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Colonoscopy Preparation

By HERWriter
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and in women."

The American Cancer Society recommends men and women have their first colonoscopy when they reach 50 years of age.

Now, here is the fine print about your colonoscopy preparation.

• Schedule your appointment first thing in the morning.
• Do not eat or drink anything red or grape flavored 24 hours before your test!

• Someone needs to drive you home after your colonoscopy.
• Abdominal cramping and bloating may occur, along with nausea and vomiting. This is only temporary.
• You will not be able to return to work after your procedure.
• Use a straw to sip the pre-colonoscopy cocktail.
• Stop all fluids four hours before your procedure.
• Please note that if you are a diabetic, consult your doctor for additional prep requirements.

The following is the bowel prep my husband just had for his colonoscopy. Every GI doctor has their own bowel prep procedure so when you go for yours, it may be different but don't be surprised if you have this much to do to get ready.

Forty-eight hours before your colonoscopy, you need to buy the following items which will cost you approximately $65.00 dollars. Unfortunately, your medical reimbursement card will not cover these items.

Grocery list for colonoscopy:
• Miralax 238 g
• 4 gas relief tablets (Gas X)
• One 10 oz. bottole of Magnesium Citrate
• Two 32 oz. bottles of Gatorade orange or lemon lime (any color but RED or grape)
• Dulcolax (bisacodyl) 5 mg tablets. You can buy generic.
• Popcicles (no red or grape)
• Jell-O (no red or grape)
• Apple juice and/or white grape juice
• Tea or coffee (you can only drink it black during your prep)
• Ginger ale or Sprite
• Clear broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
• Flushable handy-wipes
• Desitin or Vaseline

Here is a sample liquid diet 24 hours before your test:

• One glass of clear juice
• One cup of tea or coffee (black)
• Cup of Jell-O

• Sports drink (Gatorade – orange or lemon lime)

• Bowl of clear broth
• Glass of Gatorade, Sprite or Ginger Ale
• Cup of Jell-O

• Glass of clear juice
• Bowl of clear bouillon
• Tea or coffee
• Cup of Jell-O

• Popsicle

The following is your prep 24 hours before your test:

3:00 pm
• Take three tablets of Dulcolax.
• Mix 238 grams of Miralax with 64 oz of Gatorade. Stir until the powder is dissolved.

5:00 pm
• Drink 8 oz. of the Miralax/Gatorade every 15 minutes until done. You must drink 64 oz. within four hours. Use a straw and sip it over 2-3 hours.
• Take two more Dulcolax tablets after you drink Miralax/Gatorade cocktail.
• Two two gas relief tablets.
• Drink clear liquids until bedtime.

• Take one 10 oz bottle of Magnesium Citrate with 10 oz. of water.
• Take two gas relief tablets.

Now, you may take several trips to the bathroom emptying your bowels. To ease some unnecessary pain, use flushable wet wipes and Desitin or Vaseline on your bottom.

Your bowels will start activating 30 minutes to 3 hours after you take the first three tablets of Dulcolax. You may want to stay home 24 hours before your colonoscopy.

Good luck and remember the American Cancer Society recommends this procedure every 10 years.


American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer. American Cancer Society: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. Retrieved February 27, 2012, from http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/FindCancerEarly/CancerScreeningGuidelines/american-cancer-society-guidelines-for-the-early-detection-of-cancer

CDC - Colorectal Cancer Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 27, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics

Reviewed February 27, 2012
by MIchele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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