1. I’ve taken the first half of my bowel prep, but have not had a bowel movement. What should I do?
- For many people, the first half of the bowel prep does not lead to bowel movements. Some people don’t even feel an urge to move their bowels. However, in almost every case, the prep will eventually work as planned. You should continue to take the second half of the bowel prep as per the instructions. If your stool is not starting to clear 3 hours after you take the morning dose of laxative, call our office/on-call physician (425-339-5421)
2. I’m taking my bowel prep now, but have nausea and vomiting. What should I do?
- The first thing to do is stop taking the bowel prep and take a break. That might mean 30 minutes or even an hour before you drink anymore. After nausea has decreased or stopped, you can restart the bowel prep but drink it at a slower rate. Sometimes, drinking too much too fast is too much for your system to handle. Another trick is to make sure the prep is chilled so it helps to refrigerate the liquid prep. Drinking some cold water along with the prep liquid may also help. If you already have an anti-nausea medication at home and have tolerated it in the past, you can try taking a dose. Examples might include ondansetron (Zofran), promethazine (Phenergan), prochlorperazine (Compazine) or metoclopramide (Reglan). If nausea and vomiting persist, please call the on-call physician to discuss.
3. I accidentally took aspirin and/or iron. Do I need to cancel?
- Aspirin intake: It is okay to take Aspirin as needed. It should not cause any problems with the procedure.
- Iron intake: If you did not stop taking iron for the week leading up to the procedure there is a small chance that the quality of the bowel preparation may not be good. It is difficult to know if the iron will impact the prep quality at this point or not. Since you have already started the bowel prep, it is best to continue. If you took one or two doses of iron by mistake, it is not an issue.
4. The pharmacy did not have my medications. How can I get them?
- If it is during normal business hours (8:00 am – 5:00 pm), please call our office at 425-339-5421 and a member of our clinical team can call in the prescription(s) to your local pharmacy. If you are calling outside of our normal business hours, please call our office at 425-339-5421 and select the option to have our on-call physician paged. S/he will call in the prescription(s) to your local pharmacy.
5. Can I take my anxiety/depression medications? I typically take these every morning and cannot miss a dose.
- Yes, you can take your anxiety/depression medications before coming in for your procedure.
6. I’m diabetic and my blood sugar is running low. What should I do?
- We realize the importance of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, especially in diabetic patients. It is important to remember that even though we ask you to avoid eating solid food during the bowel preparation process, clear liquids are still allowed. Consider drinking juice (apple juice, orange juice without pulp) or fruit flavored beverages (lemonade) as a way to maintain your blood sugar level.
7. I have a headache. Can I take Tylenol?
- Yes. Tylenol is allowed, but no more than 4000mg of Tylenol should be taken in 24 hours. If you have an allergy to Tylenol, then you should not take it. Additionally, if you have liver failure/cirrhosis, you should limit the amount of Tylenol that you take to 2000mg in 24 hours.
8. Can I mix the Miralax powder with something other than Gatorade?
- Yes. Consider mixing your Miralax powder with water, Pedialyte or CRYSTAL LIGHT flavoring instead. Please refrain from mixing your laxative with carbonated beverages (soda) or alcohol.
9. Can I drink all of my prep the night before instead of waking up the morning of to drink the 2nd half?
- No. Studies have shown that split dose preps (in which laxatives are taken the evening before and the morning of the procedure) produce better cleansing. While this can make for an early morning, the most important thing is that you get a good quality exam. A good quality exam will reduce the chance of having to repeat the prep/procedure, or having polyps missed during the exam. If there is stool residue stuck to the side of your colon, your doctor may not be able to find and remove all polyps and cancer can be missed.
10. What time do I really need to start my clear liquid diet?
- The clear liquid diet is aimed at decreasing stool production in the body. This allows us to use a small volume of bowel prep and accomplish a better cleansing of the colon. We ask that you start the clear liquid diet the day before your procedure starting in the morning (first meal) until 2 hours of your check-in time on the day of the procedure.
11. I’m already having clear liquid stool, do I still need to finish my entire prep?
- Yes. Your body produces 6 – 7 liters of fluid a day, even if you are not consuming solid food. This fluid is continuously coating the colon. Consuming the entire prep helps clean out this fluid and increases the quality of your colonoscopy.
12. Can I proceed with the procedure if I am on antibiotics?
- Yes, in the majority of cases this should not be an issue, although it is important to let your provider know for what condition you are taking the antibiotics.
13. I cannot find my prep instructions. What do I do?
- You have received a letter from The Everett Clinic with your prep instructions. These were sent on the day you scheduled your procedure. If you have access to MyChart, your prep instructions can be found there in the ‘Letters’ section. If you still cannot find your prep instructions after trying the options above, please call the on-call physician at 425-339-5421.
14. Can I do a pill prep?
- No. Our experience with tens of thousands of patients over the years has shown that the pill prep does not work as well as the standard liquid prep. Pill prep has not been studied/validated in clinical trials and there have been concerns over their safety. Often pill prep leads to suboptimal exams, or incomplete exams, requiring a repeat colonoscopy. We value your time and that of your family/friends who will bring you to your appointment. Our goal is to make sure your colonoscopy exam is of the highest quality, and also to avoid unnecessary repeat procedures.
15. Can I start the bowel prep earlier than 5:00 pm? Can I start it later than 7:00 pm?
- Ideally, you should start the bowel prep at the time instructed. However, variation by 1-2 hours on either side is fine as long as you follow the clear liquid diet for the day.