UWMF Getting Ready for Your Virtual Colonoscopy (Routine 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. To clean out your colon you will be on a clear liquid diet and do a bowel prep. The bowel prep kit contains laxatives and contrast material. The laxatives will help clean out the bowel for the exam. The contrast 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 (see below) as you want unless you have a fluid limit from your doctor. If you have a fluid limit, please speak with your doctor to make sure this prep is right for you. Drink only clear liquids for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Do not eat any solid foods. Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration and to make the laxative work better. Please avoid red liquids (i.e., red Jell-O® or cranberry juice). Clear liquids may include:
- Gatorade®, Powerade® (sports drinks with electrolytes are recommended to help with hydration)
- Water, tea, or coffee (no cream or milk; sugar or honey is okay to add)
- Vitaminwater®, Crystal Light®
- Jell-O®, Popsicles® (no fruit or cream added)
- Apple, white grape, or white cranberry 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
Follow the Bowel Prep medicine schedule. If you take other medicines, take them two hours before or two hours after taking the magnesium citrate. You may drink this and the other contents of the kit at room temperature. You may wish to place the kit in the refrigerator. Some people find drinking the contents chilled is more pleasant. You may have as many clear liquids as you like between each step and up until midnight.
- Step 1 - before 11AM: Take the two Bisacodyl® tablets (5 mg each) with 1 glass (8 ounces) of clear liquids. This will gently help move your bowels (6-8 hours after you take this medicine) to help the laxative taken in Step 2 work better. You can take these tablets and do not need to limit your activity because they will rarely cause diarrhea.
- Step 2 - between 2 and 6 PM: Drink one bottle (296 mL) of magnesium citrate. Follow this with at least 4 to 6 cups of clear liquids before Step 3. This is a laxative, so you should begin to have closely spaced bowel movements. You will want to be near a restroom. The time it takes for the laxative to start working varies for each person. Wait at least 3 hours from the time you take the first bottle of magnesium citrate before going on to Step 3.
- Step 3 - between 5 and 9 PM: Step 3 should begin 3 hours after the start of Step 2.
o Drink 250 mL of liquid barium sulfate found in the prep kit. This is a contrast medicine.
o Drink the second bottle (296 mL) of magnesium citrate. Follow this with at least 4 to 6 cups of clear liquids before Step 4. This is a laxative and will continue the process of cleaning out the colon. Wait 2 to 3 hours before starting Step 4.
- Step 4 - between 7 and 11 PM: Step 4 should begin 2-3 hours after the start of Step 3. (Choose one option)
Option A: Drink the 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 the bottle (60 mL) of diatrizoate in 1 glass (8 ounces) of clear juice, soda, or water. If you drink it this way, you must be able to drink the entire amount. The diatrizoate is another contrast medicine that helps enhance the VC pictures.
You may keep drinking clear liquids until midnight.
Bowel Prep Complete !!!
The Day of Your Exam
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on your exam date until a member of the VC team tells you it is ok to eat after your exam. You may take your daily medicines as prescribed with small sips of water. If you haven't been able to have a bowel movement or to finish the prep kit, please call to schedule the exam for a later date.
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, most often within 2 hours. If you are taking Coumadin® (warfarin) or Plavix® (clopidogrel), you may resume your normal diet right after the exam.
UW Medical Foundation VC Coordinator: 608-287-2370.
If you need to reschedule for any reason please call: 608-287-2370.
If you have an urgent concern after normal business hours, please contact your primary care provider's office.
If you are in need of immediate medical help, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
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: 10/18/2010
Copyright © 10/18/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7100
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