Harvard Health Letter

The prep is worse than the procedure

Split dosing and some new liquids may make the bowel cleansing needed for colonoscopy a bit easier and perhaps more palatable.

For many people, the main problem with colonoscopy is not the procedure itself, which is experienced in sedative-induced oblivion, but what comes beforehand. Bowel preparation — or, simply, "the prep" — typically involves drinking about a gallon of a foul-tasting solution that provokes diarrhea and then a marathon session on the toilet.

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 »