Colonoscopy Prep: 9 Expert Tips for the Night Before


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What is a Colonoscopy? 

A colonoscopy is a procedure where a colonoscope (a thin, flexible tube) is inserted into the colon and guided all the way through to the cecum (where the colon begins and the small bowel ends). To get to the colon, the colonoscope is inserted through the rectum. The colonoscope has a digital camera and light attached to the end that allows doctors to see any abnormalities. This is why a colonoscopy is often referred to as a direct visualization test. This procedure may sound scary — but it isn’t. In fact, it can save your life. Prior to the procedure, you will do a bowel preparation to clear out the colon. “Prep” is essentially a laxative, which means you'll spend a lot of time on the toilet.

Colonoscopy prep is one of the most dreaded steps when it comes to colorectal cancer screening, but it’s not optional. You must clean out your colon so the doctor can get a good look at the inside!

We’ve asked colorectal cancer survivors and caregivers who undergo colonoscopy prep often for their “expert” tips on surviving prep night. Here’s what they said:

1. Adjust Your Diet a Few Days Before Prep Begins

Eating smaller portions and low-fiber foods a few days before you plan to do colonoscopy prep can help the evening go smoothly.

What to Eat Before A Colonoscopy

What you choose to eat and drink a few days prior to a colonoscopy can impact how “clean out” night goes. Here’s what our advocates recommend: 

  • Digestive tea 
  • Soups
  • Smoothies
  • Eggs
  • Rice
  • Salmon 
  • Chicken 
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Pasta 
  • Lighter-colored foods

What Not to Eat Before Colonoscopy Prep

  • Nuts and seeds (including wraps and breads containing them)
  • Popcorn
  • Red meat 
  • Fried, heavy foods 
  • Raw vegetables
  • Corn, peas, apple skins, and other fiber-filled foods that are hard to digest
  • Anything bright red in color

Decrease Meal Size 

Several survivors say decreasing the size of their meals a few days before starting colonoscopy prep also makes it go easier and smoother.

2. Drink the Colonoscopy Prep Laxative Cold

There are several types of colonoscopy prep drinks available over the counter or by prescription, but all of them require you to consume a relatively large volume. Unfortunately, this can cause nausea and vomiting. If you are struggling to drink your colonoscopy prep without throwing up, survivors recommend drinking the laxative cold – and through a straw – for the most pleasant experience.

“I put the prep drink in my large Tervis Tumbler with a straw. For some reason, drinking it with a straw helps me.”

–Trish Lannon, stage III survivor

3. Choose Yummy Treats for the Liquid Diet

The day before a colonoscopy, patients must stick to a liquid diet – i.e., no solid foods. What you choose to eat and drink can make or break your colonoscopy prep experience.

Try These Drinks to Make Your Colonoscopy Prep Taste Better 

While you are on a liquid diet you can add your prep to any of these treats. Remember to avoid any liquids with red, orange, and purple dyes as these may look like traces of blood during the colonoscopy and can interfere with getting accurate results.

  • Organic low-sodium broth
  • JELL-O (not red, orange, or purple)
  • Martinelli’s Gold Medal apple juice
  • White grape juice
  • Flavored sparkling water
  • 7-UP or Sprite
  • Black coffee (without creamer)
  • Gummy bears – pull out the red and purple ones, and suck the light ones for a little treat
  • Crystal Light
  • Gatorade (not red, orange, or purple)
Colon Prep Shopping List


Some survivors have also found electrolyte drinks, such as Pedialyte, can provide important hydration prior to the procedure.

“Pedialyte hydrates me better than water. I become dehydrated very easily, and it makes for difficulty when putting in my IV before the test. Pedialyte also now comes in packets, so you can mix it yourself.” 

–Kristen Keesen, stage III survivor

4. Bathroom Prep for Bowel Prep

Rolls of toilet paper

Once the colonoscopy prep laxative begins working, you’ll spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Here’s what you’ll need to make it a good experience.

Wet Wipes

DUDE wipes and Preparation H wipes are two advocate favorites, but several brands produce medicated and non-medicated wet wipes.

Soft and Strong Toilet Paper

Double-ply, soft toilet paper will be important as you prep for your colonoscopy. (And a critical must-have if you don’t use moist wipes.) Several brands make “gentle” toilet paper with aloe that can alleviate itching and burning – something that is common when you’re making frequent trips to the toilet.

Creams and Oils

Some survivors say creams and oils can help either prevent or soothe irritation. Favorites include:

  • Vaseline
  • Coconut oil
  • Boudreaux's Butt Paste®

Make sure the skin is completely dry before applying oils. Applying these barrier creams/ointments to a wet site will trap the moisture inside, potentially causing the irritation to be worse. 

If your irritation continues, some find that a cool, wet washcloth or drawing a bath also helps with irritation. 

Chargers and Light Reading

“Charge your phone and get a good book to read – you will be in the bathroom a lot!”

–Amanda Houston, stage II survivor

Whether you plan to be on your phone, laptop, or tablet, find your chargers before your laxative kicks in. Magazines like Beyond Blue and videos with patient stories can remind you of the reason you’re going through colonoscopy prep night and its importance!

Stretchy Pants

Elastic-waisted pants will be a lifesaver once the laxative begins working – you won’t have time to mess with buttons!

5. Double Check What Time to Start Your Prep

doctor instructions colonoscopy prep

Despite what the packaging or instructions on your colonoscopy prep product may say, always check with your doctor’s office and know what time they advise you to stop drinking liquids. This can impact your anesthesia during the colonoscopy.

Will I Be Up All Night with Colonoscopy Prep?

Double check your doctor’s instructions for when to begin your prep and bump it up a few hours earlier, if possible. If you begin drinking the colonoscopy prep in the evening, start a few hours earlier to prevent running to the toilet all night. Each person’s body is different – for some, it works right away, and for others, it takes several hours. Give yourself plenty of time for the laxative to start working.

Your doctor’s office should indicate what time to begin taking either pills or the laxative drink. Some colonoscopy preps are taken in one evening, others may be a “split-dose” and taken between an evening and the following morning. If you think you can’t drink your colonoscopy prep, a “split-dose” is a good option because it tends to be more tolerable.

6. Break Up Your Prep 

Break up your prep drink. Don't drink it all at one time! Drinking 32 ounces of anything can be daunting. But when you break up your prep over the course of an hour with four 8-ounce glasses, the mental stress of drinking "32 ounces" doesn't seem so bad. 

It is much easier to drink 8 ounces every 15 minutes over the course of an hour than to drink 32 ounces all at once. 

7. Finish the Prep - All of It!

It may be tempting to stop drinking all of the colonoscopy prep if your stools are running clear, but it’s important to complete all of the steps.

It’s not uncommon for the laxative to work right away and within the first few trips! But, even if you start to “run clear,” meaning your stools have turned liquid and are lighter in color, it’s important to finish the entire colonoscopy prep process.

Many bowel prep products include several drinks or pills to take - make sure to take them all for a total cleanout and effective scope. If you’re wanting to quit early, just remind yourself the prep is the hardest part!

8. Ease Back Into Eating Solid Foods

After your colonoscopy, go easy on what you eat. 

You may be starving after your procedure (you likely haven’t eaten in over a day), but your gut may take a few days to feel normal again. Don’t rush into a heavy, greasy meal - or you may regret it!

Some survivors say probiotics help the gut bounce back, and they avoid spicy foods for a few days if a polyp was removed.

A woman holds many rolls of toilet paper

9. Celebrate… and Tell A Loved One

Practice self-care and be proud of yourself – you got screened! Don’t forget to tell your family about your results!

Many patients leave a colonoscopy and go for a delicious and filling meal and a long nap. You won’t be able to drive or work following the procedure, so plan to take it easy for the rest of the day!

Because colorectal cancer risk is increased if you have a family history of polyps AND/OR colorectal cancer, share your results with your family -- especially your children, parents, and siblings.

If the doctor removed colon polyps, or any signs of cancer, it may take a few days, up to a few weeks, before biopsy results come in.

Your doctor’s office will follow-up with next steps and when your next colonoscopy should be scheduled.

Learn More About Colorectal Cancer Screening

Download our free screening mini magazine for more information about colorectal cancer screening.

Additional Resources:

213 thoughts on “Colonoscopy Prep: 9 Expert Tips for the Night Before

  1. I was prescribed PEG (miralax prescription) and took it for 9 months for constipation. My bladder burned for 3 months! So I’m afraid to take it. My family member took only magnesium citrate (1 1/2 bottles). I have stage 3 kidney disease (gfr 48) (not bad…) am wondering if anyone has taken mag citrate only and what success? Thanks.

    1. Hi Lynne,

      Thank you for your comment. Have you checked in with your health care team to have this discussion? They know you best and can best help you out with your questions and concerns.

  2. Tomorrow will be my sixth scope. The best tips I received were to drink the solution through a straw, and to take 2 Gravol tablets about a half hour before the solution.

