MiraLAX® Bowel Preparation

This information describes how to take polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX®) to empty your colon before certain surgeries or procedures. This is also known doing a bowel preparation.

Buy Your Supplies

Your nurse will check off the supplies you will need to buy. You can buy these supplies at your local pharmacy without a prescription.

  • 1 (5 mg) tablet of bisacodyl (Dulcolax®). These are usually sold as a box of 10 tablets.
  • 1 (238 gram) bottle of polyethylene glycol (MiraLAX).
  • 1 (64-ounce) bottle of a clear liquid. If you’re having a colonoscopy, don’t buy a clear liquid that’s red, purple, or orange.

You may also want to buy the following:

  • Clear liquids to drink during the day before your surgery or procedure.
  • A pitcher to mix the MiraLAX and 64 ounces of clear liquid.
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The Day Before Your Surgery or Procedure

Follow a clear liquid diet

You will need to follow a clear liquid diet the day before your surgery or procedure. A clear liquid diet includes only liquids you can see through. Examples are listed in the table below.

While you’re on the clear liquid diet:

  • Don’t eat any solid foods.
  • If you’re having a colonoscopy, don’t drink anything red, purple, or orange.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of liquids in addition to water, coffee, and tea. This helps to make sure that you get enough calories and is an important part of your bowel preparation.
  • Try to drink at least 1 (8-ounce) glass every hour while you’re awake.
  • If you have diabetes:
    • Tell the doctor who prescribes your diabetes medication that you will be following a clear liquid diet. Ask them if you should include clear liquids that have sugar.
    • While you’re following the clear liquid diet, check your blood sugar level often.
    • If you have any other questions, talk with your healthcare provider.
  Drink Do Not Drink
  • Clear broth, bouillon, or consommé
  • Any products with particles of dried food or seasoning
  • Gelatin, such as Jell-O®
  • Flavored ices
  • Hard candies, such as Lifesavers®
  • All others
  • Water
  • Clear fruit juices, such as white cranberry, white grape, or apple
  • Soda, such as 7-Up®, Sprite®, ginger ale, or seltzer
  • Sports drinks, such as Gatorade®
  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • Juice with pulp
  • Nectars
  • Milk or cream
  • Alcoholic beverages

Prepare your MiraLAX bowel preparation

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


Take your MiraLAX bowel preparation

The MiraLAX bowel preparation will cause frequent bowel movements, so be sure to be near a bathroom the evening before your surgery or procedure.

At 3:00 pm on the day before your surgery or procedure, take 1 tablet of bisacodyl with a glass of water, if your doctor or nurse told you to take it.

At 5:00 pm on the day before your surgery or procedure, start drinking the MiraLAX bowel preparation. Drink 1 (8-ounce glass) of the mixture every 15 minutes until the container is empty.

  • When you’re finished drinking the MiraLAX bowel preparation, drink 4 to 6 (8-ounce) glasses of clear liquids. You can continue to drink clear liquids until midnight or until you go to bed, but it isn’t required.
  • Apply petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) or A & D® ointment to the skin around your anus after every bowel movement. This helps prevent irritation.

Eating and drinking after your MiraLAX bowel preparation

  • 12 ounces of water

    Do not eat anything after midnight the night before your surgery or procedure. This includes hard candy and gum.
  • Between midnight and up until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, you may drink a total of 12 ounces of water.
  • Starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, do not eat or drink anything. This includes water.

Take only the medications your healthcare provider instructed you to take with a few sips of water.

Follow any additional instructions your healthcare provider gave you about your surgery or procedure.

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