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FAQ About Bowel Preparation

Why do I have to drink all the bowel prep?

To ensure you have a complete and thorough colonoscopy, your bowel must be entirely cleared out. The preparation is difficult for some patients, but very important for your exam and to identify any polyps or areas of concern.

I was given a different preparation than my neighbor? Why?

Your specific medical history determines what type of preparation your physician will prescribe. Individuals with health conditions such as kidney disease or seizure disorder require a different type of preparation than an individual with no health concerns. Other factors that influence type of preparation can include your time of exam, individual preference or even out of pocket expense.

Does the preparation have any side effects?

The preparation is a medication that causes diarrhea to empty and clean the colon prior to your exam. Some individuals experience symptoms similar to diarrhea including nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramping.

What if I forget to take the medicine?

Call the office right away. The physician or staff will assist you in how to proceed.

Can I take my other medications?

Inform us of the medications you take when you schedule your exam. Most medications can be continued, but we may ask you to hold certain medications such as blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medicines. We will discuss this with you during scheduling and send you written instructions on what medicines you can take or should hold. If you have any questions about the information, please let us know!

My letter says I can have clear liquids. Does that mean just water?

Not at all! You can drink various clear liquids and we encourage you to drink plenty to avoid nausea and dehydration during your preparation. Clear liquids include some soda (such as Sprite or Ginger Ale), broth, juices (without pulp), coffee or tea without creamer, jello, sports drinks, etc. Avoid any items that are red or purple, and make sure you can see through them to ensure they are “clear”.

Why can’t the liquids I drink be red or purple?

These colors can stain the walls of your colon similar to how they can stain your tongue. During your colonoscopy, these stains can look like blood or other abnormalities. To avoid this, the physicians ask that you avoid drinking anything red or purple during your preparation.

Can I drink alcohol if it is clear?

We ask that you do not. Alcohol can cause more dehydration and lead to complications. Additionally, alcohol can impair your judgment and may cause you to complete your preparation incorrectly.

Why do I have to stop drinking two hours before I check-in?

This is to allow your stomach to empty prior to receiving sedation for your procedure. If you still have liquid in your stomach during sedation, that liquid could travel to your lungs and cause complications.

Why can’t I drive myself home or take a taxi or Uber?

We will be giving you sedation for your procedure and because of this, you are considered legally impaired. To ensure your safety, you must have a responsible adult driver to drive you and ensure you make it into your home. Because sedation can impair your judgment and reflexes, you may not drive or work for 12 hours after your procedure.

Can I eat after my procedure?

Yes! You may experience some mild nausea or feel groggy after your procedure. You also may not have a full appetite, but you may eat. We advise that you avoid greasy or spicy food right away to avoid nausea or upset stomach. We prefer you pick a light meal.

When will I have normal bowel movements after the procedure?

Because your bowel was completely emptied and you did not eat solid food a day before your procedure, you may not have a normal bowel movement for a couple days. This is nothing to be alarmed about.

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