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What is Colonoscopy Assist Prep Support?

  •  Colonoscopy Assist Prep Support provides advanced medical support to patients prescribed a bowel prep for their colonoscopy.
  • Patients are able to download the prep instructions provided by their physician and fill their prescriptions.
  • Patients have 24/7 access to advanced support by pharmacists and GI nurses via a telephone hotline.


Colonoscopy Prep Frequently Asked Questions

Do not take information here as medical advice without consulting a physician.

What is a clear liquid diet?
When someone is instructed to follow a clear liquid diet, they should only drink liquids that they can see through. A good rule of thumb is that a liquid is “clear” if you can see words on a printed piece of paper through it. Some examples of clear liquids include water, plain broth and gelatin. Black coffee is also considered a clear liquid, but coffee with cream or milk is not. Liquids such as milk and orange juice are not clear liquids. Additionally, please remember that you should not drink anything red or purple, as this can be confused with blood. 

Although alcohol is a clear liquid, it can make you dehydrated. You should NOT drink alcohol while preparing for your test.


What is the best “clear” liquid to take?
Gatorade, which comes in many flavors, is an excellent choice as it contains electrolytes such as potassium. Do not drink RED/PURPLE flavors of Gatorade or any other liquid.


Can I continue to drink liquids after I have started taking the preparation?
Yes, it is OK to drink liquids during the preparation, as long as they are clear.. If your procedure is in the morning, do not drink anything after midnight. If your procedure is in the afternoon, do not drink anything starting 8 hours prior to the procedure (and only clear liquids before). Do not eat anything solid the day before the procedure or the day of the procedure. You will be instructed at the time of your procedure when you may resume eating and drinking normal food.

I was told to take Magnesium Citrate, but I was not given a prescription for it, what should I do?
Magnesium citrate is available over the counter and is available in pharmacies and many grocery stores. It comes in multiple flavors, but you should not get the cherry flavor, because it is colored red and can be confused with blood.


Do I need to take all of the preparation?
While some people’s colons will be cleansed out before they finish all of the preparation, this is highly variable and the odds of having a clean colon are best if you take all of the preparation. Failure to do so could result in a colon that is not clean enough, which increases the chance that something could be missed. In addition, if the colon is not clean enough, you may have to reschedule your colonoscopy and repeat the preparation.


Is there anything I can do to make the preparation easier to take?Some people find that it is easier to take the preparation if it is cool. You can place the preparation in the refrigerator, or set it on top of ice to cool it. You should not put ice directly into the preparation as it will melt, dilute and increase the total amount of fluid that you have to drink.

Some of the preparations come with flavor packets which can be added to improve the taste. Alternatively, you can also flavor the preparation with Crystal Lite (as long as it is not red or purple in color). It is important that you do not add anything to the preparation that contains sugar, as it will interfere with the proper function of the preparation.


Will the preparation irritate my hemorrhoids or skin?
Usually not, though in some cases the diarrhea that is caused by the preparation can irritate hemorrhoids. Using moist wipes (baby wipes) instead of toilet paper may help prevent irritation of hemorrhoids or your skin. If your skin is becoming irritated, you can use a moisture barrier such as petroleum jelly or over the counter Desitin or Preparation H to help protect it.


When will I start moving my bowels?
Everyone is different. Some people will start moving their bowels within half an hour of taking the preparation, whereas other may have come close to finishing all of the preparation before their bowels start to move.


What are the side effects of the bowel preparation?
You will have lots of diarrhea from the bowel prep. Plan to be home and near a bathroom. Most people have some bloating and abdominal discomfort. This is normal. Do not be alarmed if you feel these symptoms.


I am taking the prep and already have loose, watery stool; do I still need the rest of the prep?
Yes, you may have solid stool higher in the colon that needs to be eliminated.


I have taken all of the preparation, but I have not started moving my bowels yet, what should I do?
If you have taken all of your preparation, but have not started moving your bowels there are a few things you can do to encourage the preparation to start working. The first is to get up and walk around if possible. Being more active stimulates the colon and will aid the preparation. If that does not work, taking a bottle of magnesium citrate (available over the counter) will often do the trick. You should not take magnesium citrate if you have significant kidney disease, a history of congestive heart failure, or if you have been told by a doctor not to take products that contain magnesium.