  3. My colonoscopy is scheduled for tomorrow morning. I am currently in the middle of my fist dose of prep/cleanse, using SuTab,bisocodyl, and GasX. This is a 24 pill over the course of the evening and morning and 96 ounces of water.(48 in the evening and 48 in the morning). Right now, for me the worst part, is sitting on the toilet for hours, not knowing if my body is done expelling everything, and my bottom being raw and burning. I’m actually really anxious about my second dose in about 5 hours, and incredibly anxious about the procedure itself. Also… OMG am I ever going to get any kind of sleep, or just sit on the toilet till the morning?? I hope all goes well. I’ve been anxious over this whole procedure for months now.

    1. Hi Craig: Thank you for your comment. First of all: Good for you for taking the step to have a colonoscopy. We hope you receive clear results. Yes. The worst part is sitting on the toilet for hours. We are huge “blot, don’t wipe” fans here. From my perspective, the prep is the most challenging part, but it is doable. It is inconvenient for one night of your life, but there is no nap like a colonoscopy nap.

      We hope you wake up well-rested and with no notable news following your procedure. We agree that the whole procedure causes anxiety, but also, we know that screening saves lives. Now that you’ve had a colonoscopy, if you don’t have risk factors, perhaps in the future you can speak with your healthcare professional about an at-home colon cancer test option.

      Continue to feel better today and rest up. Congratulate yourself on getting screened.

  4. Two weeks ago my bloodwork came back with really low iron and hemoglobin (never knew ice pica was a thing! Else I would’ve checked it a couple months ago), plus three consecutive positive fecal occult tests. Colonoscopy got scheduled for two weeks out. I calmed myself down after talking to many people and a few doctors about possible causes for fecal occult, and went down the internet rabbit hole searching for bowel cleaning reviews, etc. The handout from the clinic listed only one, a 4L prep that nearly every single “review” talked about how nasty it was. I searched about 20 other hospitals and gastro clinics for others and saw that my clinic is pretty ignorant about what’s out there. Hopefully they’ll figure it out. ANYway…I’m sitting here drinking a very pleasant (first liter of “low volume” with second liter tomorrow morning at 7, 4 hours prior to exam) prep called Clensia OS. This goes down as if I’m drinking a lightly lime-flavored water with the tiniest smidge of salt in it. It’s pleasant enough that I wanted to chug it LOL But I’m doing it slow and on my final glass for tonight of four glasses.

    Here this costs the equivalent of 20 dollars. Been out for about four years and is generally “reviewed” up against Plenvu and Moviprep. If you have it there, ask your doc about using this prep — you’ll get through this crazy easy! (still staying calm about tomorrow!)

    1. Hi Maria, We are wishing you ease in the rest of your prep. Thank you for taking time to comment. Great job getting screening following positive noninvasive testing! Thinking of you and wishing you the best.

  5. I’m having my 2nd colonoscopy in 6 days, I had my first when I was 41 because my grandfather had colon cancer and my dad died at 69 from colon cancer. My last colonscopy I had 7 polyps removed, I had bleeding and cramping for over 3 weeks after my procedure but similar to period cramps. I talked to a nurse who told me as long as I had no fever I was ok. I have a history of vasovagal episodes so my last prep I was nervous, my prep took 6 hours to kick in so I thought it was going to be easy breezy. But I awoke and ended up sitting on the toilet for what felt like hours and might have been, I started to feel like I was going to faint/die and my son ended up coming in and holding me up from falling off the toilet and fed me water until I got the strength to get to my bed. Where I laid with a fan blowing on my wet face and managed to fall asleep. The next day wasn’t nearly as bad but def was back and forth to the toilet a lot. I would recommend an adult diaper for the trip to the hospital for your appointment, it will save you going to a hospital bathroom every 5 seconds just in case. As awful as my last experience was, I at least somewhat know shat to expect this time and do at least can mentally prepare. I’m just reminding myself that it’s 2 days of my life and that it’ll be over for another 2 years (I need to get every 2 years due to family history and polyps) as hard as it is, I think having cancer treatments would suck more. So, my advice for people is, relax, your body knows what to do, let it do it and breathe and have a cool cloth and a fan near by. And remember there’s an end in site.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You had a great attitude for getting through your difficult two days. We appreciate your comment. Glad you were able to successfully complete your colonoscopy.

  6. I have had 3-5 colonoscopies. Now that I’m 45 I’m getting the have to ones now. I have IBS. Saw some quack dr. that have told me there is no suck problem called IBS. The last one I did a week of no food. Jello and broth(was told I had the cleanest Colon he had ever saw). So it has been about 12 years since I have had to do the prep. I have sensitive teeth do I have to put the stuff in the fridge.

    1. Hi Becky: Thanks for your comment. We believe you, and we know IBS is a real thing, and in fact can provide narrower stools (a sign and symptom of colorectal cancer), so GOOD FOR YOU for self-advocating!

      Informally, I have asked my colleagues, and together we’ve determined that you do not have to put your prep drink in the fridge. Some doctor’s instructions are to refrigerate to help the mixture taste better. Some doctor’s instructions are not to refrigerate so it goes down easier. We recommend you speak with your provider for medical advice.

      Your doctor’s office will tell you what you need to do for a successful prep. Also, mention your teeth sensitivity to cold, so they can help you choose a prep that works for you.

      We are sending positive thoughts your way!

  7. Hi i had a bad experience ten years ago with no sedation with a colonespcopy.
    Ive just now had a good experience. Best tips for prep I found are wet wipes, diaper cream, stay on the loo with a book, panty liners. I wish I had known about the liquids I could try but I just took the 2 litres of moviprep and a little soda water. Actual procedure went fine .. one small polyp removed, I feel so relieved I did it as history of colon cancer in my family, Its daunting but not as daunting as worrying for years if you have colon cancer.

    1. Hi Eithne: Thank you so much for your comment. Someone asked the other day about experience with no sedation.

      We are so glad you had a good experience this time around. Thank you for sharing your tips!

      Finally, we agree with you 100%: It can feel stressful preparing for a colonoscopy, but it is definitely less daunting than worrying if you have colon cancer for years to come.

  8. I have a big family history, great grand mother, my grandfather died from colon cancer that spread everywhere, two uncles, the one uncle is currently going on hospice finding it has spread to his liver. My mom had polyps removed before the insurance recommended age.

    I’m 37 so not in that age range either but I had some things going on that my GI doctor said if I wanted it done she would find a way for it to be approved. Think my mom and I will feel better once this is done to be on the safe side.

    I am currently trying to get the second phase done. So tired and hungry lol. Was really hoping I could stop now that things are clear but reading around guess not.
    Thanks for the information.

    1. Hi Clairissa, Thank you so much for your comment. We are so sorry to hear about your family history and how many people were diagnosed. We are wishing your uncle peace and comfort, as well as the rest of your family.

      The age range of 45 and older applies to people who do not have a family history. So if someone in your family was diagnosed at age 46, then it is recommended you be screened at age 36.

      Good for you for realizing you should be screened now. Colonoscopies are not pleasant, but they aren’t awful either. They are lifesaving.

      Good job for your for powering through. It is super important that no matter how “cleaned out” you feel, that you complete all of the prep your medical provider has asked.

      Thank you for reaching out to us. We are hoping everything goes well.

  9. Thank you for the tips! This is my 7th Colonoscopy and I have a kidney issue so I have to do the 4 liter prep instead of the easy “sparkling laxative”. My sister was diagnosed when she was 36 with Colon Cancer and died 8 years later. We had no family history before that. My friend had a routine Colonoscopy and they found cancer at the very end of her colon and that it would have been too late by the time her symptoms showed up. I know the prep is inconvenient, but it can save your life. It’s one day out of your life so bite the bullet, do the prep and it will over before you know it!

    1. Alyson, We agree whole-heartedly with you: the prep is inconvenient, but it could save your life. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  10. I’m very thankful for all those who have shared tips. One question that I haven’t seen addressed here is about timing. In addition to the clear liquids only and other dietary restrictions, my prep instructions are:
    2 days before – take 1 Dulcolax just before bed
    1 day before – take 1 Dulcolax in the AM, drink half the MiraLax mixture in early afternon, drink the other half 4 hours later.

    Everything I’ve heard about the prep is ‘the night before’, and I know that once I start the Miralax mixture, I should expect to be in the bathroom all the time. But with two Dulcolax prior to that, should I be thinking about taking the day before off as well? Or can I expect a normal day until I start drinking the Miralax? Thank you for any tips about when the action starts with this kind of timing.

    1. Hi Jenny, Thank you so much for your gratitude! Also, kudos for getting ready for your colonoscopy.

      We cannot offer medical advice, so we recommend that you check in with your doctor’s office to ask this question, and ask them what their experience has been.

      Since you are concerned and cannot take the day before prep off and the day of the colonoscopy off, ask your doctor if it would be OK to take two Dulcolax the day of the prep. You could also reach out to Dulcolax (under “Contact Us” Call 1-866-844-2798 (M–F 8am–6pm)
      or submit a question online.

      They would be best equipped to answer your question as to what to expect.

      Please check back in and leave a comment when you find the answer! I am sure whatever you learn will be so helpful to others as well!

      Great job and yay you for scheduling your colonoscopy! Wishing you ease in your prep and a clean screen!

