Colonoscopy prep (preparation) pills are designed to empty the colon by inducing bowel movement. These pills eliminate all the fecal matter, which helps to view the colon properly during a colonoscopy.
For accurate diagnosis of colon problems, undergoing a colonoscopy is the best option. In colonoscopy procedure, the doctor visually inspects the colon with a small camera to detect any abnormalities. For thorough examination using colonoscopy, it is necessary that the colon is empty, free from any solid waste. So, before undergoing a colonoscopy, doctors often prescribe colonoscopy prep (preparation) pills to stimulate bowel evacuation.
Colonoscopy Prep Medications
Colonoscopy preparation (prep) involves staying on a liquid diet to boost bowel movement. The person is put on a liquid diet 2-3 days prior to colonoscopy. Apart from diet, the doctors advice them to take certain pills, referred to as colonoscopy prep medications. These are laxatives that help to soften the stools and encourage bowel movement. Following are some of the pills that may be included when preparing for a colonoscopy:
This is one of the most commonly prescribed medication before a colonoscopy. As aforementioned, getting rid of fecal matter is of prime importance before a colonoscopy, which can be easily achieved with these pills. These pills are formulated to promote bowel movement. Frequent visits to the toilet is something that is commonly associated with people taking OsmoPrep. This is because these pills trigger diarrhea, which helps to clear the colon. OsmoPrep contains sodium phosphate that helps in bowel cleansing.
Visicol is basically a strong laxative that stimulates the process of bowel evacuation. Like OsmoPrep, sodium phosphate is an active ingredient of Visicol that causes bowel movement, which manifests in the form of diarrhea. Visicol-induced diarrhea effectively eliminates all the solid waste from the colon. These tasteless pills may cause few side effects but they last only for a short while. People taking Visicol may experience nausea, abdominal pain, and dizziness but these health issues are not worrisome as they go away once the dosage is stopped.
Colonoscopy Prep Pills vs Liquid
Colonoscopy prep liquids are also effective for colon cleansing but the main issue is that one has to bear the unpalatable taste of these liquids. These are tasteless liquids and so they may leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth that may last for quite some time. The taste is simply disgusting and so this is the reason why people think twice before taking these liquids.
However, both the pills and the liquids do an excellent job in cleansing the colon entirely. MoviPrep and Miralax are the laxative solutions that help to flush fecal matter from the colon. The amount of colonoscopy prep liquid to be consumed before visual examination of colon is approximately 2 liters.
Although these pills do help to cleanse the colon completely, people suffering from certain medical conditions need to use these drugs judiciously. Since there are many colonoscopy risks, doctors throw a word of caution when it comes to using these medications that contain sodium phosphate. Excess dose can be troublesome for the patient. Recent reports have busted the myth that the pills are absolutely safe. Studies suggest that people with a history of kidney diseases need to consult a doctor before using these pills.
This is because they are predisposed to kidney problems, resulting from intake of these pills. With increase in age, the ability of kidneys to function efficiently also reduces. So people who have crossed 50 years of age have to be very careful and take the pills as instructed by the doctors. People with digestive disorders like constipation and colitis (or any other bowel disease) are also at increased risk of kidney damage from these pills. Patients put on diuretics or NSAIDs are also not a candidate for the pills due to the increased risk of kidney problems.
On the whole, be it pills or liquids, one should consult a doctor to know whether it is necessary to take these drugs for preparing the colon for colonoscopy. In most cases, following a colonoscopy prep diet works to empty the colon and as such use of any pills for bowel movement is unnecessary.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.