Getting ready for a colonoscopy is usually uncomfortable and time consuming, but knowing what to expect can often ease some of the apprehension surrounding bowel preparation. Here at the La Peer Colonoscopy Center of Excellence, our team of board-certified GI doctors and colorectal surgeons strives to do everything in our power to ensure that you are informed, prepared, and relaxed about your upcoming colonoscopy procedure. The following is a compilation of the top bowel preparation methods and what to expect from each. If you have any specific questions regarding which method may be best suited for you, be sure to contact an experienced colorectal surgeon or gastroenterologist.

Top 5 Most Common Bowel Preparations

When it comes to your diet, before a colonoscopy, you will need to limit your diet to only clear liquids regardless of the type of prep selected.  This includes, but is not limited to, broths, tea and coffee (sans creamer), clear juices, and some types of Jell-O. Any items with red, blue, or purple food coloring should be avoided as the dye can stain the inside of your colon or appear to be small amounts of blood during the exam. A restricted diet is typically recommended in conjuncture with any one of the following bowel preparation methods.

  1. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) – Also known by the brand names Golytely, Colyte, Nulytely, and Trilyte, PEG is an electrolyte-based solution typically consumed by the gallon the evening before your colonoscopy. A common dosage would involve drinking 8 ounces of the solution every 10 minutes until either the bowel contents become clear or the solution has been consumed in its entirety. Essentially, PEG works by introducing a large amount of liquid into the bowel in order to force out its contents.  Common complaints regarding PEG are that the solution has a salty, unpalatable taste and can cause nausea and cramping in some patients.
  1. Movieprep – MoviPrep is a low-volume polyethylene glycol (PEG) osmotic colonoscopy preparation. MoviPrep is stated to be just as effective as 4-liter PEGs, but MoviPrep only requires you to drink 2 liters of PEG and 1 additional liter of the clear liquid of your choice. Please note: Talk to your doctor before taking MOVIPREP if you take any medications that increase the risk of blood salt abnormalities or if you have known or suspected low blood salt (sodium) level (hyponatremia).
  1. Suprep – This is our most commonly used prep, here at La Peer’s Colonoscopy Center of Excellence. SUPREP is a low-volume bowel preparation that you take as a split-dose regimen. The first 6-ounce bottle is taken the evening before your colonoscopy and the second 6-ounce bottle is taken the morning of your colonoscopy. You can speak with our doctors to understand the benefits of this prep type, compared to the other options available.
  1. Prepopik – This prep is a Sodium picosulfate/magnesium oxide/citric acid solution. It is usually taken in 2 separate doses as directed by your doctor, usually the evening before and the next day in the morning, or 2 doses the day before your procedure. In total, you’ll consume 10 ounces of prep and 64 ounces of any other approved clear liquid.
  1. Laxatives – The most common laxatives used in preparation for a colonoscopy are magnesium citrate and bisacodyl. Either of these two laxatives may be used in concert with a smaller dosage (2 liters) of PEG, or magnesium citrate can be consumed alone. Be sure to speak with your medical practitioner to determine which laxative may be appropriate for you.


Tip: In order to make your prep solution more palatable, try drinking it from a straw. 

Contact a Colonoscopy Specialist in Los Angeles

Everyone ages 50 (45 for African Americans) and over is strongly encouraged to schedule routine colonoscopies and colon cancer screenings. Here at the Colonoscopy Center of Excellence, our team of expert colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists have the knowledge and experience necessary to make your colonoscopy as comfortable and anxiety-free as possible. To schedule a one-on-one appointment or speak with a member of the team, call us at 888-837-0459 at your earliest convenience.

Next, read on about colon cancer facts and statistics.