This handout explains the steps you need to follow for your bowel prep as you prepare your bowel for surgery.

Clear Liquid Diet

“Clear liquid” means no sediment, no fiber, and no pulp. Clear does not mean colorless. A clear liquid diet includes:

  • Water

  • Jell-O®-homemade only

  • Popsicles-no fruit fiber

  • Sparkling water or soda

  • Broth or bouillon

  • Crystal Light®

  • Juice-no pulp (apple okay, no orange)

  • Hard candy

  • Coffee or tea, no creamer – sugar is OK

  • Gatorade® or other clear sports drink

  • No alcohol or dairy products

  • Ensure Clear® (protein drink)

2 Days Before Surgery

Follow the instructions on your checklist and purchase the Bisacodyl Laxative, MiraLAX®, Gatorade® or Powerade, Fleets® Phosphate Enema, Ensure Clear®

Pick up the antibiotics neomycin and metronidazole. Prescriptions for these will be sent to your preferred pharmacy.

Day Before Surgery

Follow the schedule on your checklist for completing your bowel prep. Clear your schedule of other duties for the day.

Clear Liquids

Drink only clear liquids all day. Nothing solid by mouth.


Take your bisacodyl tablets in the morning. Do not chew or crush. If you take morning medicine, it is okay to take them with the bisacodyl.

Other Medicines

If you take scheduled medicines, take them at least 1 hour or more before or after drinking the prep.

Bowel Prep

Follow your ERAS Bowel Prep Checklist. You will start drinking the prep around noon (12 PM). You may feel some cramps in your lower abdomen while drinking the MiraLAX.


Take your antibiotics today if needed. Follow the schedule on your ERAS Bowel Prep Checklist not the instructions on the pill bottles. Call if you have questions. A dose of antibiotics is usually 3 tablets of metronidazole and 2 tablets of neomycin.

Ensure Clear®

Drink 3 bottles of Ensure Clear® starting 1-2 hours after you finish drinking the prep. If you are taking antibiotics as part of the prep, you may take them with Ensure Clear®. Save the 4th bottle of Ensure Clear® for the morning of surgery.

Skin Prep

Before bed, you will take your first shower using Hibiclens® medicated wash.

The Morning of Surgery

Follow the schedule on your ERAS Bowel Prep Checklist and follow the details the nurse from First Day Surgery gave you. If you can have clear liquids until 2 hours before the surgery, refer to the clear liquids list.


Take approved medicines.

Ensure Clear®

Drink the 4th bottle of Ensure Clear® (10 oz.) 4 hours before surgery.

Fleets® Enema

Give yourself a Fleets® enema at least one hour before you leave for the hospital.

Skin Prep

Take shower #2 using Hibiclens® medicated wash.

When to Call

Please call if you have:

  • Questions about your prep instructions

  • Steady stomach pain

  • Light-headedness or dizziness

  • No bowel movements

  • Problems drinking the prep

Who to Call

Digestive Health Center
608-242-2800 or 1-855-342-9900

After hours, holidays and weekends ask for the doctor on call.