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Everyone knows that colonoscopy is not an enjoyable experience. However, it is a very important procedure that can even save a person’s life. People who have underwent colonoscopy know that the procedure itself is not the worst part, because they are given anesthetics, sedated or given the so-called twilight sleep, so they cannot feel anything in that particular part of the body or even remember the procedure clearly.

However, the preparation that is required for colonoscopy can indeed be quite challenging. The whole point of colonoscopy is to take a good look inside the colon and check for any abnormalities. In order for that to happen, one must clear his or her colon of all the fecal matter, which is why the preparation is done.

Preparation for colonoscopy

There are three main methods of preparation for colonoscopy - Golytely, phospho-soda and tablets of sodium phosphate.

Golytely is a preparation that requires a doctor’s prescription. It consists of a gallon jug, with a special powder mix inside it. The patient fills it with water so the powder dissolves. The instructions are to drink one glass of the mixture from the jug every ten minutes until the jug is empty. After the first few glasses the bowel movement will start, usually in form of diarrhea, and by the time the jug is empty the eliminations from the bowel will be clear, meaning there is no more fecal matter in the colon. However, in some cases the jug is not enough to clear the bowel eliminations and that means an enema is required. Since drinking so much liquid causes nausea in most people, doctors today prescribe anti-nausea medications to go with the mixture.

Phospho-soda is available over-the-counter and sometimes it comes as a part of a kit that also contains some laxatives, an enema or anal suppositories. Phospho-soda is a powder that should be mixed with water, although some physicians allow mixing it with ginger ale too. Bowel movements usually start within 30 to 60 minutes after the mixture is taken.

Sodium phosphate tablets are prescription-only and they come in two brands - Visicol with 40 tablets and Osmo-Prep, with 32 tablets. Both these brands are a two-day regimen, meaning some tablets are taken the day before and some the day of the procedure for colonoscopy. Doctors usually recommend a liquid diet while taking these colposcopy preps, which may all lead to certain side effects, such as pain in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating and fatigue.

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