Do You Have Questions About the Colonoscopy Prep?

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that the prep for a colonoscopy has become somewhat of an urban legend. People have heard horror stories about the prep and its effects on one’s body and in talking with patients most of them will tell me they were more worried about the prep than they were of the actual colonoscopy.

The prep for a colonoscopy is pretty straight-forward: follow a clear liquid diet the day before your procedure and take the laxative solutions the night before your procedure. It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Sort of like putting together one of those do-it-yourself projects at home…the kind that comes with pages and pages of “simple instructions”. Here’s the thing – the longer the instructions, the less likely people are to read them all and that’s when things can go wrong!

We tried to simplify our instructions as best we could and keep them relatively short but still provide the relevant information. Here are the most common questions I hear with regards to the instructions:

Your instructions say to start taking the prep at 5pm but the instructions in the Pico-Salax say to start at 8am.

Our instructions indicate you should disregard the instructions that come with the Pico-Salax. There is really no need to feel the effects of the laxatives all day. Starting later in the day is just as effective. You should mix the packets of Pico-Salax with 5-8oz of water.

Your instructions say I should follow a clear liquid diet the day before my test but I can still eat my usual breakfast, right?

No. We do not want you to eat any solid food the day before your exam. Following a clear liquid diet helps to cleanse your colon so that the physician will be able to examine the lining of the colon completely. By eating solid food the day before your test means you will likely have leftover “debris” in your colon and the physician will not get an optimal view of the lining which means polyps may be missed (not seen).

I want to start the prep earlier than 5pm – can I do that?

Yes you can. The reason we indicated 5pm as the time to start the prep is because most of our patients are at work that day and don’t want to begin taking laxatives whilst still at the office! If you would like to start the prep earlier we recommend the following: Take the first packet of Pico-Salax at 3pm, the second packet at 5pm and the bottle of Citro-Mag at 7pm.

Your instructions tell me to disregard the instructions with the Pico-Salax but you don’t tell me how I’m supposed to mix the packets.

We mean to disregard the instructions that indicate you should take the prep at 8am. As I mentioned above, you do not need to experience the effects of a laxative all day. Our instructions indicate you should mix the packets with 5-8oz of water.

The Endoscopy Team at Medcan is always happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the procedure or the preparation involved. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you do have questions.

About Medcan Clinic

The Medcan Clinic is Canada's leading preventive healthcare clinic providing valuable online health, fitness and wellness information.

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