  11. I have a question but first want to say thank you to everyone who posted their encouragement and tips. I’m going in for my first colonoscopy in 2 days and I’ve been very anxious. So anxious that after reading this page a few days ago I think my body had a sympathetic response and started to clear (haha, but not really).

    My question is this: The nurse gave me the option to either stay up late and clear or wake up early and clear. My arrival time is 10:30 am. What is the main difference? I am going to take the pill at 3:00 pm and start drinking the jug at 6:00. I know that you can’t give medical advice but from experience, what do people recommend?

    Thanks again, colonoscopy veterans. This page was a lifesaver.

    1. Hi Matt, We are so happy that you found this blog and comments from people helpful.

      We hope you receive responses to your question. My personal response would be to clear out in the evening (feeling like that would provide enough time to fully clear out. That your doctor is giving you an option of night or morning indicates that either must be effective).

      We hope you check back in with us and let us whether you ended up doing the evening or morning clear, and your experience.

      When people share their experiences here, it’s so helpful to others.

      Thanks again for your comment!

      Good luck! Way to go getting your colonoscopy scheduled and completed!

  12. I just finished last week with the prep. I am 36 and this is my 3rd, yes 3rd prep. I did a split prep. If I can offer some advice it is to ease your diet days in advance. From solid food to liquid. I also used sugar free Gatorade and did the 15 minute intervals. Mind over matter! The prep is the hardest. I was looking forward to the great nap but also to finally get answers…. Although I am still waiting for final results and a treatment plan. I knew that something was wrong and it was. This will help me to finally make sense of the diagnosis and move forward. Do the prep and get your colon checked! You got this!

    1. Hi Haley: Awesome job of advocating for yourself and handling your prep like a pro and sharing your tips! Thank you! It is so great to hear when someone shares ways they successfully navigated prep. (We agree with you that the colonoscopy “nap” is absolutely delicious.)

      We are thinking of you and here for you if you have any questions or need resources. Sending you light and positive thoughts.

      Thank you again for sharing your experience.

  13. I’m currently prepping for a colonoscopy two days from now. I can confidently say I will never do this again. There are so many don’ts I can’t make sense of any of it. It seems surviving on water is the simplest solution. When we start talking about colored jello being prohibited, I’m done. I’ll just drink water and get it over with.

    I’ll follow through on this exam. But never again.

    Just one person’s opinion. I’m sure others have different experiences.

    1. Hi Rick, thank you so much for your comment. As a caregiver married to a stage III rectal cancer survivor, I will plead with you to reconsider having another colonoscopy again. Colonoscopies are lifesaving.

      Let’s talk about what you can have: Jell-O. You can have chicken broth. You can have ice pops. You can have all things liquid — so long as they aren’t red, purple, or orange. (Remember to avoid any liquids with red, orange, and purple dyes as these may look like traces of blood during the colonoscopy and can interfere with getting accurate results.)

      I hope we hear back from you: That you had a clean colonoscopy. If polyps were removed, that is even more reason to have future colonoscopies since that means you caught them before they became cancer.

      Wishing you ease of prep. While we understand prep is not easy, we cannot stress enough that it is lifesaving.

  14. The prep isn’t pleasant but their colonoscopies led to them finding my mom’s colon cancer and my dad’s pre-cancer early.

    Of course this means I had to start getting checked in my mid-20s. I saw what mom went through with chemo and radiation for breast cancer (stage 2) and would rather deal with a few days of annoyance over that any day of the week.

  15. Hi, I came here looking for tips. I attempted a colonoscopy several years ago that was unsuccessful due to not properly prepping several days before. I had the split dose, made it through the first dose of “they told me it tasted like mango but it really tasted like satans butt” dose and never produced any cleaning. All night..nothing. I knew if I wasn’t clean they couldn’t do the procedure so I didn’t do 2nd dose and called to cancel. They wanted to reschedule but I passed on it. Last year I did the cologuard test at home which was negative.
    I just lost my brother recently to stage 4 colon cancer that spread to his liver and pancreas. He only lived 7 weeks after getting diagnosed, so he is my motivation to go ahead and do this now. It had been 6 or 7 years since he had a colonoscopy and he was in a nursing facility for rehab for losing a foot due to diabetes. I will be better prepared this time.

    1. Hi Marie, First of all, we are so sorry that you recently lost your brother to stage IV colon cancer. Just know that we are here for you and sending you strength and our love.

      Second of all, good for you for working to get this colonoscopy accomplished successfully! Because of your brother’s passing, you are right that you need a colonoscopy.

      Your “Satan’s butt” comment is really funny and relatable! But you know you need this colonoscopy, so let’s get started!

      First have the conversation with your GI and take notes. Make sure to tell them your family history, And definitely be sure to let them know that your last prep felt unsuccessful, so you didn’t finish it, and you ended up not having a colonoscopy.

      Ask your GI for options. There are so many options for getting a colonoscopy successfully completed. Let your doctor know the last prep was not good for you. Work together to figure out a prep that will work for you. And then read it over again a few days before you are scheduled to begin prep, so you don’t have last minute questions.

      Be sure to follow the instructions your GI office gives you completely. For example, I had to take Ducolax earlier in the afternoon before drinking the Miralax.So be sure to follow each step of the prep.

      My own personal first experience is that I had prep that I had to take timed within each other. The first dose gagged me. I projectile vomited the next dose. I pulled the plug on my colonoscopy and prep, but I still wanted my planned endoscopy. My husband had been diagnosed with stage IIIb rectal cancer the year before — so trust me — I understood the importance of following through with a colonoscopy.

      I went ahead with my endoscopy and spoke with the nurse about my “failed attempt at prep.”

      I told her I asked for a “short form prep.” She asked me what I like to drink. I make my own sweet tea (which because of the color, I thought it may contain “red dye” in tea bags, so I never thought to use it.). She told me to make enough for 32 oz. and 32 oz. Follow the instructions with the Miralax, and I would not taste it. She is correct. I did not taste it. I was also concerned with drinking 32 oz. at a shot, and she told me, “Drink it through a straw — 8 oz. every 15 minutes. Again, I was able to accomplish that.

      The next morning, I was able to drink the second dose of 32 oz. Ultimately I was able to successfully complete my colonoscopy on my second try.

      So don’t give up! Do speak with your GI. Definitely have your colonoscopy! Best wishes for clear results, and please stop back and let us know how you did!

      Thank you, Marie, for reaching out to us.


  16. I don’t drink any carbonated soft drinks and I absolutely hate the taste of citrus like lemon, lime. Are there any other flavors I can use with the liquid prep? I was given a lemon flavor packet to use and there is no way I can possibly drink that. Also, what happens if you’re unable to drink all the prep before your appointment? Would I have to cancel and start all over again?
    My appointment is in 5 days

    1. Hi Gary, Thank you for your comment.

      We are unable to provide medical advice, so please check in with your doctor’s office to ask about flavor options and prep options. Their staff should have suggestions for what you can do to ensure success with your colonoscopy.

      Good for you for having a few days before prep to figure out what will work for you!

      Reach out to your doctor’s office. Ask what other options you may have. Be honest and tell them that you may not be able to complete the prep because you don’t like citrus. Also remember to ask your doctor’s office what colored drinks you should avoid during prep.

      It’s important to get your colonoscopy completed, which you already know because it’s scheduled and you’re getting ready to have it done!

      Please let us know what your doctor says, and we are wishing you a successful colonoscopy with clean results. Please check back in with us.

    1. Please call the office of the doctor who will be administering your colonoscopy to be sure, since we cannot provide medical advice, and their office is best equipped to handle your questions relating to your colonoscopy.

      We recommend not drinking anything red, purple, or blue.

  17. Thanks so much for all the great tips! Allow me to add one more in case no one else mentioned this: especially if you’re older and don’t have great bowel control, be sure to have some Depends (or similar adult diapers) on hand. You may not make it to the bathroom in time! 😄

  18. I had my first colonoscopy ever this past week. Honestly, I was terrified of the prep, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as what I had imagined. I asked my doctor if I could have a choice between pills or a liquid for the prep, and I was a candidate for Sutab. My insurance didn’t cover it, but he gave me a coupon to use at the pharmacy that reduced the price quite a bit. This involved taking 12 pills in the late afternoon with water. You time them out 2 minutes apart. I didn’t have any nausea, cramping, or vomiting whatsoever. An hour later, I drank another 16 oz. of water. Then a half hour later, I drank another 16 oz. of water. That was perfect for me because I really didn’t think I’d be able to handle the taste of the liquid prep! The purging began 2 hours later, and I wasn’t in pain at all. I’d just occasionally feel the need to go to the bathroom on and off for about 2 hours. I slept through the night without any interruptions. The next morning, the procedure was repeated with 12 more pills and the intervals of water. Easy, peasy! I think another key was continuing to drink clear liquids throughout the prep in order to stay hydrated. I ended up having one polyp removed that I’m waiting to hear back on, so I’m glad I didn’t chicken out.

