How long does colonoscopy prep take to work?

By Robert Allen on 08/21/2012

There are many reasons why people wisely choose to get a colonoscopy. From finding blood in bowel movements and abdominal aches, to diarrhea or conducting a preventative exam, it’s always a good idea to be prudent. Before the procedure, people often wonder to themselves, how long does colonoscopy prep take to work?

What is Colonoscopy prep?

Basically, the procedure involves sticking a 4 foot tube into the anus with a camera attached to it. The point is to inspect the walls of the colon and look for potential tumors, irregularities, or anything else of concern. In order for this to work, everything needs to be thoroughly cleaned.

There are a few different methods that patients are given by their doctors. There’s everything from particular cleansing solutions, liquid diets, laxatives, and even self administered enemas. The prep work is extremely important because without it being clean, the chances for a thorough exam are slim at best.

When users ask the question, “How long does colonoscopy prep take to work?” they should consider which brand they’re using first. Also, it’s important to note that prep work stuff found on the market doesn’t produce the same results in the same amount of time for everyone. While for one person it took only thirty minutes to start working, someone else will claim it took several hours, or even a couple minutes!

How Long Does Colonoscopy Prep Take to Work?

Bowel prep medicine is important these days. It’s meant to be taken the night before the big test day arrives. If the patient has done their homework, made sure not to eat the wrong types of foods or drink the wrong types of liquids, they will know that the prep work is doing its job when their stool turns clear to yellow.

For some, the answer to how long does colonoscopy prep take to work, happens in about an hour. Diarrhea comes on, and then boom, nonstop until clean. For others it can take a little more than an hour, but that’s about the most someone usually has to wait. Of course, there are always exceptions.

Side Effects of Bowel Prep

Along with asking their doctors how long does colonoscopy prep take to work, many patients wonder if there are any side effects. Here is what most people can expect.

• Lots and lots of diarrhea. This means that people should basically plan on being at home, spending a lot of time going back and forth to the toilet. That’s the whole purpose if you think about it, to clean everything out of there.
• Typically people experience bloating which leads to potential abdominal discomfort.
• Some people experience queasiness, or perhaps even nausea. This is to be expected, and if this is the case people are advised to take a short break and then get back to chugging down the rest of the solution.

At the end of the day, it’s not such a big deal to get a colonoscopy. Having a clean colon also isn’t going to hurt anyone, even if the process is a bit uncomfortable. The prep work is so that everything can go smoothly the first time around, and so that follow up tests aren’t needed.


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