Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Supercalifragalistic Bowel Prep!

We'll be bringing you today's post after this brief Public Service Announcement.

Colon screening saves lives and saves money. That's right--precancerous cells can be detected and removed during colon screening tests, thus preventing them from turning into Cancer! If you are aged 50 or above, or your doctor recommends you have colon screening due to various high risk conditions, DO IT! It's really, really not that long as you know the inside scoop.

So here's the inside scoop (or should I say poop?)!

After doing pre-procedure bowel preparation regimes a few times, a lady learns a few tricks. In this case, these tricks make the difference between Hell on Wheels and a mild inconvenience. (Of course this is all pretty subjective, but here it is FWIW. And make sure you run all this by your doctor and follow his/her recommendations.)

Shopping list:

Ginger herb tea

Peppermint herb tea

Clear liquids (low-sodium broths, juices, sodas)

Baby wipes with aloe (1 box of 72 oughta do it)

2 pairs comfy, warm ankle socks that don’t fall off when you turn over in bed

Stretchy pants

Super-comfortable bra, if you wear one (sports bra perhaps)

Comfy shirt and zip-style sweatshirt (hoodie)

Reading material for the waiting room

Pitcher for ice water

Soft, low-fiber foods/snacks

Peanut butter


Anti-nausea medication (without red coloring)

5 days before: Stop eating all red or purple foods/drinks, nuts, and seeds.

2 days before: Eat soft, low-fiber foods. Have a late night high-protein snack. Drink plenty of fluids, get a little exercise, stretch, and take a hot bath.

Pack your procedure bag. Bring your reading material, a pillow/blanket for the car, a plastic bag and towel (just in case you vomit), the address of your destination, a spoon and peanut butter for a quick protein jolt afterwards.

Set out your outfit for procedure day as well. I find the procedure rooms to be ice cold, but you can wear your socks and top under your gown. That's why I wear something long-sleeved. I wear stretchy pants because it's much more comfortable if you need to slouch in the car on the way home.

1 day before: Take anti-nausea pills as directed (make sure there’s no red dye in them). Fill a pitcher with ice water. Put your Baby Wipes in the bathroom. Get a piece of paper and pen. Make a chart, each row being the hours between 8 am and bedtime and label columns: Pico-Salax, liquids, anti-nausea medication. Record your activities to make sure you are following the regime recommended by your doctor.

Get blankets ready as you might feel really chilly once you take the solution. From now on when you go to the bathroom, use the Baby Wipes, even if you don’t think it’s necessary. Believe me, you’ll thank me later.

Light some candles in the bathroom to pretend you’re giving yourself a nice spa treatment. It also helps with the odor. ;)

Keep your pitcher with ice water nearby so you don’t have to keep running to the fridge.

Take Pico-Salax—the directions on my package said to drink 1 sachet dissolved in 5 oz. of water, at 8 am, and repeat at 2 pm. This is actually a pleasant tasting drink reminiscent of orange Tang. It is made with citric acid and sugar but doesn’t have an orange color. (My physician commented that the bowel was well prepped.)

Serve it over ice in a Martini glass with a tiny paper umbrella. Wear your sunglasses and pretend you’re on the deck of a cruise ship enjoying a Pina Colada. ;)

Drink clear liquids as directed. Don’t go overboard with juices and sodas; the sugar overload can add to nausea. Stick to water, a little clear broth, and herb teas. Even if you’re not into herb tea, I highly recommend peppermint tea and ginger tea—great for nausea and not terribly bad tasting. I tend to steep it much longer than the directions say so it’s not too bland.

Broths—make sure there’s no red or purple stuff in them. You can strain them over 5 coffee filters if you’re not sure they’re clear enough.

Take naps often. ;)

Procedure day: Drink as many liquids as permitted. If you tend to be nauseated after anesthesia, ask for anti-nausea medication in your IV.

Afterwards I recommend not sitting up until you’ve farted a generous amount (about half a dozen times or so). I did that once and apparently I trapped the gas in my abdomen. I was in excruciating pain in the middle of the night. To do the procedure, air is actually pumped into your colon to inflate it. You have to get it out afterwards or you’ll be in terrible pain.

Relax as much as you can. The worst part is the prep. The procedure is easy peasy.

Good luck!


  1. After reading this blog post, I thought it was hilarious and a bit humorous. My take is that,too many restrictions can overwhelm the little guy.


  2. Hot Mess Sundae here with an update. I've done this prep twice. The first time the doc said my bowel was well prepped. The second time it wasn't. I've read some medical literature and they suggest a bisacodyl laxative the 2 days prior to the prep day. I'm going to try that.

    Also, the literature and prep instructions don't seem to suggest stopping nuts and seeds 5 days before, some even say that's unnecessary. They also allow red foods/drinks as long as they do not have food coloring in them.

    Next time I might try a bit of a softer diet on the day before prep.

    Other than that, my nausea was much better than the *Lytely family prep solutions cause me, and the prep process wasn't as awful.

    Pico Salax tastes just like melted lemon ice to me.