    1. Hi Lynn, We appreciate your comment so much! Great job getting your colonoscopy done — and wow — your polyp removal may be lifesaving! Thank you for sharing and letting people know that prep is not the worst thing: A colorectal cancer diagnosis is the worst thing. Loved hearing about your smooth, uneventful prep! Thank you!

  19. My 50 year old husband just finished 3 rounds of chemo for the stage 3 cancer that was found on his routine colonoscopy. They said it had been there for at least 10 years. No symptoms no family history. I just finished my prep for my procedure in the morning. It helped to use a straw and sip something carbonate in between drinks of the cocktail.

  20. I am literally in the middle of prep for the procedure tomorrow morning. It’s all going very well and I’m wondering if I’m doing it wrong because it seems easy enough?
    As per Dr orders, I took 3 Dulcilax at noon.
    I mixed 8oz miralax powder into 1/2 gallon water. Starting at 4 I drink 16 ounces per hour. It’s 6:30, so I’m almost done with my 3rd round of 16 oz.

    I haven’t looked fed to the prep, and who knows if things will change soon, but whatever the prep, the colonoscopy will be worth it. My dad had a precancerous polyp removed with no further problems. But my friend had a scheduled colonoscopy scheduled that revealed stage 3 cancer! She had no idea and felt fine! It was dealt with successfully and I am convinced it’s better to go to the trouble and find nothing than do nothing and regret it later.

    1. Hi Janet,
      We’re glad you’re getting your colonoscopy done! Preps may differ from doctor to doctor. We hope you had a clean and clear colonoscopy result. We agree that it is far better to go through the prep and colonoscopy before you have signs and symptoms. Colorectal cancer found early is preventable and treatable. Great job! Hope everything went well for you!

  21. This is my 4th or 5th colonoscopy and I don’t remember the prep being this bad. Maybe my memory erased the previous times. I am doing a spit prep of the intense cherry-flavored-salty-chemical cocktail that I like to call S**tstorm. I started with 2 ducolax at 4:30pm, and at 5pm I drank the 16 oz of S**tstorm. I was to follow this with 32 oz of water within an hour. Well, as I was finishing the first 16 oz all hell broke loose. Once the storm began it went on for hours. Nearly nothing solid was expelled, just a rainbow of brown and yellow water. Water water EVERYWHERE and not a drop didn’t stink. I couldn’t stand up. Or I should say, I shouldn’t have stood up. I’ll be cleaning my floors tomorrow.

    It is now 12:30am and I am to start my second dose at 2pm. I will not be sleeping until my procedure. I want to be put under so I don’t have to witness my doctor and his colleague’s monochromatic scrubs taking on a new explosion of color.

    I did not eat any solid foods, as instructed. I think this has something to do with my anal history. I had chemo and radiation for anal cancer 8 years ago. They said that the treatment worked and I was clear, but the radiation fried my bowel. Rather that being stretchy like it should be, my bowel has all the stretch of wood. I only get 5 minute warnings that cannot be ignored or out come the emergency change of clothes. Some days I take Imodium as if they were Tic Tacs. But most people have no idea. I hide it well…until I can’t.

    Thank you for all of your stories they gave me something to read while, well you know. Now 1 hour until blast off part 2.

    1. Thank you for your comment and honesty. We especially enjoyed your Samuel Taylor Coleridge humor, which in the midst of colonoscopy prep, was particularly endearing. It’s definitely difficult to go through round one of prep, and then have to do it all again. In the span of a few hours. BUT let’s reinforce the importance of colonoscopies and the importance of preps so that the doctors can get as clear and clean a view as possible.

      We hope you got some sleep last night, and we also hope today is a good colonoscopy and good news day for you.

      Thank you for taking time to share and comment. We appreciate your authenticity and that you shared your experience KNOWING that colonoscopy prep is not a joy, but something that absolutely needs to be done.

  22. I am 37 years old and I was sent for my first colonoscopy at age 35 after having some blood in my stool. I was diagnosed with Stage 3a rectal cancer and no family history of cancer. The road to remission was not easy. I am literally in the middle of my third prep in a year and a half. It saved my life. Anyone who needs to go and doesn’t or is afraid to or avoiding because of a few hours of prep drink I encourage you to tough it out and do it. It could save your life. You won’t regret it!

    1. Hi Hilda, Thank you so much for taking time to post such an important comment. No one wants a colonoscopy, and it feels like sort of a relief to be told “you’re too young for cancer” or “it’s internal hemorrhoids.” Colorectal cancer strikes at any age, and like you mentioned, so many people diagnosed do not have a family history of it. We wish you continued good health, and thank you again for taking time to encourage people to get their colonoscopies!

  23. I wanted to comment because when the experts say that younger and younger people are getting in colon trouble, believe it; I’m 31 y/o and had to have a large polyp removed in February. There’s no such thing as being too young.

    Anyway, I’m sitting here with my horrible prep jug, getting ready for the 6 month follow up. A ginger beer chaser is definitely helping, but I can’t believe I’m missing the Gatorade/Miralax prep.

    1. Molly, We commend you on getting a colonoscopy. Sadly, we are seeing young people diagnosed too frequently, and we agree with you that colorectal cancer knows no boundaries and age doesn’t matter.

      Wishing you positive thoughts and outcome.

  24. Did my 4th colonoscopy today, and this was the 1st time I had to do a split prep. I never had a problem my 3 prior times when doing it all at once. For me, the split prep was worse as I prefer to get it all done at once.

    They want you to do the 2nd dose of the prep 4-5 hrs before the procedure. Instructions for me were to do half at 6 pm the day before and the other half at 4:30 am the day of for a 9:30 am appt.

    I pushed back as I was worried about having an accident on the way in, and was told to do 5 pm and midnight. This would have meant I’d have gotten no sleep, so did 5 pm and finished dose two by 10 pm. As it was, I was in the bathroom as late as 2 am and then back in there at 6 am the next day.

    I HATE needles with a passion. I requested the smallest one possible for the IV and it still hurt like hell. Apparently you can get a numbing gel/cream to put on your hand to help minimize the pain, but I’d have had to ask for and get that in advance, and didn’t know that. Something to remember for next time.

    In spite of not following the prep timing, I had no issues with my bowel not being clean. I otherwise followed the dietary restrictions. I am also on a 5 year schedule due to family history with colon cancer, so it’s not like there will be 10 years in between if they missed something really small.

    Having watched my mother die from colon cancer is the only reason I manage to push through and get this done. It’s the only way I can make sense out of her premature death. It’s a horrible way to die and very preventable, but knowing that still doesn’t make this any easier. It’s still a horrible (for me), but necessary procedure that I go through as much for my wife and kids as I do for myself.

    BTW – The “low fiber diet” is something new this time too. No fruits, vegetables, nuts or seeds 3 days prior. These items are a significant part of my diet, and eliminating them did not make the prep any easier for me.

    Again, I had no issues the 3 prior times, so this just seemed like another change to make a difficult process even harder. This is in spite of the claim the changes are supposed to make things easier, but that is just my take on it. YMMV.

  25. For those that have an unbearable time with the prep, can they get a colonic instead? It’s strange but not really uncomfortable. Certainly not unbearable and you have the benefits of a colonic. Also, do some pub med research on the benefits of enteric coated peppermint 2 hours before colonoscopy to relax the bowels, making it easier for the doctor to perform procedure and get a better outcome.

    1. Hi Dianna: We are unable offer medical advice on getting a colonic vs. traditional methods of bowel prep or the use of peppermint oil, and we encourage you and others to speak with your medical provider about whether either is an option. It is not risk-free and since each person is unique, any treatment plan options should be discussed with your medical provider who knows your medical history best.

  26. I have been dreading this procedure for weeks and I can tell you it is not that bad. I changed to a low fiber diet for a few days and this really helped. I was worried about fasting but I drank tons of liquids (water, beef broth, and seltzer water) and I was not hungry. The night before I took 2 dulcolax at 2 pm and at 4 pm I started my 64 oz of Gavilyte/Colyte. It tasted like watered down Gatorade. Done drinking by 7:30pm. Lot’s of trips to the bathroom but by 10:00 I went to bed. Woke up at 6am. Drank the next 64 oz by 7:30. Some bathroom trips until 9:30. Showered, got dressed and went to apt. I was in and out in one hour! The Kaiser staff was amazing! They gave me a sedative and I was able to watch the procedure on the monitor. They said to come back in 10 years to do it again. This site was great! Thanks for all of the tips.

    1. Hi Jessica, we are so glad your colonoscopy went well and that you had it done! Thank you for letting us know we were helpful.

  27. I have a question. I have my scope scheduled for this Friday (06/24). I am to start my prep on Thursday at 6:00 PM. I have been given Sutab, which is 2 bottles of 12 tablets each. I take the first bottle at 6:00 PM Thursday and the second bottle 4:15 AM the day of my scope (check in time is 9:15 AM). I don’t want to be on the toilet all night long, but it seems like I might be if I start the prep that late in the evening. Can I start the pills earlier than 6:00 PM?

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Please you to reach out directly to your gastroenterologist’s office to ask your question. You ask a great question, and it’s important that you follow your GI’s advice so that you completely and properly prepare your prep, so you can have a successful colonoscopy. We cannot give healthcare advice. Good luck! Great job getting screened!

