Letters to the Editor

Tips for the GI Prep Based on a Physician's Own Experience


Am Fam Physician. 2000 Sep 1;62(5):957a-958.

to the editor: “Doc, the GI ‘prep’ is worse than the procedure.” For 24 years, I'd heard this from patients. Recently, I personally learned that this was true. As a result of the experience, I believe it would be wise for all physicians who recommend gastrointestinal (GI) preps for patients to first endure one themselves.

There are several learning points. First, the taste of the oral solution is not what one would call good. My gut reaction was to chill it, squeeze the juice of a lemon into it and then use a straw to deposit it as far back in my mouth as I could. This helped tremendously.

Closely following this, I encountered another gut reaction: stuff, watery stuff, lots of watery stuff. The volume and frequency of the watery stuff (as inconvenient as it was) was not the problem, however. The problem was the intense burning in the perianal area. After about one half hour of this, I happened to notice our six-month-old child's zinc oxide. Within seconds of applying zinc oxide to the affected area, all pain was gone, and as long as I reapplied it after each gush of liquid, there was no further pain!

I highly recommend that physicians amend their colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy protocols to add ice, lemon juice and a straw to the front end and zinc oxide to the rear end of the GI prep.

Send letters to afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680. Include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online.



Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions


May 2022

Access the latest issue of American Family Physician

Read the Issue

Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

Sign Up Now

Navigate this Article