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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What options are there for preparing for a colonoscopy?

    I am due to have my second colonoscopy, and I am extremely reluctant to have the procedure due to the preparation, which involved drinking large amounts of an unpleasant liquid.

    I had great difficulty drinking and keeping down this liquid and became very distressed and anxious. Is there any alternative method of cleansing the bowel? Thankyou
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 3


    Bowel Cancer Australia is the leading community-funded charity dedicated to prevention, early diagnosis, research, quality treatment and care for everyone affected by bowel cancer. We … View Profile

    Thank you very much for your question.

    You may be interseetd to read the Preparation for Colonoscopy information sheet on the Bowel Cancer Australia website.

    It is a flyer with information about modifying one's diet in the days leading up to a colonoscopy and the use of strong laxatives to thoroughly cleanse the bowel.  The key point to keep in mind is that effective bowel preparation is essential to ensure the bowel wall is clearly visible during the colonoscopy.

    If you would like to have a chat with someone about your converns and to ask any questiosn you may have, please feel free to contact our Nurse Advser at 

    We hope the helps to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact us anytime for individualised advice at: 

    Bowel Cancer Australia Nutrition Adviser - 

    OR Bowel Cancer Australia Nurse Adviser - 

    Kind Regards, 
    The team at Bowel Cancer Australia 

    Please Note: The information provided by Bowel Cancer Australia’s Nurse and Nutritionist Advisory Services is intended for Australian residents as a reference guide only. It is not a substitute for independent professional advice and is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or disorder. 

    If you believe your symptoms are consistent with those of bowel cancer or a digestive illness, please consult your doctor. 

    Bowel Cancer Australia, its directors, officers or medical professionals shall not be liable to any person, company or any other body for any loss, direct or indirect or consequential on whatsoever account for any omission or negligent misstatement.

  • 6


    Dr Michael Swan


    Michael Swan is a Gastroenterologist specialising in endoscopy, pancreaticobiliary disease and gastrointestinal cancer screening. Michael trained in clinical endoscopy with leaders in the field both … View Profile

    Unfortuantely we acknowledge that the bowel preparation is often the worst and most dreaded part of the colonoscopy procedure. Currently there is no way to avoid the bowel preparation.
    Depending on when you last had your colonoscopy there may be a couple of options that may improve the experience of the bowel preparation.

    1. Smaller volume bowel preparation regimes (Picoprep) that requires only 250ml of fluid to be taken at three separate intervals
    2. Tablet based bowel preparation (Diacol, Colocaps).  

    I suggest that you discuss the options with your GP or the doctor that will do the procedure, to discuss options that may assist in reducing the bad experience that you have had with the bowel preparation. 

  • 1


    Lojo Fraser

    HealthShare Member

    I have had different cleansing drinks which are unpleasant but not as bad as some. Perhaps you ought to talk to your doctor about the type of prep you are taking.

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