  28. Forget my mistakes but, I hope you can see that my dog was involved instead it was my doc and the baby reference in the beginning was supposed to be my I think.

    I guess next time I’ll have to take the time QC my work!

  29. Baby chronic pain patient and take pain medication that, of course, gives me opiate induced constipation. This has resulted in me failing the last three colonoscopy preps I’ve done. For the last one I actually did a double prep and still was unsuccessful.

    The doctor has been polyps that are pre-cancerous and because he can’t get through the rest we don’t know what else is there. I would really like to be able to be successful in this test. Is there any other way for someone like myself to clear out my : colon?

    My dog has been somewhat uncaring about this and insists that I need to be successful with the prep but, it’s becoming apparent to me that this isn’t going to happen. To clarify I have completed all the prep juice as it were so I’m not slacking. I just don’t know what else to do.

    I would really appreciate any help you might be able to give me.

    Thanks very much!

    1. Hi Bob,
      Thank you for your comments. Did you complete all steps of the prep? Have you spoken with your primary doctor about the issue of the opiate induced constipation? Did he have any suggestions? Have you had a discussion with your GI about your inability to have a successful prep? Have you asked about different prep options? We aren’t able to offer medical advice here, but communication with your healthcare team is extremely important. They’re the ones who have the medical insight and would be better able to provide you with a successful prep. Good luck, Bob! Please talk with your healthcare team so you can get a complete and successful prep and colonoscopy!

  30. So basically… no hope and no improvement in the almost 20 years since my first colonoscopy. The prep is HORRIBLE and brutal beyond words for anyone with digestive problems like IBS. Not only does it cause nausea and acid reflux, vomiting and pure misery…but AFTER the procedure (which is painless and most folks are asleep anyhow), you can have up to 5 days of miserable cramping, stomach aches, acid reflux and so on.

    Think about it folks: they can transplant HUMAN FACES… hearts… sew fingers back on your hand after amputation… BUT THEY CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO EMPTY YOUR BOWELS without abject, pure misery — pain, nausea, vomiting.

    Don’t expect one iota of sympathy from doctors, because honestly: THEY DO NOT CARE. This procedure is now the “go-to” for anything remotely wrong with your insides, AND for everyone over 45 (!!! down from 50!) AND if you have the misfortune to have a relative who had colon cancer… you can look forward to doing this every 2-5 years. $$$$$

    I wish the site moderator would discuss the fact that the PREP ALONE keeps probably 50% of more of candidates for this procedure from ever having it done… THAT IS HOW BAD IT IS! don’t minimize this! I’ve had lots of other procedures in my life, this is BY FAR the very worst. I’d rather have a root canal. I’d rather have TEN root canals than a colonoscopy prep.

    1. Hi Lois, Thanks for your comment. We understand your frustration with the prep, and we are sorry that you have had such a horrible experience with the prep and colonoscopy.

      Screenings save lives. Colonoscopies save lives.

      Keep in mind, the doctors having colonoscopies have the same prep we do.

      Have you tried drinking the prep in 15 minute increments? Drinking 8 oz of liquid every 15 minutes for one hour is one way to not feel overwhelmed by the 32 oz. Have you tried drinking through a straw? We agree that prep isn’t an enjoyable experience; however, prep is absolutely necessary for an accurate screening.

      My husband was diagnosed with stage IIIb colorectal cancer in 2018 at age 47. While he has been cancer free since July 2019, his quality of life is not what it was before his diagnosis. He struggles daily.

      He has had colonoscopies each year for the past three years, and he hates the prep every time he has to do it. But it’s necessary, so he does it.

      I’ve had my colonoscopy, and I am not a fan of the prep either, but I’ve seen what my husband has gone through firsthand, so I get it done.

      I tell all my friends that the prep and colonoscopy are worth the trouble. By the time people see signs and symptoms, typically, there’s already a problem.

      And we disagree that colonoscopies are treated as “go to.” We know so many people who were not given the option of a colonoscopy because they were “too young.” By the time they were able to get a colonoscopy, they were diagnosed at a late stage.

      Finally, we agree that the prep is a barrier to some, and that is why we are thankful there are screening options that do not require prep, such as a stool-based test and blood-based screening. Although, if a positive test results, then a colonoscopy still needs to be done.

      In the meantime, we are glad to be able to provide some small tricks and tips to help.

  31. I realize colonoscopy saves lives and for that I think we should be grateful we have such a test, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why, in the 21st century they have not developed a way of cleaning out the colon without having to drink gallons of water and solution. It is dreadful. There should be a procedure whereby you take a few pills and drink, say 4-5 cups of a solution that cleans the colon. Doesn’t that sound reasonable? of course it does, so why hasn’t anybody worked on inventing such a way to clean out the colon? we have been doing it the same way for 50 years!!!!

  32. I have a routine colonoscopy scheduled for Monday but I have something I have to do on Sunday night, I can’t get out of, and which might leave me with inconsistent bathroom access.

    What is the best course of action? Prep clean-out day on Saturday and eat nothing Sunday? Or try to do it all on Sunday and pray?

    1. This is a concern best discussed with your provider who is familiar with your medical history and needs. The timing of your colonoscopy and your Sunday event could potentially play a role in which course of action would be best and is only something your provider can help you figure out. We hope you were able to get a good quality prep before your colonoscopy.

  33. For the fellow who had strong pain during the prep, don’t ignore it. I was doing a colonoscopy prep in December and I actually got the day wrong and it was the next day….extra fun! So I took the extra jug home and was going to do it again but I started developing pain, pain that kept me up all night. I started googling because the pain went to my lower right quadrant. OK, what’s there? I googled appendicitis and colonoscopy and found out that the week after a colonoscopy and prep that while very rate, people have a much greater chance of appendicitis, which I actually had, so instead of getting the colonoscopy the next morning, I went to the ER and had my appendix out just before it burst. Seems that the cleaning out process can dislodge bacteria or fecal matter that gets trapped in the appendix. Again, very rate. I had to wait a few months to let the ER anesthesia wear off which is a real thing too. Yes, there are risks, yes I had complications albeit very rare, but I am a believer that these are beneficial and I’m getting my second colonoscopy tomorrow. The prep is not that bad, just different. My advice is to stop eating all solid foods a few days in advance and reduce caloric intake overall just to make the process easier. I know everyone cannot do that but it helps me. And the lady’s suggestion above about strong ginger or peppermint tea as a chaser is brilliant! Aloha and best wishes.

    1. Hi Winston: Thank you so much for sharing your tips and advice. We are so glad you are OK and your appendix was taken out just in time. Thank you for encouraging people to forge on with their colonoscopies, even when challenges arise along the way!

      We encourage all people to speak with their medical provider or healthcare team for colonoscopy prep and all medical advice, since every person is unique and what might work for some (stop eating solid foods days in advance, for example) may not work for others. Thanks again for sharing!

  34. In 2000, at age 57, I had my first colonoscopy. Polyps were found. Since then I have had 12 colonoscopies, with a number of precancerous polyps usually found. The last 12 colonoscopies have been with the same doctor. She has used various preps EXCEPT those with taking a second dose of prep the morning of the surgery. I have found these tricks for successful preps. Start lightening your food intake several days before the date. On prep date, start your prep no later than 10:00 AM so that you won’t be sitting on the throne during the night. From the doctor’s: nurse: pounding Gatorade or Powerade at the same rate as your prep makes the effluvia rawness almost non-existant. (Yeah, it’s a lot of liquid, but it makes the throne time so much easier.)

    My instructions have always said that I can drink bouillon or eat Jello during the prep time and up to midnight before the colonoscopy. They no liquid intake after midnight for a 9:00 AM arrival time.

    1. Thank you, Kirk, for sharing your experience on your colonoscopy prep. For split preps, the second dose may have to be taken after midnight or in early morning hours. We recommend following your doctor’s recommendations and instructions, as well as reading prep instructions a few days in advance of your colonoscopy prep so that if any questions arise, your doctor’s office staff is available to answer them.

  35. Thank you for the tips and the comradery!

    I am 53. This is my second colonoscopy (I had polyps). This time it’s a two day prep due to my constipation issues.

    The first go round was awful. I felt like I had the flu. This time I am doing a lot of self care and looking at this prep as an experience that may save my life, and, on a more trivial note, a great way to jump start weight loss. Filling an empty body with good fuel feels like the right thing to do!

    I scheduled the procedure on a Monday, giving me two full days to be gentle with myself. A few days before starting the prep, I switched to a low residual diet. I stocked up on broths, jello, white grape juice, lemon Italian ice and green tea and treated myself to some new books, and I organized my prep. Saturday morning I had a cup of green tea and a lemon Italian ice, and I turned on my heating pad. Last time I was so hungry, so this time I am trying to have a “snack” every few hours and also drink both regular and sparking water (I read somewhere the bubbles help stave off hunger.). I was freezing last time too, so I am keeping a heating pad on the ready! I also realized the more you try to do around the house, the more calories you burn and the hungrier you will be, so yesterday I read, watched TV and napped before the prep started. Once things got moving, I tried to keep in mind that my body was cleansing itself, and I could use this as a reset.

