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March 28, 2010 4:25 AM   Subscribe

Colonoscopy Prep- making it less unpleasant - detailed description inside

I've had a colonoscopy before, and read this. The worst part was downing the gallon of GoLytely (the most ironically named product on the market). After the third quart, I was close to vomiting every time I tried to power more down. Since the prep sheet I got for this one was more liberal in what it prescribed (it specified the ingredient, magnesium citrate 10oz, not the carrier). I would like a few options that are less yakk-worthy.

I saw the Gatorade recommendation in the other thread, but would like a couple options in case I can't find that.
posted by plinth to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
these days bowel prep in my local hospital can be the Mag Cit suppository given mixed with water orally, just about a pint. So just to be clear, the suppository form is not given rectally, it is instead mixed with water and drunk down pretty much in one go.
While extra hydration is a good thing, it has been found to make no diff to the colonoscopist field over and above this form of bowel prep.
Good luck for an easy time!
posted by Wilder at 4:46 AM on March 28, 2010

Irony abounds... I'm about to begin the prep for a bout with the scope in the morning....

My prep suggested Gatorade.. far in advance to they suggest you take it?
posted by HuronBob at 5:13 AM on March 28, 2010

I don't know about your specific drug GoLytely... but I am/was the queen of colonoscopies... and I used to add cordial. If you're American.. you probably don't call it cordial. In Australia we get a sugary syrup and add water and drink it. That's cordial. Lime, as in lemon, lime and soda is a cordial.

Anyway... you have to slow right down for the last few jugs. Or you will vomit. And be warned that you might just turn off the flavour of whatever it is you choose to change the flavour. You may never be able to tolerate it again!

I recommend that you get a few different flavours and mix it up a bit. And truly, ruly.... really slow down on the last few pints. You'll be so much less tolerant the more you get in your system. Also... use a straw and constantly sip. The straw means you don't get too much of the flavour in your mouth.

Have the water you mix it with cool, not cold. If you have to drink that much of COLD fluid when you are fasting, you'll feel cold and more likely to vomit also.

You can also ask the doctor for something for the nausea/vomiting if you really can't hold it down. All the very best of luck to you and your bot bot, possum.
posted by taff at 5:18 AM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I recommend the tablet prep. I was given a choice, and when I picked the tablet one the doctor admitted that most people who were given a choice did. The doc gave me instructions he said to follow instead of the ones I'd get from the pharmacist, the biggest benefit of those being that I didn't actually have to take the last couple pills. I took them every fifteen minutes for about an hour in the evening, then got up early and took the last three at fifteen minute intervals with the last one about an hour before I had to leave for the hospital. Also the doc's instructions gave me the choice of water and ginger ale up until the last couple pills, so I mixed it up just to keep from getting bored.

It helps to be around people who have taken "everybody poops" to heart, because once you start with the prep you're in the bathroom more than you're out of it. The onset is pretty sudden with the pills, but after the first couple, uh, movements you're just passing liquid and time. I eventually gave up on leaving the bathroom and just sat on the edge of the tub with something easy to read.

As for the procedure itself, I was getting an upper endoscopy at the same time so I was completely sedated, and I have no memory of any of it. I can second what everybody else has said about early appointments, farting in the recovery room, and needing somebody else to drive you home, though. Seeing mention of the cookie I'm pretty sure they had something like that in the recovery room, and while I didn't feel so much like eating right then I had a full appetite by dinner time.
posted by fedward at 6:48 AM on March 28, 2010

I drank the magnesium citrate in small sips over a half-hour period. You didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you what made my life bearable during this recent period of endless colonoscopies: chicken broth from scratch, and high-quality oolong tea.
posted by acrasis at 7:12 AM on March 28, 2010

just like the tablet prep outlined by fedward but do run it by your doc! The Mag Cit prep used is a kind of injectable suppository so it is a gooey clear liquid which instead of shooting it up the bum you mix it with a pint or two of your fav drink at 30 minute interval starting 20-18 hrs before the scope.

The problem is of course that you do lose lots and lots of fluids suddenly so that is why you must follow your physician's advice on what the best way to take it for you is.

For example if you have any kind of heart or BP issues you could cause yourself serious problems through the temporary and very sudden dehydration.
If your physician suggest the old fashioned method of loads of fluids it may be that you are not suitable for the tablet prep or the way I suggest which is why you could double-check (is the bowel nurse availible on the end of the phone?
posted by Wilder at 8:22 AM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You say that the sheet doesn't specify the carrier, but the only Mag Citrate I'm familiar with is the glass bottle - the one where it's premixed with lemon/lime flavor and carbonated. I remember it being like nasty Sprite but not being that bad. Plus, it's only 10 oz.
posted by cabingirl at 8:35 AM on March 28, 2010