When will I stop moving my bowels?
Most people stop moving their bowels within a couple of hours of finishing the preparation. However, people’s responses vary and some will continue to pass liquid bowel movements right up until the time of the procedure. As long as what is coming out is pure liquid it usually is not a problem, since the instruments the doctors use have the ability to suction up left over fluid.


I ate solid food the day prior to my colonoscopy, can I still have the procedure?
The answer to this question will depend on the results of your preparation. In most cases, eating solid food the day prior to the exam will result in there being left over solid material in the colon and you may have to have your exam rescheduled. If, however, you are passing just clear liquid prior to your procedure, then you will likely be able to have it. In any case, if you do have any solid food the day prior to your procedure, contact the physician’s office immediately to determine whether rescheduling will be necessary.



Can I still have my procedure if I continue to pass solid stool despite taking all of my preparation?
Solid stool is a sign of insufficient preparation. If you are still passing solid stool up until the time of your procedure, it will likely have to be rescheduled. You may be prescribed an alternative preparation in this case.


I am nauseated and having difficulty taking the preparation, what should I do?
Often cooling the preparation liquid or adding a sugar free flavor powder will help with nausea. Additionally, drinking the preparation through a straw will decrease he degree to which you taste it and may help. If you are having nausea you should also try drinking the preparation a little more slowly. For more details, see question 5, above.

If the nausea still persists, contact the physician’s office immediately.


I started vomiting after taking the preparation, can I still have my procedure?
It depends on two factors. The first is how much of the preparation you were able to take and the second is how the preparation works for you. If you were able to keep down at least 75% of the preparation and you are passing clear liquid bowel movements, then the preparation is likely adequate. Additionally, if you are passing tinted liquid (yellow or brown), it still may be OK. If you are passing solid stool or if you were able to keep down less than 50-75% of the preparation your procedure will likely need to be rescheduled.


I am diabetic and take insulin, do I need to adjust my dose?
You will likely need to adjust your dose. You should check with the doctor who prescribes your insulin, as there are many types, and they are all managed differently.

 Most of the time, if you have an appointment before noon, you should not take your diabetes medicine on the morning of your test. If you have an afternoon appointment, take half of your diabetes medicine on the morning of your test. You will resume these medicines after the test. You should bring your glucose meter with you to your test and continue to measure your blood sugar levels as normal or if needed during the prep process.


I was instructed to stop some of my medications (for example iron pills, Warfarin, Coumadin, or Aspirin) 7 days prior to my procedure, but I forgot to do so, can I still have my procedure?
It depends. In the case of a medication such as iron, it may interfere with visualization of the colon. If you are taking warfarin (Coumadin), whether the procedure can be performed will depend on what is being done. Removal of a large polyp while on a blood thinner, for example, could result in significant bleeding. The decision to do the procedure if you are still on warfarin will be up to the doctor performing the procedure.


How long will the test take?
The test itself takes about 20-45 minutes. However, you should expect to spend more time at the facility since you will need to prepare for and recover from your test. Expect to spend about 2-3 hours at the facility, although this may vary.


I do not have a ride home, can I still have my procedure?
You must have an adult accompany you home following the procedure. It is not required that they drive you home (for example, it is OK to take a cab or the bus), but he/she must be with you until you arrive home safely. If you do not have someone to accompany you home, you will not be able to have your procedure.


I have a cold, is it OK for me to have my procedure?
In most cases, yes. If you have significant underlying lung disease, or if you think you have something more serious than just a normal “head cold,” you should speak with a physician.


I currently have my period, is that a problem?
No, it is safe to have a colonoscopy while you are having your period and it will not interfere with the exam.


May I continue taking my iron tablets?
No. Iron can cause the formation of dark-colored stools which can make it difficult for the physician to complete your colonoscopy if your preparation is less than optimal. We recommend you stop taking your oral iron supplements at least one week prior to your procedure.


I have been on Aspirin therapy for my heart. Should I continue to take it?
Aspirin has the same effect as many of the other blood-thinning medications. Routine aspirin use prevents blood platelets from sticking together. As such, it is requested that you stop your aspirin use for 3–5 days prior to your procedure.


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