    Trying to stay positive today. One day down, one to go!

    Stay well!

  36. People, PLEASE get your colonoscopy!!! I was afraid to do it, and waited for my first one, at 63. I was having a few symptoms for a few months, excess gas and mucous. I knew something was going on, and I wanted to see what. I just had the procedure, and they found just one large (4 cm) polyp in my rectum. The doctor told me he was concerned, and its been a rough couple of days waiting, but I got my results today. Pre-cancerous, but no cancer. I kept asking the doctor if it was cancer, and he told me no, 5 times. LOL. He said the polyp likely started before I was 50, and that it’s a good thing I came in when I did. He told me to tell my sons (41 and 23) that now they’re high risk and to get their first scope at 40! I’ll have to tell my first son to get it done.
    The prep was not bad at all. I had no problem with it, and I actually felt good after the “liquid fast”. I wasn’t even hungry during the prep, until the scope was over. During the procedure, I was asleep, except for a few seconds of gas pains, then I went back to sleep again. I woke up, and went to Denny’s.
    Bottom line, I was afraid and waited. Don’t wait! Get it done, it’s honestly not bad at all – you’ll be fine – and the scope can see polyps that Cologard can’t. I feel great and am so glad I did it. Save your life. The procedure finds polyps and removes them before they turn into cancer. Just do it! You’ll be glad you did.

  37. Here is some info about timing. The afternoon before the colonoscopy, between 4:00 PM & 5:20 PM I drank one-half gallon of Trilyte. Bowel movements started at 6:10 PM and pretty much ended by 7:30 PM. Last bowel movements were clear. I plan to drink another half gallon at 1:00 AM and get to the hospital (a one hour drive) at 7:45 for the procedure. So far, the prep and bathroom visits were quite bearable. Good luck to all.

  38. Thanks to the KaiserPermanente site and this one my colonoscopy prep and today’s procedure was a breeze. I was so worked up about this and for nothing. My experience was with Suprep which sounds exponentially better than the others. My friends did not do Suprep and told bad stories too. But the Suprep tasted like Gatorade loaded with salt. Like someone tried to make a mixed drink but used salt instead of sugar, yet still a little tangy like lime/lemon Gatorade. I followed Kaiser’s suggestions for the three days before. Saturday I ate light. Sunday I ate some peanut butter crackers and later a skinless baked potato. Monday I had hot chicken broth and nothing else but water. 8pm Monday Suprep w water guzzled down with ice in my waterbottle. 8:20p tried to guzzle another 16 oz of ice water but it took a while. By 8:45p I got another 16oz of ice water but wound up on the toilet with it. By 9:30p I finished the water and spent another 90 minutes in and out of the bathroom. It was shocking but not painful, and so loose and watery there was no need to wipe my butt raw or use butt paste etc. I did use a washcloth a couple of times early on. But as soon as I felt empty and laid down, it was not ten minutes before I was back in the bathroom. By 11:30p I was done and sleeping…only to get up Tuesday at 6am to start again. Same scenario. Suprep w water guzzled w ice. Reluctantly got 16 oz of ice water #1 and managed to force that down. Prepared ice water #2 and went directly to the bathroom for another colon blow. Today however the result was completely 100% liquid and bright yellow green like Gatorade. Then it was completely clear like water. Then a weird yellow. Then clear again. Then hardly anything at all. By 9ish there was nothing left. If I felt like it I would go a clead trickle, it didn’t even look like I had used the toilet. Waited around to go to my 1pm appointment, they asked me to arrive at 12:30 (and I live a 10 minute walk to the facility). Super thirsty but they said no liquid no nothing after the prep on colonoscopy day. Went in, nurse took vitals, gave me a pregnancy test (using approx one squirt of urine), talked to the anesthesiologist, talked to the doctor, signed a bunch of things with each of the three people. I disrobed, then they rolled me into the room, put oxygen in my nose and stuck the anesthesia in my arm. Out cold within ten seconds of the drugs. Woke up in recovery, doctor gave me a printout with discharge instructions and pictures of the polyps they found/removed. Should hear back in a week but they said I should plan for another one in 3 years. Overall for those looking for some guidance, just throw back the prep (hopefully Suprep!) and prepare a few days before by not eating so much. I only wish I would have had some jello on hand even though I am no fan, because the all liquid day is tough! Also any hunger you feel goes away once you are bloated and full of the prep and water and spending time in the bathroom. Just do it, tell a friend, and be well.

  39. If you take washed ginger root, grate an inch or two of it into a pot of water, bring it to a boil, and then strain it through cloth to take all the solids out, it makes a ginger tea you can use it to help relieve nausea.

    Each time I finished my (split) prep with the Peglyte, I would finish off with a mug or two of ginger tea. It really helped me avoid feeling nauseated.

    I suspect it also made the “flushing” process last a bit longer because I drank more liquids in total, but the nurse told me my prep had looked great after the colonoscopy.

    So if you’re worried about feeling sick to your stomach, do make ginger tea and have it in the bathroom with you while you do your prep. It works really well without interfering with the prep.

  40. Hello everyone!

    First off thank you all for your comments it really helped me prepare for my first colonoscopy today at the age of 20. Here are some tips that worked for me but they might not work for everyone

    I started my low fiber diet 2 days before the recommended date That kaiser told me. I definitely stocked up on jello, Gatorade, broth, Italian ice and lifesavers (green and yellow ones only). The liquid diet was pretty annoying but doable. I definitely recommend eating jello when you are starving. It helped calmed down my hunger.

    Then at 6pm the horror started for me. I had to drink half a gallon within two hours of the laxative….Haha yea that didn’t happen. I drank 2 cups in 40 mins and I had horrible nausea. Also 10 mins after the first sip I went to the bathroom right away. Within the first 2 hours and 3 cups I had already had 7BM and they were already clear. I called an advice nurse from kaiser and asked her if I had to finish it all. She said that to drink as much as I could. I drank 4 cups in total that night and had around 20BM that night.

    I was able to have a sort of a good night sleep but I woke up at 6am and went right away. I decided to start the second half of laxatives an hour early.. here I was only able to drink 3 cups and had like 10 BM. One of the hardest moments for me was not being able to drink any liquids for 3 hours.

    It was time for my colonoscopy and I was worried that I had to redo it because I only drank less than half a gallon of the horrible laxative. Well… everything went well and I got a polyp removed and biopsies were also taken. Hopefully my results are ok.

    For laxatives it does depend on one’s body. I’m a small figure who ways 95lb and my body reacts quickly with laxatives and anything that doesn’t sit well in my stomach.

  41. I have been through the prep multiple times and while everyone is different, for me this worked best by far: 1) start your prep, 3 days early with light easily digestible foods,2) 2 days before having your last full meal for breakfast, go to liquids and broth the rest of the day, 3) the day before continue with liquids and broth, if you are doing dulcolax tablets AND Miralax mixed with liquids, then take your dulcolax in the morning at say 11 am and begin your Miralax 4 hours later (my instructions suggested only 2 hours in between). 4) For me mixing the Miralax with flat ginger ale worked best, as ginger is stomach-soothing.

    Unlike in the past, this way I had no cramping, previously cramping had been severe.

    Good luck!

  42. First, I want to thank everyone who posted here. I feel like my scenario strays from most that I’ve read about. I’m a 49 y.o. female with a history of chronic constipation and two relatives on my mother’s side who died of complications from colon cancer. The prep for me was pretty awful… Three days before the procedure I went to the low fiber diet with my last meal at 5pm that night. Immediately following, 3 doses of Miralax – which I’m used to taking, so no problem there. I was on a clear liquid diet though from Friday night at 5pm until Monday morning when I am scheduled to have the procedure. Saturday night, as instructed, I took four more doses of Miralax, which did create some action (none from the prior 3 doses). I was up and in the bathroom every hour or two throughout the night. Today (Sunday), more clear liquid with the first SuPrep dose at 1pm, it took me nearly an hour to get it all down, and I did throw up a bit at the end. Many trips to the bathroom later, I started feeling a little stabilized and then it was time for my second dose. My instructions were to take the first dose at 1pm and the second at 6pm. The second dose was even harder to get down, but I did find that ice helped along with chasing it with lemonade (as several others noted). Honestly, there’s about an ounce, maybe two left in the cup, I just can’t do anymore without puking. I don’t have a problem drinking all the water, so I’m just trying to flush with that until I go to bed. I’m curious though, no-one I’ve talked to had to go through as many days of liquid diet, or 2 days of Miralax prior to the prep day. I write this now as I was searching for something somewhere to tell me that it wouldn’t be the end of the world that I wasn’t able to choke that last little bit down. I’m not nervous about the colonoscopy itself, it’s just all this prep that has me spinning. Anyone out there go through a similar situation for prep?