I've done the pills, GoLytely, and used Miralax. I can't say which one was the best. When I used the GoLytely I was fortunate? enough to have a nasogastric tube in so they just pushed the stuff down the tube and I didn't taste it. The pills are okay for a while, but at the end they get annoying - I spat up my last few pills and had to take them again. The Miralax was also annoying. I mixed it with sprite, and by the end of it I was really sick of sprite, especially because it tasted too sweet to me. I don't think there's an easy way to prep, but the Miralax may be the best.
posted by majikstreet at 9:40 AM on March 28, 2010

The last time I had to go through this (right after hospitalization for diverticulitis) , the gastroentrologist (?) said that they were discontinuing use of the Phospho-Soda (small bottle of liquid mixed wit 10 oz. beverage) because of the problems people had with kidney failure (!).
That's is why they changed the prep to Miralax.
posted by Drasher at 10:00 AM on March 28, 2010

Best answer: I use what I call a two-fisted approach to drinking golytely. (Coming up on my 10th scope in a couple of months, oh, joy)

By that I mean, for each glass of golytely I also have a second glass of cool (not cold) water in my other hand. I take a couple of deep breaths, then inhale and hold my breath as I drink the golytely and then immediately rinse my mouth and spit out the first mouthful of water, then drink another mouthful or two of water, and then finally exhale and breathe. As you may know, much of our sense of taste involves smell, and holding my breath eliminates most of the smell of the crud. Rinsing my mouth helps remove the oily feel of the crud.

I am entirely unable to gag down phospho-soda, and refuse to even try that any more. My GI doesn't like the residue she says is left behind by the pills.

As for the other end, I recommend a liberal coating with Vaseline or other non-water-soluble substance of the anus, before you get to the throne-sitting portion of the adventure. This will help to alleviate what those of us with chronic IBD call taco-butt.
posted by qurlyjoe at 11:54 AM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

I cam in to recommend the vaseline on the anus. By the time you may realize the need for it, it's far too late. The latter part of my prep was miserable.

Jello, good chicken broth, gingerale, and something delicious in the fridge for the evening after.
posted by Mom at 12:35 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Golyte stuff -- don't mix in any flavor. By itself it is tolerably tasteless. Don't refrigerate, its easier to drink at room temp.
posted by yesster at 2:46 PM on March 28, 2010

OK... I spent the night doing this..

The procedure is 10 am this morning. I had breakfast yesterday, went to clear liquids starting at 10 am. At 1 pm I took two ducolax pills. At 5 pm I started taking Miralax mixed in 64 oz of gatorade. 8 oz at a time, every 15 minutes (it actually was spaced more like every 25 minutes, couldn't drink it any faster than that. Drank 6 glasses. No taste other than the Gatorade. Two more ducolax pills at 8 pm.

Trips to the bathroom started shortly after I started drinking the Miralax and were about every hour from that point until 3 am this morning. No cramps, no discomfort. Five minutes in the bathroom and then OK for an hour or so.

The worst part is the overdose of liquids, pretty soon you just say "enough"... and a bit of a bloated feeling....

Don't worry about getting hungry, it won't happen.. I had a couple of cups of broth and an italian ice that was in the freezer.

5 am I got up and finished the last 16 oz of the mix...OK, almost finished it...

I'm now having the last of my allowed clear liquids (cup of coffee), off to the hospital to be violated in an hour or so..

All in all, it wasn't that bad, it will be a while before I have Gatorade (which, since I never drink the stuff anyway isn't a huge problem)...
posted by HuronBob at 4:06 AM on March 29, 2010

Last post... procedure was a piece of cake (with medication to make me sleep)... Last thing I remember was saying, "wow, that works pretty fast", next thing was hearing the Dr. say "No, No, No, as I tried to reach his hand which was cleaning lubricant off my butt" (seems I thought the dog was licking me.... don't ask, drug induced dream!)...

No pain, no discomfort, but some mega farts to clear the air they inject to inflate the bowel.... Impressive to say the least...
posted by HuronBob at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2010

Response by poster: OK - I'm in the middle of the procedure - here's what I did to make it tolerable:

Started clear liquids in the morning - drank chicken broth for breakfast.

Another pint of broth around 10am to take the edge off.

Went home from work at noon, drank a bottle of Gatorade and another pint of broth.

At 2:00, as prescribed, I tool biscodyl laxative and washed it down with Ginger Ale, then across the afternoon, has several cups of hot green tea.

For dinner, I drank the Magnesium Citrate (came in a carbonate "lemon" flavor). I mixed into it a tsp of pulp-free lime juice to completely hide the flavor - it was entirely tolerable and dare I say, nearly palatable. I kept Gatorade nearby to double fist drink, but I didn't need it.

While the mag-cit did its work and while I was wishing that the toilet had a safety belt, I drank some more Gatorade to up my calories.

While nothing can really make up for pissing out your ass for 3 hours, this prep was way better than GoLytely - and to yesster who suggested that GoLytely has no flavor, I'm jealous because when I had it, unflavored, I really was very close to breaking my 6 year streak with no puking.

As an FYI for others who come by this later, my prep sheet specifically states no solids, no pulpy juices, no dairy and no red or purple colored food/drink (ie, Jell-O, Kool-Aid, etc).
posted by plinth at 5:37 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

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