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Bowel preparation (or bowel prep) is a way to make sure your bowels are empty before you have surgery. It's done to make sure that you don't have any problems from infection. It is very important if you have bowel surgery. But people also do it before other surgery in the belly or before a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.
There are different types of bowel prep. You may need to drink a liquid that makes you have to go to the washroom a lot. Or you may give yourself an enema. Your doctor will tell you what kind of prep you need.
Bowel prep can be uncomfortable. You may spend a lot of time in the washroom. Some people see results in 2 hours. For others, it takes up to 12 hours. It depends on the type of bowel prep you do.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth Bark MD - General Surgery, Colon and Rectal Surgery
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