Problems with colonoscopy prep drink?
I've had gastric bypass and don't think my stomach can hold 64 ounces of liquid medicine to prepare for a colonoscopy. Is there another option? — Angie's List member Lori W.
The success of a colonoscopy depends on adequate bowel preparation, says Dr. David A. Greenwald, a committee member of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. "The goal of colonoscopy is to see any and all abnormalities, and that requires a completely clean colon," he explains.
Doctors usually recommend a liquid diet for about 24 hours before the procedure, and you'll receive directions on flushing the waste from your colon by taking a liquid solution or oral laxative.
"If you're concerned about being able to complete the full preparation, including the volume of fluid required, talk with your doctor about alternatives," Greenwald recommends.
Doctors can prescribe different preparations such as polyethylene glycol (PEG-3350), available in a 4-liter or 2-liter regimen. An alternative is prescription sodium phosphate that comes in a 32- or 40-tablet regimen and is taken in a series of doses with 8 ounces of water each time.
Dr. RoseMarie Jones, a highly rated surgeon at Community Bariatric Surgeons in Indianapolis, says drinking 64 ounces or these other options is, indeed, doable. "Many bariatric patients are able to sip 4 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes with a few breaks," she says. "Even without gastric surgery, many patients take two to four hours. And if it takes longer, it's still fairly effective."
Experts agree, no matter which preparation aid you take, follow your doctor's instructions or the results may be unsatisfactory, and you'll need to repeat the procedure.