Bowel Preparation for Your Gynecologic Surgery

This information explains how to do a bowel preparation (clear the poop from your body) before your gynecologic surgery.

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Buy Supplies

Buy the following supplies from any pharmacy. You don’t need a prescription.

  • 1 (238-gram) bottle of polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX®)
  • 1 (64-ounce) bottle of a clear liquid. For examples of clear liquids, read the “Follow a clear liquid diet” section.
  • Extra clear liquids to drink while you’re following a clear liquid diet

Your healthcare provider may have sent prescriptions for the following antibiotics to your pharmacy:

  • Metronidazole (Flagyl®, Metrogel®) 500 milligram tablets
  • Neomycin (Neo-Fradin®) 500 milligram tablets

Be sure to also pick up these antibiotics, if needed.

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The Day Before Your Surgery

Follow a clear liquid diet

You’ll need to follow a clear liquid diet the day before your surgery. You can find examples in the “Clear Liquid Diet” table. While you’re following this diet:

  • Don’t eat any solid foods.
  • Try to drink at least 1 (8-ounce) glass of clear liquid every hour while you’re awake.
  • Drink different types of clear liquids. Don’t just drink water, black coffee, and tea.
  • Don’t drink sugar-free clear liquids unless you have diabetes and a member of your care team tells you to.

For people with diabetes

Ask the healthcare provider who manages your diabetes what to do while you’re following a clear liquid diet.

  • If you take insulin or another medication for diabetes, ask if you need to change the dose.
  • Ask if you should drink sugar-free clear liquids.

Make sure to check your blood sugar level often while you’re following a clear liquid diet. If you have any questions, talk with your healthcare provider.

Clear Liquid Diet
  Drink Do Not Drink
Soups
  • Clear broth, bouillon, or consommé
  • Any products with pieces of dried food or seasoning
Sweets
  • Gelatin (such as Jell-O®)
  • Flavored ices
  • Hard candies (such as Life Savers®)
  • All others
Drinks
  • Clear fruit juices (such as lemonade, apple, cranberry, and grape juices)
  • Soda (such as ginger ale, 7UP®, Sprite®, and seltzer)
  • Sports drinks (such as Gatorade®)
  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • Water
  • Juices with pulp
  • Nectars
  • Smoothies or shakes
  • Milk or cream
  • Alcoholic drinks

Take your MiraLAX bowel preparation

The morning of the day before your surgery, mix all 238 grams of MiraLAX with the 64 ounces of clear liquid until the MiraLAX powder dissolves. Once the powder is dissolved, you can put the mixture in the refrigerator if you want to.

At 5:00 pm on the day before your surgery, start drinking the MiraLAX mixture. It will cause frequent bowel movements (make you poop often), so make sure you’re near a bathroom.

  • Drink 1 (8-ounce) glass of the mixture every 15 minutes until it’s gone.
  • When you finish the MiraLAX mixture, drink 4 to 6 glasses of clear liquids. You can keep drinking clear liquids until midnight or until you go to bed, but you don’t have to.
  • Apply petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline®), zinc oxide ointment (such as Desitin®), or vitamin A&D cream (such as A+D® ointment) to the skin around your anus (the opening where poop leaves your body) after every bowel movement. This helps prevent irritation.

Take your antibiotics, if needed

If your healthcare provider told you to take antibiotics (metronidazole, neomycin, or both) before your surgery, take them according to the following schedule.

  • At 7:00 pm on the night before your surgery, take 1 metronidazole tablet and 2 neomycin tablets.
  • At 11:00 pm on the night before your surgery, take 1 metronidazole tablet and 2 neomycin tablets.

Take your medications as instructed

If your healthcare provider told you to take certain medications the morning of your surgery, take only those medications with a sip of water. Depending on what medications you take, this may be all, some, or none of your usual morning medications.

Instructions for eating before your surgery

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Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery. This includes hard candy and gum.
 

 
 

Instructions for drinking before your surgery

  • If your healthcare provider gave you a CF(Preop)® drink, finish it 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Do not drink anything else after midnight the night before your surgery, including water.
  • If your healthcare provider didn’t give you a CF(Preop) drink, you can drink a total of 12 ounces of water between midnight and 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. Do not drink anything else.

 
Do not drink anything starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time. This includes water.

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