Miralax and Dulcolax Bowel Prep

A bowel prep is done to clear the bowel or large intestines and rectum, of all solid matter before certain tests or procedures. Please review these instructions as soon as you get them and then follow the instructions to prepare.  

Begin the bowel prep 1 day before your scheduled procedure. 

To Prepare 

  • Tell your doctor if you have diabetes or take blood thinners. You may need to stop some of your medicine a few days before your test. 
  • Ask your doctor if you should take any of your medicines the morning of your test. If so, take with sips of water only. 
  • You will need to buy 2 laxative medicines from a pharmacy:


  • Miralax (Polyethylene Glycol 3350) in large bottle (8.3 ounces or 238 grams) Ì 4 
  • Dulcolax (bisacodyl) laxative tablets (5 milligram tablets) – Often sold in boxes of 10 or more tablets


There may be store brands of these products that cost less. Ask the pharmacist to help you find what you need.

  • Buy a large 64-ounce bottle of sports drink such as Gatorade, Powerade or other sports drinks that are not red in color. If you have diabetes, buy a no or low calorie drink such as Crystal Light instead. This will be used to mix your Miralax the day before your test. Do not use carbonated beverages. 
  • You may also want to buy some other clear liquids from the list below to drink the day before your test. 
  • Arrange to have an adult bring you to your appointment and take you home after your test.   

5 Days before your test and until your test is done: 

  • Do not take iron tablets or vitamins with iron. 
  • Do not take fiber supplements like Metamucil, Citrucel or Fiberall. 
  • Do not eat popcorn, corn, nuts, seeds or green leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach. 

On the day before your test 

  • Starting in the morning, drink only clear liquids on this list and avoid all red colored liquids.Clear liquids for your prep include: 
  1. Water
  2. Fruit juices you can see through and have no pulp such as apple, white cranberry or white grape
  3. Popsicles
  4. Ice
  5. Soft drinks such as ginger ale or lemon lime soda
  6. Gatorade, Powerade or other sports drinks
  7. Clear broth or bouillon
  8. Jello
  9. Kool Aid or other drink mixes
  10. Coffee or tea with no milk or cream added 
  • Do not eat any solid food or milk products until your test is done. 
  • Drink at least 4 (8-ounce) glasses of water through the day as well as other clear liquids. 

Taking Your Prep Medicines 

You will take some pills and drink a medicine mixture that will clear your bowels of all solid matter. You will need to go to the bathroom often and your bowel movements will become very watery. The medicines may cause you to have cramps or feel bloated. Be sure you take all of the prep medicines as directed, so your bowels are clear for your test. If your bowels are not cleared, you may have to have the test rescheduled and do another prep. The bowels are clear or clean when there is only pale yellow fluid without flecks of stool. Many people start the medicines early in the afternoon at about 3:00 PM. If you are working the day before your test, you may want to wait until you are home in the early evening, about 6:00 PM.

At 3:00 PM or when you are home from work: 

  • Take 4 Dulcolax tablets with a drink of clear liquids. 
  • Mix the Miralax in a 64-ounce bottle of Gatorade or other clear liquid of choice.  
  1. To make room for the Miralax in the sports drink bottle, pour out a cup of the sports drink and drink it.
  2. Pour the Miralax powder into the sports drink bottle. Cap the bottle and shake the bottle to dissolve the powder.
  3. Most people prefer to drink the liquid chilled, so you may want to place it in the refrigerator.

3 hours after taking the Dulcolax tablets 

  • Start to drink the Miralax mixture. Drink one glass every 10 to 15 minutes. Drink it quickly rather than sipping small amounts because it does not taste that good. Finish drinking half of the mixture. 
  • Place the other half of the mixture into the refrigerator. You will need to drink the rest of the mixture in the morning, 6 hours before your test. 
  • Continue to drink other clear liquids through the evening. 
  • Set an alarm for the morning to get you up 6 hours before your test time.

The Morning of Your Test or Procedure 

6 hours before your test:

  1. Drink the rest of your Miralax mixture as before.
  2. Drink 2 (8-ounce) cups of clear liquids after you finish the Miralax mixture.
  3. You can drink clear liquids up to 4 hours before your test.
  4. If you are to take morning medicines before your test, take with a small sip of water within 2 hours of your test time. Your test will be delayed or canceled if you drink anything other than a sip of water with your medicines.
  • Bring all medicines you usually take (in their original containers) to the hospital with you. 
  • You will need to have an adult with you to take you home after your test. You will not be able to leave by yourself and it will not be safe for you to drive because of the medicine you are given at the start of the test. 
  • You may be told to arrive up to 1 hour before your test is scheduled so that staff can get you ready. 

Expect to be here for 2 to 4 hours for your test and recovery time. 

Talk to the doctor if you have any questions or concerns. 

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