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Colonoscopy Prep Tips

Men and women age 50 and over will get a doctor’s order for a colonoscopy prep. Here are my top tips from my best colonoscopy experience.

  • 4 days before prep, switch to a low residue diet. A low residue diet essentially includes foods that you spend most of your life avoiding because they are not part of a healthy eating plan. Think white bread, white rice, pulp-free juice, eggs. Drink water like you are preparing for a drought. Drink, drink, drink.
  • 3-4 days before prep, pick up your prep kit from the pharmacy. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. If your doctor did not prescribe an anti-nausea medication, call the office to request a prescription. My doctor included 2 Zofran tabs with my SuPrep kit – lifesaver.
  • 3 days before prep, go shopping. I bought a 6-pack of Smart Water (contains electrolytes), Jell-O (no red or purple allowed), Italian ices (again, no red or purple allowed), hard candy (I like lemon), sugar-free gum, Gatorade, Sprite, apple juice, chicken bouillon cubes, drinking straws, a lime, and don’t forget a tube of Preparation H cream and baby wet wipes.
  • 2 days before prep, despite what your pre-procedure instructions say, (unless you have medical conditions then you should do what your healthcare provider tells you) make an early switch to a liquid diet. Yes, you are going to get hungry but you will survive. Yes, you can have coffee but no milk or cream. Whatever you do, don’t fall prey to people who encourage you to have “one last meal”. Repeat this mantra to yourself: anything I put in my body has to come out of my body in 48 hours. Keep drinking.
  • Day before prep, clear liquid diet. Dehydration is the enemy. It causes headaches, low energy, cramps, nausea and a bunch of other unpleasant symptoms. Staying well-hydrated will reduce your post-procedure recovery time.
  • Prep day, clear liquid diet. My doctor prescribed SuPrep for my second colonoscopy plus 4 Dulcolax tablets. This regimen was a million times better than the prep I was given for my first colo 5 years ago.
  • After you have taken Dulcolax and before you drink your first bottle of SuPrep, send your loved ones to a movie, a game, a play date, whatever it takes to assure that you have privacy for the next several hours.
  • When it is time for you to drink your first bottle of SuPrep you may worry that the taste will be terrible, or that you won’t be able to finish the bottle. Tell yourself “I can do this”. Mix the 6 oz. bottle with water in the 16 oz. cup that is provided with your kit.
  • I had researched this topic for days and combined tips from several web-based advisors. Use a fun glass (martini glass, beer mug, wine goblet, etc.) drink through a straw (as fast as possible without choking worked best for me), take a breath, and suck on a slice of lime, repeat. If the lime isn’t working for you, have a piece of hard candy or gum to cancel out the after-taste. Once you have finished the first bottle of SuPrep, give yourself a high five.
  • Settle in for the evening. You need quick access to a potty. Really quick, the warning can be very short notice.
  • Beer, wine, and spirits are not included in the colo prep category of clear liquids. I know some of you wanted to ask.
  • When it’s time for your second bottle of SuPrep, you may want to try adding some crushed ice and a splash of ginger ale, Sprite, or club soda to your 16 oz. cup of fun. Don’t forget your drinking straw. For me, faster was better, meaning the quicker I could gulp down the 16 oz. the better. Sucking on lemon-flavored lemon candies helped me chug the 32 ounces of water required to reach the finish line.
  • I wrapped up the prep party around 11:00pm and fell asleep for about 2 hours. Mother Nature called on me one more time and then I slept well until my alarm rang at 5:00am. After a quick shower and a 20 minute commute to the Endoscopy Center (nothing to eat or drink), the next few hours were a breeze. I completed a few forms, paid my co-pay, spoke with my doctor and his team. I had the best nap ever and woke up in post-op with my husband by my side. The doctor gave me a clean bill of health and praised me for my outstanding prep and the pristine condition of my colon. See you in 10 years!

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