Bowel prep or Foul prep? Troubleshooting bowel preparation at home

You finally heard the dreaded words from your primary care doctor, “you need a colonoscopy!” You’ve heard horror stories from your friends as they went one by one for a colonoscopy.

“I pooped my brains out!” one said.

“I couldn’t stop vomiting because of the horrible tasting prep,” another said.

The fasting, the drinking of laxatives and the bowel movements are all part of the reality of a colonoscopy.  As someone who has personally has colonoscopies, I admit it’s a challenging process. I wondered, how did the little old ladies of the world went through this?!

But, this is all worth the hassle. Colonoscopies can identify and remove polyps, which might have the potential of becoming cancer. This ensures that lesions are taken out when they are treatable before they spread through the colon into the body.

Your neighborhood Gastroenterologist, after consultation, will instruct you on what preparation to take to clean out your colon, what times you should take the preparation, and what diet you should follow the days leading up to the procedure. This will serve as a troubleshooting document to guide your journey to the colonoscopy.  

You’re tired of the taste of the bowel prep!

You can add some Crystal Light or Kool-Aid powder (again, not red, blue or purple); add some ginger or lime ; drink it chilled; drink it through a straw placed far back on your tongue; suck on a lemon slice after you finish each glass; suck on a hard candy after each glass.

All this prep is giving you nausea, bloating or abdominal discomfort!.

Take a break! Whether that’s 30 minutes or 1 hour, wait till you feel better. When you restart, slow down how quickly you are drinking the bowel prep. If that doesn’t help, you can call your doctor for some anti-nausea medication like Ondansetron (Zofran), promethazine (Phenergan), prochlorperazine (Compazine) or Metoclopramide (Reglan). Another trick is to chill the bowel prep or drink cold water.  

You’re tired of jello and juice! Is there any protein options?

Ensure clear is an acceptable option.

Your butt is tired of all the wiping!

Apply vaseline, zinc oxide, Desitin Ointment for irritation from wiping. Use moistened wipes, such as Charmin Freshmates instead of toilet paper.

The prep hasn’t started working yet!

Different people respond to bowel prep differently. If you haven’t started to have bowel movements yet, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. If you still haven’t had any bowel movements, call your doctor. Either you have need more prep or you have a bigger problem!

My stool isn’t clear yet! What should I do?  

If you’re stool is still brown after drinking 4 liters of bowel preparation, you should call your doctor for more preparation. Having brown stool is a pretty good indicator that the colonoscopy will be unsuccessful. You can have your physician send more to continue drinking or reschedule the procedure to another day with more preparation.

For a lot of people, drinking bowel preparation is stressful. I know it was for me! I hope that these tips help ease the process. If you’re interested, please check out my next post regarding different bowel preparation regimens and their cost. There are some that are only 1-2 liters compared to the usual Golytely that are 4 liters, which can make the process much better. Check it out!

What bothers you the most about getting a colonoscopy? Let me know below!

Sincerely,

Keerthi

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