Harvard Men's Health Watch

Kinder, gentler colonoscopy preps

Q. My doctor has recommended that I have a colonoscopy this year. The last time I had one, the preparation I had to drink the day before the procedure tasted awful. Are there any new preparations that are easier to take?

A. You have several options now for cleaning out the colon before colonoscopy, often called a "colon prep." Perhaps you can find one that is less disagreeable than the last one. In colonoscopy, a doctor examines the colon for abnormalities. To provide the clearest view, it's important for you to complete the laxative colon prep as directed.

It was once common to drink about a gallon of the laxative polyethylene glycol (PEG) the day before colonoscopy. Preps today call for half that amount, in combination with laxative pills. Many people find the taste of PEG to be unpleasant. Chilling the PEG solution and adding sugar-free powdered drink mix makes it more palatable.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »