What happens if I can’t drink all the Colonoscopy prep?

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Colonoscopy is an essential diagnostic tool that helps gastroenterologists detect abnormalities, including polyps, swollen tissue, or colon cancer. A thorough colonoscopy prep is necessary for the exam to be accurate. However, many patients struggle with the preparation phase of the procedure, which involves drinking a large volume of the colonoscopy prep solution. In this blog post, we will explore what happens if you can’t drink all the colonoscopy prep and provide tips to make the process more manageable.

What happens if I can't drink all the Colonoscopy prep?

The Importance of Completing the Colonoscopy Prep

The colonoscopy prep is a crucial step in ensuring an accurate examination, as any residue in the colon can obscure the doctor’s view. If you cannot drink all of the prep solution, the colon may not be entirely clean, leading to an incomplete exam. Inadequate preparation may result in the need for a repeat colonoscopy, which can be both costly and uncomfortable. Therefore, it is vital to follow the instructions provided by your doctor and complete the colonoscopy prep as prescribed.

Tips for Completing the Colonoscopy Prep

Adjust Your Diet

A few days before the colonoscopy, it is advisable to switch to a low-fiber diet to reduce the amount of residue in the colon. Avoid foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains, which can be difficult to digest. Instead, consume easily digestible foods such as white bread, pasta, and lean proteins like chicken or fish. Drinking clear liquids such as water, broth, and apple juice can also help flush out the colon.

Drink the Prep Laxative Cold

Many patients find the colonoscopy prep solution unpleasant and challenging to drink. Some tips to mitigate the taste and texture of the solution include drinking it cold, sipping through a straw, and alternating with another drink. Chilling the prep solution in the fridge before drinking can help make it more palatable. Additionally, sipping the solution through a straw can help bypass the taste buds on your tongue. Lastly, alternating with another drink, such as apple juice or ginger ale, can help break up the monotony of drinking the prep solution.

Prepare the Bathroom

During the colonoscopy prep, you will experience multiple bowel movements, which can cause irritation and discomfort. Preparing the bathroom with wet wipes, soft toilet paper, and barrier creams/oils can help prevent irritation and make the process more comfortable. Additionally, wearing loose-fitting clothing can help you feel more relaxed and at ease.

Speak to Your Doctor

If you are having difficulty drinking all the colonoscopy prep solution, speak to your doctor. They may be able to provide alternative options or suggest ways to make the process more manageable. For example, some doctors may prescribe anti-nausea medication to help alleviate the unpleasant side effects of the prep solution.


Completing the colonoscopy prep is essential for an accurate exam and can help detect any abnormalities in the colon. Although it can be challenging, there are ways to make the process more manageable. By adjusting your diet, drinking the prep solution cold, preparing the bathroom, and speaking to your doctor, you can ensure a thorough and successful colonoscopy. Remember, it is normal to feel anxious or uncomfortable during the preparation phase, but the benefits of completing the exam far outweigh the temporary discomfort.

What happens if I can’t drink all the Colonoscopy prep?
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