Preparing for examination of the bowel
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Bowel preparation to thoroughly empty and clean the bowel is required before a colonoscopy so the doctor has optimal vision and can closely examine the bowel wall.
This provides the best opportunity to accurately identify polyps or cancerous lesions during the procedure.
A two-step process of bowel preparation is normal.

Step 1 - Diet modification
A fibre-free or low residue diet should be commenced two or three days prior to the colonoscopy.  Foods such as fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, nuts and seeds are eliminated from the daily diet.
Fruit juices, white bread, refined breakfast cereals, meat and dairy foods are allowed.
Only a diet of clear liquids is permitted on the day prior to the colonoscopy.  
This can include vegetable broth, black tea and coffee, clear juices such as apple juice, and soda water.

Step 2 - Laxative
A strong laxative is taken 12-18 hours prior to the colonoscopy.
These laxatives are prescription only products specially designed to thoroughly empty the bowel.
Doctors will prescribe the most suitable product for you depending on your medical history.
Some of the most commonly prescribed laxatives for bowel preparation are:

Click on the above links to access Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) which provides details on the respective colonoscopy preparations.

A CMI provides important facts to know before, during and after taking your medicine.
While a CMI is written by the pharmaceutical manufacturer, the content is defined by legislation to ensure it is accurate, unbiased and easy to use.

Helpful Tips
  • Prepare the oral solutions exactly as directed
  • Carefully follow package insert or doctor's instructions for use, exact dose and timing
  • Plan for episodes of watery, diarrhoea-like bowel motions
  • Increase clear fluid intake to avoid dehydration
In general, these laxatives are safe, and most people have few problems with their use.  
Tell your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible if you do not feel well while you are taking a laxative.
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