  43. Took suprep at 6PM. 6Oz mixed with 10oz water, to make the 16oz mixture. Mine tasted like grape and was not bad at all. I finished it in 10 minutes. Then two 16oz servings of water within the hour. And then not really much…. at all. It is now 9:30PM and I’m on the internet searching for info to make sure I did not do something wrong. I followed the given instructions to the tee, but I expected WAY bigger results. I’ve gone to the bathroom four times and each time has been a let down. I expected hoover dam to break open, but only got a water show each time. Maybe I started prepping too early? On the day of starting suprep, I followed a liquid diet and only had chicken broth. I only consumed home made organic chicken noodle soup the day before and organic chicken and rice the day before that. I really don’t know, but I expect FAR more than what I have experienced. Maybe enough time hasnt passed. Maybe the next suprep dose that I have to take at 6AM will do the job? I imagine it helps, otherwise why do you have to take it twice? I have also read studies that say miralax is more effective than suprep, but I have no experience and it was only one study.

  44. Thanks to all the previous comments first…they really helped me prepare.
    So for anyone nervous about a colonoscopy, I hope my recent experience helps (it was today at 10:30am, Las Vegas, Durango Outpatient Surgery Center). It was literally a breeze from prep to finish. I may just be an exception, but the whole experience was very acceptable, and I’m a wuss when it comes to doctors. Yes, the prep (suprep) tastes like sh*t, but chill it and the bottled water before hand, then sip it over time after mixed + two bottles of water. The second dose this morning at 3:30am was a bit harder to swallow, but a gulp of gatorade between swallows helped the taste. I bought crystal light to add, but didn’t need to use it. The actual “flush” wasn’t really that pressing and after 4 or 5 visits to the “library”, the process is mostly over.

    The actual medical procedure was seamless. Of course strict Covid check in, then a short wait. Start the second cleanse at least 6 hours before your appointment (or as directed) so all the action is over well before you head to the appointment. You change into a hospital gown, and an IV line is added. They failed once on my hand so I suggested by arm, which is an easy target after giving blood so many years. They took me back right away after talking to the doctor, anesthesiologist, and assisting nurse. Once I turned on my side, the meds were added and I was out in seconds. I woke up in the recovery room in the same bed, actually refreshed and very comfortable. Results and pics reviewed with doctor (1 benign polyp removed), wheeled to my waiting ride, and absolutely no discomfort, nausea, dizziness, gas, bloating, or bleeding.

    If you’re nervous about a colonoscopy, don’t be. It’s really a breeze and you’ll be so glad to get it behind you. I waited to 58. Don’t wait.

  45. I am a 61 yr old female. My first procedure was 11 years ago, it went well and it was easy, it was drinking the prep that was no fun. Tomorrow (8/10/2020) I will be having both upper and lower GI checked out. AGAIN with the gallon of liquid prep – and my only comment (as I drink the stuff) is YUCK! There has GOT to be a better way. I would gladly go without food for several days and only have to take a few pills with plain water in larger amounts than to drink this stuff. However, over all it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever had to do and I will make it through it and I KNOW I will be glad I did it, just as I was glad the first time. I stopped the high fiber foods, nuts, raw veggies, etc 5 days ago. Yesterday and early today I had only soft non fiber foods such as pasta and white bread, mashed potatoes w/no skins (those are the best part, but I left them out) I also ate less, very small servings – I figured less in would mean less out! LOL ! Because I have to take pain medications on a daily basis, everything goes though me VERY slowly, so I have a bit of fear that I’m not going to “clean out” well enough for the lower GI. I started drinking the liquid around 1pm (was instructed to start at 4pm, but I read what others had said here and started early) I’ve had nothing but clear liquids since this morning. Instructions said I could eat the low fiber diet until noon, but again, my fear of not “cleaning out” made me stop eating at about 10am. It’s now 6:30 pm, I am more than half way through the prep liquid and still no “movement”… people please pray for me!!! LOL ! I laugh because by the time anyone reads this, it will be too late and either I am going to get “moving” or I am not. I wish all others the very best and thank you for letting me share my silly fears here and please know for those of you who have never had it done, the procedure is easy and fast, the worst is the prep and if I can do it, you can too!

  46. The prep experience reminded me of a very appropriate statement by Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List – “Never trust a fart! ”

    But seriously, it is great to be able to read so many experiences in one place – now I know what I’m going through is not of concern. Everyone seems to have been given slightly different prep procedures, including the actual prep solutions/pills.

    I did only clear liquids from the time I started the prep procedure (so it was for almost two whole days). My doctor had me drink Magnesium Citrate two evenings before the procedure, and then do the Suprep the next evening. My mother had her procedure rescheduled because she just couldn’t get down the gallon of the foul tasting stuff, so I was willing to pay extra to only have to drink 32oz of Suprep rather than 128oz of GoLightly.

    And to whoever mentioned not having the anesthesia, I am going to ask about that for next time. I have AFIB, so having the concerns regarding anesthesia removed will definitely help me feel more relaxed!

  47. The comment section was very helpful to me for my prep. I read almost every comment and started preparing about 4 days in advance. I am a 41 year old female and this was my first colonoscopy and endoscopy. Other than the disgusting taste of the Suprep (two doses, second was harder to take), the process was seamless. I felt some nausea taking the doses, the second was at 1:30am so that was more trying. The passing was easy–no cramping, no burning (even though I have hemorrhoids), and I had fair warning of the need to go. I started eating a low fiber diet 4-5 days prior to prep and made sure I had lots of yummy clear things to drink. For me apple juice and homemade chicken broth were my favorites. As long as I was drinking I didn’t feel much hunger. I am two days post procedure and I am still passing things easily and eating lightly, and I feel great. I am a sensitive person to meds, foods, medical procedures, and this was as easy as it could be thanks to the advice given here. I hope others find this comforting. All was clear in my scope, two benign polyps removed, and no Crohn’s or other obvious things point to my stomach issues. Pathology comes back on the samples today, so maybe there will be some light in this upset stomach issue. Thanks for the support!!!

  48. I wanted to post my experience because this page helped me tremendously before undergoing my first colonoscopy/endoscopy. I had this scheduled once before and cancelled due to anxiety. I still hadn’t been feeling well so I rescheduled the procedure. I had extreme anxiety going into the prep because of having heard horror stories. I had my procedure yesterday and started the prep the day before that. My prep consisted of 2 bicodyl(?) tabs in the morning, took an anti-nausea pill at 3pm, started the nuLytely prep solution at 4pm. I had it chilling all day. I mixed each glass with crystal light powder tubes. The taste was fine to me. Like lemonade flavored Gatorade. I had no problem downing the solution. I got a little full by the end but not bad. I also drank a lot of fluids the 2 days prior and at easily digestible foods for 3 days prior. Prep day I only had a piece of dry toast in the morning and then went liquid. Keep yourself hydrated. My diarrhea stopped the evening before at about 9pm and i slept all night until I had to wake up and drink the other half of my solution. I think the split prep is the way to go. Slammed that all down in 2 hours and was able to go to my appointment and check in no problems. I couldn’t drink anything else after midnight before the procedure so I was getting really thirsty and hungry, but made it through. I was a little nervous about the procedure, but I didn’t feel or remember anything. I was in and out of there in a couple hours. No problem. I was groggy all afternoon from the meds, but then last night ate a healthy meal and slept great. I hope this helps someone. I it’s not fun having to drink all this solution and have diarrhea, but it’ll be over before you know it. Definitely worth the inconvenience to take care of your self.

  49. One of the best things I did to make the prep taste better was to drink a Peppermint Tea, just a few sips before drinking the prep. There’s a great tea that is Spearmint and Peppermint, a Tazo Tea. It’s a great taste. Just a few sips and then you can’t taste the prep much. I did that for every 8 oz and then drank the prep with a straw.

  50. Tips for coloscopy prep I was not told:

    1)cool the prep liquid so it tastes better

    2) drink it thru a straw

    3) drink a chaser like apple juice after each sip of prep it really does taste vile

    4) have the best toilet paper at home, the softer the better and u will be using it quite a bit

    5) have A&D ointment or preparation H at home to sooth butt hole mine hurt from pooping

    6) Buy a small pack of Depends diapers in case u have too much diarrhea after the prep. I had stools everywhere and wasn’t warned. This made my colonoscopy a horrific experience which could have been avoided with better preparation.

    7) have best juices and clear ices or poops to reward yourself when fasting

  51. I want to thank everyone for the encouraging tips. I just had my 3rd colonoscopy, and it was the best experience of all of them. For the one 10 years ago I felt quite ill during the prep. But I followed the advice to eat a low fiber diet for a week, stay really hydrated, and eat lightly in the few days before the prep. While the SuPrep did not taste great, I got it down more successfully than other preps. I also think the actual colonoscopy is much faster than it used to be with better equipment and better drugs so the whole thing was fast and more comfortable. Don’t put it off! I’m good for ten years now!

  52. I am 30 this is my second colonoscopy and endoscopy. They made me this time have two days of no solid food just clear liquids. 8 dulcolax, 8.3 oz miralax and 2 6oz suprep. Was much worse than my first one exspecially with small children to attend too.

  53. Thank you to everyone that shared their experience. Male, 50 just got home from my first colonoscopy. Last night before bowel prep I read this page. Extremely helpful. I was given the Su-prep Bowel two dose laxative. Worked on me within a half hour of finishing the first glass. My advice – just get it over with. It wasn’t as bad as some of the horror stories I’ve heard. DO IT!

