Preparing for Your Virtual Colonoscopy (VC PEG Prep)
Proper bowel cleaning is needed for the best exam!
To get a clean and empty colon you will start to prepare the day before your exam. Both a clear liquid diet and the contents of the bowel prep kit are needed to clean out the colon. The bowel prep kit contains a laxative and contrast medicines. The laxative will help clean out the bowel for the exam. The contrast agents will help to highlight any stool left in your colon on the VC pictures.
The Day Before Your Exam (Prep Day)
Starting at midnight the day of your prep, you may drink as many clear liquids as you want unless you are under a fluid restriction by your doctor. If you are under a fluid restriction, please keep this in mind as you plan for the day. The GoLYTELY® described below does not count toward this restriction. Drink only clear liquids for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Do not eat any solid foods. Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration. Avoid red liquids (i.e., red Jell-O®, cranberry juice). Clear liquids may include:
- Gatorade®, Powerade® (we suggest sports drinks with electrolytes to help with hydration)
- Water, tea, or coffee (no cream or milk; sugar is okay)
- Jell-O®, Popsicles® (no fruit or cream added)
- Bouillon or broth
- Apple, white cranberry, or white grape juice (no orange, tomato, grapefruit, or prune juice)
- Soda such as Sprite®, 7-Up®, ginger ale, or any cola
- Clear hard candy, gum
- Lemonade (with no pulp), iced tea
How to Prepare GoLYTELY® Solution
- Please read the directions on the GoLYTELY® bottle. Add water to the "fill" mark on the bottle. Shake it until all the powder is dissolved. Do not add ice. Do not add any other liquids or flavors except, if desired, two packets of Crystal Light® Lemonade powder with Nutrasweet®. You may flavor by the glass to make it easier to drink.
- You may find it tastes better if it is chilled. Refrigerate, but do not add ice. Because you are drinking a large amount of liquid quickly, you may become chilled. This is normal. It can be helped by wearing warm clothing or drinking it at room temperature.
Bowel Prep Instructions: If you take other medicines, don't take them while drinking GoLYTELY®. Take them 1 hour before starting GoLYTELY® or at least 1 hour after you finish the GoLYTELY® bottle. If you are under a fluid restriction from your doctor, please note that the GoLYTELY® does not count towards this restriction. GoLYTELY® does not get absorbed from your colon, it just flushes through.
- (Step 1) At 8 AM or before: Take the four Bisacodyl® tablets (5 mg each) with 1 glass (8 ounces) of clear liquid. This will gently help move your bowels to help the laxative taken in Step 2 work better. You can take these tablets and still do normal activities because they will rarely cause diarrhea.
- (Step 2) – Start anytime between 12 Noon and 2 PM: Be sure to prepare the entire bottle of GoLytely® as instructed above. Please note that it may take some people longer to drink GoLYTELY®, so adjust the start time based on how well you think you will be able to tolerate the prep. Keep in mind that you should try to be cleaned out of stool by about 6 pm.
Start to drink at least one 8-ounce glass every 10 minutes. If you feel sick to your stomach, stop drinking until the nausea passes. Begin to drink again, but at a slower rate (one 8-ounce glass every 15-20 minutes).
About one hour after you start to drink the GoLYTELY® you will likely begin to have diarrhea. You will want to stay close to a bathroom. You may have some cramping in your lower abdomen. This is normal. If you start to have severe, steady stomach pain, get lightheaded or dizzy, or you don’t expel any of the GoLYTELY®, call your primary care doctor.
When you have completed half of the bottle of GoLYTELY®, you may stop if your bowel movements are watery and free of solids (flecks are OK). The color may appear clear to yellow, green, or tan, but must be see-through. If your bowel movements are not as described, continue to drink the GoLYTELY® until you feel your bowels are cleaned out well. Most people will only need to drink half the bottle of GoLYTELY®, but some may need to drink the entire bottle to clean out the colon and get the best exam.
If you are done drinking the GoLYTELY®by 6 PM, then
- (Step 3) At 7 PM: Drink 250 mL of Barium Sulfate. You may keep drinking clear liquids as desired.
- (Step 4) At 9 PM: (Choose one option)
- Option A: Drink 1 bottle (60 mL) of diatrizoate undiluted. You may find it tastes better if you quickly drink it and then follow it with 1 glass (8 ounces) of clear juice, soda, or water. This will dilute the medicine in your stomach.
- Option B: Mix 1 bottle (60 mL) of diatrizoate in 1 glass (8 ounces) of clear juice, soda, or water. If you dilute the medicine, you must be able to drink the entire amount.
If you are not able to complete the above time schedule
If at 6 pm you still have more GoLYTELY® to drink and are not cleaned out of stool yet, keep drinking it. One hour after you’re finished, drink the Barium (Step 3). Two hours after that, drink the diatrizoate (Step 4).
Bowel Prep Complete!!!
You may keep drinking clear liquids until midnight.
The Day of Your Exam
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on your exam day until you are advised to after your exam. You may take your daily medicines as prescribed with small sips of water.
If you have diabetes, test your blood glucose level more often when you can't eat as well as before your exam. You should adjust your insulin or oral diabetes pills as discussed with your doctor. Resume your normal schedule after you receive the exam result phone call and are eating again. If your blood glucose level is low (less than 70 mg/dl) or you have symptoms, please drink a clear liquid that contains sugar or take glucose tablets. Always recheck your blood sugar level to make sure it stays above 70. We can still do the exam unless you need to eat solid food to maintain your blood glucose. It is better to maintain your blood glucose than to have the exam. We can always schedule your VC in the future.
After the Exam
You will be told when to resume your normal diet and any medicines you may have stopped when a member of the VC team calls you with the exam results, in about two hours. If you are taking Coumadin® (warfarin) or Plavix® (clopidogrel), you may resume your normal diet right after the exam.
VC Program Assistant: 608-263-8587
VC Nurse: 608-263-9630
If you have an urgent concern after normal business hours please contact your primary care doctor's on call service.
If you are in need of immediate medical help, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
If you need to reschedule for any reason please call 263-XRAY (9729).
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6417.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/12/2010
Copyright © 10/01/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6293
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