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Aster's avatar

Never had one but a question about colonoscopy preps?

Asked by Aster (15341 points ) January 19th, 2013

Because I enjoy avoiding housework I was thinking about colonoscopy preps. Does it not sound fairly logical that a 350 lb man or woman would need more of the chalky drink than, say, a 98 lb person? And, if so, shouldn’t the 98 pounder therefore get a break and get mini size drinks? Or a whole lot less? It seems that all of us are expected to drink as much as an elephant when some of us could get away with the shitzu amount? If I ever had it done I would cheat. I would drink half of the stuff.

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22 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

What your saying is logically true, but I don’t think that the doc really takes that into account. They don’t know your metabolism or body patterns, so they err on the side of completeness.

They want the whole length of the colon totally empty.

By the way, if they were to give you the choice drinking the foul tasting liquid or the swallowing the pills, take the pills. They accomplish the same thing – total evacuation – but the pills don’t make you gag from the fake-fruit taste.

Aster's avatar

I doubt the alternative is a bunch of pills. I think its a whole lot worse than that.
Thanks for saying I sounded logical. I thought so too. I think if the whole colon will be empty with the heavyweight, then the whole thing will also be empty with half the amount of whatever -liquid or pills plus -for the lightweight.

Pachy's avatar

Different doctors prescribe different regimines. The last time I went through it was the easiest I ever had—a combination of little pill and a liquid that didn’t taste bad at all. Whatever the combo was, it did the trick! ;-)

Aster's avatar

That is just what I thought. A COMBINATION of pills and a liquid.
I know it’s not a good excuse but in our last town a woman went in for one and died the next day. Perforated colon.

Pachy's avatar

Yes, that happens, but from what I read, very rarely. Any kind of invasive procedure runs that kind of risk. But I’ve had four of these charming little treats and am still around to talk about ‘em. ;-)

hopeful5141's avatar

I have done both the liquid and the pills, and I am definitely on the side of the liquid. The pills just become so difficult to swallow, given the size. The liquid does not have much taste. I think the amount you need to drink is based more on the notion of them wanting to be certain that you are utterly clean, thus “one size fits all” approach. My most vivid memory was eating lemon sorbet and jello all day as they were the pre procedure approved foods. Good luck, and I hope all works out for you.

Aster's avatar

@hopeful5141 I am not having one but thanks anyway .

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’ve had the “pleasure”. The stuff is amazing. It works exactly as advertised. They say not to stray too far from the toilet and they are not kidding!
Everything came out all right.

Sunny2's avatar

I’ve had 3 or 4 colonoscopies with no ill effects. Drinking the liquid has improved greatly. The procedure itself had no after effects. My doctor sent me colored photos of my spanking clean colon each time. I tried to figure out how to incorporate them into the family Christmas card, but I was unsuccessful. There must be something you could do with them.

AshLeigh's avatar

@Sunny2 LOL! That’s awesome. Haha.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

My last one was with the liquid. I was also partially anesthetized for the procedure, but I vaguely remember watching the video, and seeing the doc snip off some polyps (which, fortunately, were only benign growths!)’

augustlan's avatar

I had to drink the liquid for a different procedure, and, if I remember correctly, the instructions were to drink X amount every 15 minutes or so, until all that was coming out of your rear end was clear liquid. I was so glad I reached that point well before I had drunk a gallon of that foul stuff! It does work great, though, and I never felt better than when I was completely empty.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m surprised extreme dieters don’t get ahold of this stuff. Or do they?

elbanditoroso's avatar

You can get almost the same stuff (works a little slower) with OTC drugs, like Senokot tablets. (and there are others as well).

The OTC dose is not as powerful and takes a tad longer to work, but it does work.

Mariah's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Yes, some people use laxatives as extreme dieting techniques. Many of these do not require prescriptions.

You are hundreds of times more likely to die of unnoticed colon cancer than a perforated colon from a flubbed colonoscopy.

The size of your colon does change based on the size of the person, but it’s not true that someone who weighs twice as much as another person will have twice as large of a colon. It’s not a big problem that they don’t customize preps for the size of the person.

It’s not a good idea to cheat because if your prep is not sufficient, they can’t see well. If they can’t see well then you have to reschedule and do it all over again. It’s better to just suck it up and take the whole prep the first time.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Mariah Oh, I’m very aware that people use laxatives for weight loss. I just meant this liquid in particular, that completely empties the colon.

Mariah's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Ooh gotcha. Well a lot of the time, colonoscopy preps are not special liquids. They just have you take an unusually large amount of an OTC laxative. So lots of dieters are doing the same thing.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Mariah Really? My mom has a colonoscopy yearly and is always given the chalky liquid. If it were me, I’d demand it. I react badly to OTC laxatives, and they rarely empty me out. I’d have to take a lot of them in order for it to do more than give me one bout of diarrhea and then leave me feeling like crap for two days afterward.

Mariah's avatar

Ahh yeah I’m going off my experiences getting colonoscopies as a pediatric patient and probably the protocol is different. I’ve never gotten anything stronger than having to drink way too much magnesium citrate. Sorry for any misinformation.

gasman's avatar

I had a colonoscopy 10 years ago & they said to drink the whole gallon of Go-Lightly (an ironic name for polyethylene glycol) that induces watery diarrhea. At the pharmacy I chose my favorite flavor. After a few glasses I remember thinking, “This isn’t so bad.” After a few more glasses I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I’m only halfway there.” And by the end I was like, “Can’t take even one more swallow.” I quit about ¾ of the way through.

The risk, of course, is that if you don’t clear all the stool from the colon, the doctor won’t be able to see everything clearly, which is the whole point of the procedure. I have observed colonoscopies in other people & I’ve seen them quit partway through—when the prep is inadquate—& re-schedule the procedure for another day. You definitely don’t want THAT!

But I agree that small people have small colons and probably require less volume of prep than large people.

augustlan's avatar

@Mariah Mag Citrate is my go-to choice when I’m having routine troubles. It works pretty well, but ‘Go-Lightly’ (which is what I had to drink before my hysterectomy) is like rocket fuel compared to the MC. It’s kind of crazy!

Mariah's avatar

@augustlan Glad I haven’t had to take the big girl stuff, but magnesium citrate gets pretty intense too once you OD on it like they make you do. :/

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