  54. I am 67 years old I have a family history of cancer, I am deathly afraid of needles, so after my first colonoscopy when I was 55 I ignored all my drs orders to get another. Due to my fear and the bad experience I had the first time. it has been 12 years and I did the colorguard test which came back with positive results, of course this has me scared to death now. I have scheduled my follow up colonoscopy but they cant get me in for a month do I need to worry? They classified it as a level 3 for scheduling, what does that mean?

  55. I need an endoscopy; but the Dr. wants a colonoscopy with it. I had a colonoscopy in 2016, they took out 2 polyps and said have the next one in 2026. I have awful gastric reflux and feel the endoscopy is well worth the test, but I don’t know I can handle the prep again for the colonoscopy. My brain didn’t track I had to go to the bathroom and 3 times the cleanup wasn’t pleasant. Nothing is scheduled yet; and I’m suffering with the reflux and pain. I only talked to the nurse and the PA, not the Dr. They didn’t agree with me. I feel I should have the choice/option.

  56. 1st time for colonoscopy (51 years old) tomorrow (6/29)

    Since my procedure was moved up earlier from 1:30pm to 7:30am (9:00am but asked to arrive 1.5 hrs sooner), I decided to do the prepping sooner than the initial 4:00pm (Ducolax/Miralax) a day (6/28) prior start as instructed in the paperwork.

    Instead I took 2 pills of Ducolax at 3:30 am (6/28) and went to bed. 6.5 hours later, I awoke and had to dump. Odd thing was I almost didn’t feel like I needed to go but once the 1st small (hard-still) poop went through, my bowels pushed out a couple more times of soft watery poops within a minute. Didn’t feel any more urges and so within 30 minutes, I decided to take another pill of Ducolax. Maybe it has to also do with me pooping about ‘once a day’ already anyhow. Eat corn, I see it around a day or two. LOL!

    At about 12:30pm, I started drinking 8oz solutions of Miralax with tap water that I had pre-mixed and kept at room temperature in a big pyrex container (64oz from 238grams of Miralax). Dranked 5 times at 10-15 minutes intervals. Had no issue drinking it. It was like drinking water that someone put some salt in it. Not much but enough to notice. I was afraid at first reading what people are saying how awful the taste would be but guessing Miralax is easier to consume?!? Right after the 5th consumption, I had to go. It was not all liquid. More like brown liquid vomit. LOL! Stomach is gurgling right now and so assuming I will need to go again soon. 🙂

    I plan to take the remaining 3 servings of 8oz Miralax solution late in the evening since my appointment is 9:00am but requested to be there by 7:30am.

    On the side, just been drinking Gatorade lemon-lime and water. May need to consume an energy drink since I have work to do as I plan to take the day off tomorrow for the procedure. Been looking around and seems it is okay to drink energy drinks as it is clear. Could not find any internet topic points about energy drink ingredients being a detriment to the prep procedure.

    So far, have not had any discomforts like feeling faint or stomach pain from the prep procedure.

    Forgot to mention that about 4-5 days prior, I had removed the “no-no” foods from my diet like nuts and raw veggies but I did accidentally eat one slice of tomato that had seeds in it about 3 days prior to the procedure. My wife hates tomatoes and she had it in her burger and asked i eat them. I ate one and was about to eat the second before it dawned they have seeds in it. Hope that one slice doesn’t negate my procedure. 🙁

    Anypoo! Back to work and the loo for me or as my wife likes to call it “John”. *sigh*

    Will try to follow-up after the procedure.

    On a side note, I had been avoiding the procedure but felt I really need to do it as I don’t exercise, eat alot of refined sugar (co-workers call me the “candy and muffin man” and process meats, average very lil sleep a day, eat all day and big horse portions due to anxiety, consume alot of energy drinks and have type 2 diabetes. GI-related cancer does not run in my family as far as I have been told but folks have been remarking that I have been losing weight and my belt holes have been moving back when it should be the opposite and so I am concerned and hoping not too late. 🙁

  57. I’m so glad I got my colonoscopy (after much fear and trepidation!). I didn’t eat the day before (OK- woke up and ate four cherries then forced myself to stop). A friend had made me some chicken broth for my “real food” for the day. I took 4 mirolax at noon then mixed the ducolox (sp?) with 32 oz of apple juice in once container and 32 oz of white grape juice watered down a little in the second jar. I missed the part of the directions saying to refrigerate and begin at 5…and started drinking right away. I had trouble getting the last 8 ounces down- but I just saved it and drank it a few hours later. I would recommend that at some point you lie down and massage your gut to get the fluid to disperse through all the bends and turns and really clean everything out. In the end, it didn’t matter that I drank the stuff early – they said it’s all good as long as you are pooping out liquid. My appt. was scheduled for 11am the next day- the only problem was that my veins were hard to find because I was a little dehydrated from not drinking after midnight. They ended up using the one in my arm and not my hand. The procedure was so quick- they put the stuff in my IV, I as asleep before they put in the second vial. Woke up in recovery with cranberry juice set on my tray. I’m 55- everything was clean as a whistle (I eat pretty healthy and drink a lot of kefir), and I am good for ten years. On the other hand- my boyfriend had put his off for ten years and they found out he had advanced colon cancer – so- please don’t put off your colonoscopy, especially if cancer runs in your family!

  58. I’m 46 and just got done with my first colonoscopy. I found the comments here very helpful, and wanted to share my experiences, reiterating what I found useful from other folks.

    One week before the procedure I cut out nuts and seeds. I accidentally ate a bun with a few sesame seeds a few days before the procedure, but it was no big deal. Two days before my procedure, I switched to a low-fiber diet (macaroni and cheese, white bread, etc. – no veggies or whole grains).

    The day before was clear liquids only. Mostly, I just drank a bunch of water. I took some pills (ducolax?) mid-day, and started the prep about 4 pm. I did start it an hour earlier than they told me, partly because I was nervour waiting, and partly because I had read it gives you more time afterwards to settle down for bed. I had a gallon to drink (3/4 that night, 1/4 in the morning), with lemon flavoring. Instead of water I mixed it with orange Gatorade and left in the fridge for a long time.

    It was nothing! I had expected it to taste awful, but it basically tasted like tangy Gatorade that was a bit saltier than usual. I was able to down it very quickly at first, and then spread things out once my stomach got full.

    I had prepped by smearing my nether regions liberally with Desitin to protect my sensitive bits from the moisture. At first I thought the prep wasn’t working … and then it worked. Any type of solid matter passed very quickly, and soon it was just yellowish water. Rather than getting on and off the toilet I had set things up so I could just stay there for a few hours. I was there maybe three hours? Read some, watched a movie, finished my prep, and occasionally had a squirt of water. Once it subsided I waited a bit longer to make certain, cleaned up and went to bed.

    Next morning, coffee, Desitin, prep, and about another hour on the toilet. Then a shower and I went to the clinic feeling pretty good.

    When asked about my reactions to medications I mentioned that I generally don’t like painkillers – opiates like codeine make me a bit nauseous. They gave me the option of a no-sedation procedure and after a conversation, I decided to give it a go. They had mentioned that pretty much all of their office workers did it without sedation, and that everyone who tried it tolerated it well. They started an IV just in case.

    It wasn’t bad at all. At its worse (when turning a particularly tight corner) it was like a severe gassy cramp .. that lasted about 10 seconds. The nurse pressed on my abdomen and got me to breathe and relax. We talked through the whole procedure, they were able to point out parts of my colon, etc. The sensation was strange, but on a 1-10 pain scale I’d rate it a 2 or so (except for the brief moment of 5). More uncomfortable than anything.

    The plus side is, once I was done, I was able to pull on my clothes and get out of there … 40 minutes early due to no sedation recovery, and able to get on with the rest of my day immediately. Some bloating from the air they pump in, but when i got home I spent 15 minutes on my side and passed a lot of gas. All clear with a healthy colon (no polyps), and ready to go for another 10 years.

    I really appreciate the piece of mind, and want to encourage folks that it will be fine. You all can do this! The no-sedation option is definitely something I’ll be doing in the future. I hadn’t even known about that before I went in.

  59. I just finished bowel prep and the worst part for me was the taste of the drink. I’m in Australia and I was given glycoprep-C. It was already lemon flavoured but I was told I could mix it with lemon cordial. It was FOUL. In the end I ended up pinching my nose taking big gulps and having a chaser of apple juice.

    I would recommend getting a plain flavour instead of lemon. If you’ve ever drank Ural for a UTI that’s kind of what it tastes like.

    As suggested above definitely get some Vaseline or other type of cream for your backdoor lol.

    I found it worked within 30 minutes but then again, I have IBSD so I live with diarrhoea every day so I’m used to it. I didn’t feel there was a sense of urgency, you do have time to walk to the barroom.

    Good luck!

  60. ok so im 17 and im going tomorrow to get a upper gi and colonoscopy but i may have ate food i wasn’t supposed to will that effect anything if i take extra laxative