Getting Ready for Your Colonoscopy MiraLAX
What is a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an exam of your colon (large bowel). Your doctor uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a built-in camera and light. This tube lets the doctor see the lining of your colon very clearly. If needed, the doctor can remove growths in the colon (called polyps) or take tiny samples of tissue to find certain conditions.
Important – Please read these pages 1 week before your colonoscopy.
Your colonoscopy may be cancelled if you do not follow these instructions.
One Week before Your Colonoscopy
Blood thinning medicines should be stopped:
• No prasugrel (Effient®) for 7 days
• No warfarin (Coumadin®) for 5 days
• No clopidogrel (Plavix®) for 5 days
• No Iron for 5 days
• No dabigatran (Pradaxa®) for 2 days
Do not stop taking your blood thinning medicine without first talking about this with your doctor who prescribes this medicine. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to safely stop this medicine. Contact us if you have questions.
Diabetes medicines (oral and insulin) will need to be adjusted for the time when you can’t eat. Please talk with your primary doctor about this.
A nurse or pharmacist will talk with you about all of your medicines before your exam and answer your questions.
For at least 3 days before your colonoscopy, do not eat these foods because they slow your digestion:
• Potato skins
• Fruit with skin or seeds
• Vegetables unless they are well-cooked or pureed
• You must have an adult to drive you home or your colonoscopy will
be cancelled. You may take a cab or bus home only if you have a
responsible adult to ride along with you. You should not drive or return to
work for the rest of the day because of the effects of sedation. You should not
make important decisions (personal or business) until the next day. Plan to
go home to rest. You should be able to resume normal daily tasks on the day
after your colonoscopy.
• You will need to buy bowel prep supplies at least 2 days before your
colonoscopy. You can buy these at your local drugstore. You do not need a
- Bisacodyl 5 mg laxative tablets
- MiraLAX® (238 gm or 8.3 oz bottle)
- Two 32 oz bottles of Gatorade® or Powerade® (cannot be red, blue or purple).
• A nurse will call you 1 to 2 weeks before your colonoscopy. During
this call, we will review your health history and the medicines that you are
• If you are often constipated, you should have an extra day or two of a
clear liquid diet and use an over-the-counter laxative (like milk of magnesia)
2 days before your colonoscopy. Please call us if you would like to talk with
us about this.
The Day before Your Colonoscopy
Please see the Prep Instructions Table on the next page for specific bowel preparation (prep) drinking instructions based on your arrival time. These are very important. You must follow these instructions to have a clean colon. You have to have a clean colon to have accurate colonoscopy results.
No solid food, milk or dairy products after the clear liquid start time in the Prep Instructions Table on the next page.
Clear liquids include the following (do not drink red or purple liquids):
• Apple juice
• Black coffee (no cream or milk)
• Clear sports drinks (like Gatorade®)
Bowel Preparation (prep)
Mix half of the MiraLAX® powder in 32 ounces of Gatorade® or Powerade®. Mix well to dissolve. Keep in refrigerator or on kitchen counter. Repeat this step later for your second dose.
If you take medicines, take them either 1 hour before you drink the bowel prep or 1 hour after you finish drinking the bowel prep. Do not take them while you are drinking the prep because they may not be absorbed.
Plan on each part of your prep taking several hours. Stay near a bathroom during this time.
Drink 1 glass (about 8 ounces) every 10 – 20 minutes but slow down or stop for 30 minutes if you begin to have nausea or abdominal discomfort. Liquid stools should start within a few hours.
Keep drinking clear liquids until 4 hours before your appointment time. Drinking clear liquids can prevent dehydration.
• To lessen the taste of the prep liquid, try drinking it with a straw.
• To lessen the taste between glasses, try gum or hard candy.
• For a sore bottom, clean with baby wipes and put on a protective ointment
(like A+D® or Vaseline®) after bowel movements.
• For chills, use a blanket warmed in the dryer.
Before bedtime, mix your second dose of MiraLAX®/Gatorade® solution. Mix well to dissolve. Keep in refrigerator or on kitchen counter. Use in the morning.
PREP INSTRUCTIONS TABLE
Your last bowel movements should be watery, see-through and free of solids (flecks are OK). The color may appear clear to yellow.
If you have steady stomach pain, get light-headed and dizzy, or don’t have a bowel movement, please call the paging operator at (608) 890-5000 or toll free at 1-855-342-9900. Ask for the Gastroenterology (GI) doctor on call.
The Day of Your Colonoscopy
• No solid food, milk, or dairy products until after your colonoscopy.
• Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
• Leave jewelry and valuables at home.
• Bring your eyeglass case, contact lens container or denture cup (if you have
• Bring any inhalers, BiPAP, or CPAP that you use.
• Plan to be with us about 3 hours. Your driver will need to be in our
building or by a phone during this time. You may not leave the recovery
room without a responsible adult.
Follow the arrival and registration instructions in your letter. If you are going to be late, please call us at (608) 890-5000 to let us know. If you are more than 30 minutes late, we may have to cancel your colonoscopy and reschedule it for another day. We do our best to stay on time.
How to Contact Us
Digestive Health Center, 7am to 5pm weekdays, (608) 890-5000.
After clinic hours, please call (608) 890-5000. This number will connect you to the paging operator. Ask for the Gastroenterology (GI) doctor on call. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live outside of the Madison area, please call 1-855-342-9900.
If you are not able to keep your appointment, please let us know 5 days before.
UW Health Digestive Health Center
750 University Row
University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics
GI Procedure Clinic
600 Highland Avenue
Meriter Hospital Digestive Health Center
202 S. Park Street
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: 09/10/2013
Copyright © 03/20/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7477
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