Review article: Bowel preparation for colonoscopy - The importance of adequate hydration

G. R. Lichtenstein, L. B. Cohen, J. Uribarri

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background: Patient compliance with screening recommendations for colorectal cancer remains low, despite a 90% survival rate achieved with early detection. Bowel preparation is a major deterrent for patients undergoing screening colonoscopy. More than half of patients taking polyethylene glycol electrolyte lavage solution and sodium phosphate preparations experience adverse events, such as nausea and abdominal pain. Many adverse events may be associated with dehydration, including rare reports of renal toxicity in patients taking sodium phosphate products. Addressing dehydration-related safety issues through patient screening and education may improve acceptance of bowel preparations, promote compliance and increase the likelihood of a successful procedure. Aim: To evidence safety issues associated with bowel preparation are generally related to inadequate hydration. Results: Dehydration-related complications may be avoided through proper patient screening, for example, renal function and comorbid conditions should be considered when choosing an appropriate bowel preparation. In addition, patient education regarding the importance of maintaining adequate hydration before, during and after bowel preparation may promote compliance with fluid volume recommendations and reduce the risk of dehydration-related adverse events. Conclusions: Proper patient screening and rigorous attention by patients and healthcare providers to hydration during bowel preparation may provide a safer, more effective screening colonoscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-641
Number of pages9
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007


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