There are three ingenious hacks to make the consumption of that awful colonoscopy prep drink a breeze, along with other smart helpful tips.
I’ve had two colonoscopies. The instructions for both said to keep the beverage chilled once you’ve mixed it all up.
And therein lies the first problem. People are used to drinking beverages chilled. A prime example is water in general.
To quench thirst, most people prefer water to be cold. Or, to reach their daily water quota, it “has to be cold.”
And because the colonoscopy prep instructions say to refrigerate the mixed solution, people end up drinking it cold.
But when a fluid is chilled, it’s more difficult to rapidly guzzle down without taking several pauses.
However, if it’s room temperature, you can deftly guzzle eight ounces in one fell swoop.
When the fluid has been left out at room temperature, you won’t feel as much (if at all) a need to pause in the middle of a glass.
And it’s that pausing that not only lengthens the unpleasant experience, but can give rise to tasting the salty beverage.
Hack #1: Don’t Refrigerate; Keep It on the Kitchen Counter
I did this with both of my colonoscopies, and believe me, I was very cleaned out by the time I was on the procedure table.
It’s crucial to follow the instructions to a tee as far as timing of ingestion!
And if you do so, and drink the prep at room temperature with one guzzle per eight ounces, you’ll get as cleaned out as you would with a chilled prep.
Cold water is quickly warmed up anyways by your body once it goes down your throat.
Hack #2: Pre-Ration the Entire Prep
There’s a psychology behind pre-rationing this salty-syrupy tasting prep.
What I did, after mixing it up, was pour it into a bunch of eight-ounce glasses, then leave the glasses on my countertop.
Then, every time it was time to perform a one-time guzzle, I simply entered the kitchen, grabbed a glass and was done with it in mere seconds.
The elimination of having to pour from that big bottle into a glass, every 15 minutes, goes a super long way at making the experience more tolerable. Instead, every 15 minutes you just grab a glass and guzzle. Simple!
Some people recommend a straw for rapid nonstop consumption, and this will work well if you’re okay using straws (I can’t stand them).
Hack 3#: Shut Down Your Taste
After I completed each eight-ounce guzzle, I shut down my taste for 10 seconds. It’s difficult to explain how to do this.
It’s something I’ve always been able to do. It’s something that I voluntarily do inside my mouth, yet have no idea what it is.
All I know is that, at will, I can instantly “shut down” my ability to taste, and instantly bring it back.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then skip this step. The first two alone will still make the prep consumption so much more tolerable.
Additional Tips for Tolerating the Colonoscopy Prep
“Eat a low roughage diet the DAY BEFORE the colonoscopy,” says Nadeem Baig, MD, a board certified gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Monmouth Gastroenterology, a division of Allied Digestive Health.
“Examples of low roughage (low fiber) diet are white rice, pasta, eggs, tofu and chicken.
“Traditionally, we told our patients to just stay on liquids the day before the procedure.
“But we found that when patients actually ate more solid food like pasta, white toast and eggs, they tolerated the prep better.”
If you do prefer to drink your beverages in a chilled state, then of course, keep the solution in the refrigerator.
However, Dr. Baig also recommends that you flavor the prep if it already doesn’t come with a flavoring packet. You can try sugar-free Kool Aid or Crystal Light.
“You could also mix the prep with some flavored liquids like Sprite, ginger ale or pulp-free lemonade.”
Dr. Baig’s specialties include gastrointestinal cancers and liver disease, plus gallbladder, biliary tract and pancreatic disorders. He is an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.