The Bowel Prep Survival Kit

Bowel Prep Survival Kit

Unfortunately I am scheduled for a repeat colonoscopy & EGD tomorrow which means I get the pleasure of attempting to survive completing a bowel prep.  This will be my 4th (and unfortunately not my last) time having to endure such torture.  So I thought I would share my wisdom that I have acquired over the years with you wonderful readers (after all at one point or another we all end up having the opportunity to share the joy of a colonoscopy).

This is what I call my Bowel Prep Survival Kit:

Bowel Prep Survival Kit

Essential items include:
1-Bowel Prep Meds:  These come in different varieties but all work basically the same.  If you have to mix the powder with liquid to drink, I highly recommend mixing it ahead of time and putting it in the fridge so that it gets really cold.  It seems to make it go down a little easier (you can mix and store solution up to 24 hours before your start time) Some people recommend using a straw. Whatever gets it down the fastest!
2-Apple Juice: Its a clear liquid with some sugar to keep blood sugar levels from completely dropping plus give you the sense that your stomach is full. White grape juice is approved as well – just no red or purple juice.
3-Clear Liquid of your choice:  For every 8oz of the bowel prep mix you drink, you chase it with 8oz clear liquid of your choice such as Sprint, Mt. Dew, 7up, light colored flavors of Gatorade, and sweet tea.  Be careful when making your choice!  Short story:  I used to love love love the yellow Gatorade but the bowel prep mix for my first colonoscopy tasted exactly like it so now I gag every time I smell the stuff.  So sad.  So you may want to stick to Sprite instead of your beloved choice just in case you developed some type of warped connection between the two (or maybe I am just a complete weirdo for making such a connection).
4-Popsicles:  My favorites are banana pops and lemon italian ice. Both are on the approved list and believe me you get tired of Jello pretty quick. I have always stuck to banana pops in the past but discovered lemon italian ice on this trip to the grocery store for prep supplies! Jello is also on the approved list. Colors to avoid are red, blue, purple, and green (basically any other color than clear or yellow) as they can dye your intestines which makes accurate viewing difficult. Popsicles must not contain yogurt or ice cream.

5-Moist Wipes:  Your butt will thank you.  I promise.

Items not pictures but highly recommended: Reading material, a stool to put your feet on (not sure why this helps but it does), and air freshener.

Of course clear chicken or beef broth (without noodles or rice) is on the approved list, but I will stick to lemon Jello and banana pops thankyouverymuch.

Now if you ever get the news that you will have to have a colonoscopy (or must have a bowel prep for some other type of surgery) you can’t say you weren’t prepared 🙂

Have you had a colonoscopy or have had to complete a bowel prep for another reason? Would you add anything to this list?


P.S. Be a spoonie girl scout & check out the Hospital Survival Kit & Flare Survival Kit to be prepared for what else life with chronic illness may have in store!

I love hearing from you!

  1. Just thinking about the prep solution is making my throat tense up. That stuff is nasty! I ended up not flavoring mine and just mixing 8 oz of iit with 8 oz of apple juice. That was the only way I could get it down.

    • Mine has always come pre-flavored. I used to love the yellow Gatorade but now I can’t even smell it b/c it reminds me of the prep solution!

  2. Hey there! I too have a chronic illness that leads to me to have to do bowel preps on a pretty regular basis. I always stick to lemon sorbet and the chicken broth, but OMG banana pops and jello both sound fantastic. I never think to pick up anything other than lemon sorbet….

    I just recently started a blog about my experience too.

    Wishing you luck in your future!

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    • I’m 30 years old with chrons disease. Has anyone tried a mint or carmel in their mouth while taking the prep. It helps.

  6. I wish I had known about a survival kit like this when I had a colonoscopy a few years ago. What a great idea to make something unpleasant a little easier 🙂 I will keep this in mind for the next time.

    • I figured everyone will have to go through one at some point in life and thought I might as well pass along tips from my way too many experiences 🙂

  7. Hi Jamee, I’m dropping by from SITS. I read your About Me section and I have to say that it’s so inspiring to see you sharing your journey with the world, I would imagine it being so hard in the beginning. As to the bowel prep, I have not needed a colonoscopy yet but I will definitely keep your advice in mind! Have a great day!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! Blogging has been a way to connect to others who are going through similar struggles as well as a way to stay positive in light of my illness! I got to the point where I knew that I could allow my illnesses to make me bitter or make me better and find a way to honor God through it. Blogging has definitely become a part of my calling and I would love for A New Kind of Normal to one day become a full scale ministry!

  8. Whew! I’ve never had a colonoscopy and have a big fear of it. Thanks for sharing the survival kit information…it will definitely come in handy I’m sure! I swung by via the SITS challenge!

    • The prep most definitely is the worst part. The procedure itself is a breeze. If I can get through getting the IV in place in the morning, I’ll be golden. I had a horrible, horrible IV experience a couple weeks ago at the ER so out of everything the IV has me the most anxious!

  9. This brings back memories of having to get colonoscopy when I was in college to try to figure out the origins of stomach pain. I ended up having to drink the prep stuff twice as I couldn’t get enough down the first time so had to reschedule and do it again….yuck! I found cooling it and mixing it with juice helped, but I had a hard time just drinking enough of the liquid. Good luck!

    • Oh my goodness! You poor thing! I cannot imagine having to go through it a second time! I think getting the mix as cold as possible helps as well and tonight I decided to try mixing it with the apple juice versus drinking one glass of mix and then one glass of apple juice. Definitely helped it go down a little easier! First half of the prep is done! Part 2 starts at 5am 🙁

    • Just got home from the hospital and it looks like I am going to be in a similar situation 🙁 They were able to complete the EGD but had to abort colonoscopy because the prep was ineffective even though I followed all the directions and drank it all. They will be scheduling a repeat this week and I will likely be on a liquid diet for 3 days this time versus 1 and have to take a stronger prep. Shoot me now!

  10. I don’t envy you! I haven’t had to do this myself and it doesn’t look fun! Thanks for sharing! #SITSblogging

    • Both of those are great suggestions! I definitely could have benefited from the padded seat! Thankfully I had my tablet to keep my occupied when I was otherwise occupied 🙂

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  12. Hi – I have an upcoming colonoscopy in two weeks (this will be my fifth since 1998) and with your tips, this prep might be a little easier. One additional tip might be to have a lid with the straw on top of the glass. With the lid you don’t smell the ghastly cocktail. Keeping busy while taking the prep helps for example cleaning out closets, anything that keeps your mind off the next dose. I think I might clean my apartment and catch upon Breaking Bad (I can see the tv from the throne) if you catch my drift.
    In the end the procedure is worthwhile.
    Good luck everyone.

  13. Have you ever tried making homemade broth for your colonoscopy? My husband’s had 3 and it’s the only way he can get through it. Tomorrow starts my very first bowel prep for a colonoscopy Monday. I’m going to test this theory out.

    • I have not! I would be interested to know how your theory goes!Anything to make the process go more smoothly!