readily available over the counter at many drug stores. It can also be part of a kit that includes the saline-based laxative and an enema or a suppository. Doctors will give instructions on how to go about the phospho-soda method as well as recommend which kit to buy. Usually 3 ounces of phospho-soda is mixed with water or any clear liquid approved by the doctor beforehand. The patient will have a bowel movement shortly after consumption, which may last anyway between 30 minutes and 6 hours, on and off. Phospho-soda is now available in several flavors.

Doctors normally ask patients to call the clinic immediately if bowel movement is not achieved properly by any of aforementioned colonoscopy preparation techniques, or if the stool does not appear clear even after following specific instructions. Aside from the preparations mentioned, doctors may also suggest that patients to do the following:

Use baby wipes instead of toilet paper to prevent irritation of the anus.

Stay hydrated before, during and after any colonoscopy preparation. Intense bowel movements will remove electrolytes from the body, so it is necessary to replenish by drinking water or sports drinks.

Remember to follow the doctor’s instructions exactly to avoid having to try again. Bowel prep is often the worst part of any colonoscopy procedure, but after that the test will be easy. Just acknowledge the fact that for a day or a night, you will be spending most of your time in the bathroom. And do not be embarrassed to ask the colonoscopy doctor if there are certain abnormalities that you notice or if the colonoscopy preparation is not working the way it should be.