Why is colon cleansing important?
Before a colonoscopy, it is very important that your colon is completely cleaned out, so that the doctor can examine it all.
If your colon is not completely clean, it increases the chance that your doctor will miss abnormalities, and increases the likelihood that the procedure will have to be repeated at a later date.
There are three main kinds of laxative-type medicines, called bowel preparations, available to cleanse your colon:
- Polyethylene glycol-based bowel preparations (also known as PEG-based)
- Sodium picosulfate bowel preparations
- Trisulfate bowel preparations
Your doctor will prescribe the bowel preparation they think is most suitable for you based on how much you can drink and its type.
When cleansing your bowel you must drink all of the bowel preparation, plus extra fluids to stay hydrated. The total amount you need to drink varies between bowel preparations, with the lowest being 2L and the highest being 4L.
A guide to successfully taking your bowel preparation