How to take your Bowel Preparation - for a gastroscopy and colonoscopy standard afternoon appointment
It is essential that your bowel is empty for this investigation. In order for your bowel to be empty, please follow the instructions on this page.
It is essential that your bowel is empty for this investigation. In order for your bowel to be empty please follow the instructions below:
7 days before your appointment
If you have diabetes or are taking any medication that thins your blood, other than aspirin (which you can remain on) please contact the relevant Endoscopy Unit on the Medication Advice Line (answer phone). The telephone number is at the end of this leaflet.
Stop taking any of the following medications:
- Imodium® (loperamide)
- Codeine phosphate
- Lomotil® (co-phenotrope)
- Iron tablets
- Fybogel® (ispaghula husk)
Please note all other medications such as heart tablets and blood pressure tablets should be continued as normal, including on the day of your test.
2 days before your appointment
Start on a low fibre diet. Eat foods only from the following list:
- Eggs – boiled or poached
- White fish
- Lean meat for example beef, lamb, veal or ham
- Gravy using stock cubes (white flour or corn flour to thicken)
- White bread or rolls (no seedy bread)
- Potatoes – boiled or mashed (no skins)
- White rice
- Butter/margarine – use sparingly
- Clear jelly (not red) without fruit pieces
- Sugar/honey/syrup/treacle/jelly (e.g. bramble jelly)/jams/marmalade (without peel)
- Boiled sweets or clear mints
- Herbal tea – clear (avoid red colours)
- Lucozade, water, soda water
- Fizzy drinks, squashes, clear fruit juice (no bits)
- Quorn, tofu, textured vegetable protein
Do not fry food
Avoid seeds and sweetcorn especially
Drink plenty of fluids
1 day before your appointment
At 12:00pm have a good lunch of food taken from the low fibre list. After this do not eat any solid food.
Drink plenty of clear fluid (tea/clear herbal tea/coffee/fruit squash/carbonated water drinks or plain water). You may have small amounts of milk in tea or coffee. Clear jelly (not red) is allowed.
- At 4:00pm dissolve one sachet of VistaPrep in 2 pints (1 litre) of water and drink it over 1 hour.
- At 6:00pm dissolve one sachet of VistaPrep in 2 pints (1 litre) of water and drink it over 1 hour.
Drink a further 2 pints (1 litre) of water before going to bed.
Morning of your appointment
- At 8:00am dissolve 1 sachet of VistaPrep in 2 pints (1 litre) of water and drink it over 1 hour.
- At 10:00am dissolve 1 sachet of VistaPrep in 2 pints (1 litre) of water and drink it over 1 hour.
Drink a further 2 pints (1 litre) of clear fluid during the morning.
Clear fluids only should be taken this morning – no solid food.
It is important that you do not become dehydrated.
Clear fluids can be drunk up to 2 hours before the time of your appointment.
Do not drink in the 2 hours before to your appointment.
Please note: VistaPrep can be flavoured with clear fruit juices (such as apple) or clear squash (such as lemon) and can be made up in advance and chilled in the fridge.
You should expect frequent bowel actions and eventually diarrhoea. Some cramping in your stomach is normal. Your bottom may become quite sore. Please use a barrier cream to stop any irritation. There are many products available from your local pharmacy.
If you have any difficulties
Sometimes, the bowel preparation may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal fullness and bloating, abdominal cramps, fatigue, sleep disturbances, anal irritation, urticaria and allergic reaction. If you have any allergies, please check the preparation ingredients before taking.
Do not take if you suffer with the following:
- Hypersensitivity (allergic reactions/sensitivities)
- Congestive cardiac failure
- Gastrointestinal obstruction or perforation
If you feel that you will be unable to complete the bowel preparation successfully, please contact the relevant Endoscopy Unit for advice.
Medication Advice Line (answer machine)
If you have any questions relating to your medication, please leave a message and a member of staff will return your call:
Cheltenham General Hospital
Tel: 0300 422 3370
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Tel: 0300 422 8232
Tel: 0300 421 6294
Stroud General Hospital
Tel: 0300 421 8073
Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 6:00pm