Do This – Not That: Bowel Prep Tips for Hysterectomy

Some doctors will order a bowel prep before hysterectomy. There are pros and cons for doing a bowel prep, so your doctor will consider what is best for you when making the decision about whether or not to have you do a bowel prep. Whether or not your surgeon plans to handle your bowel will play a role, along with the type of surgery, any specific health issues you have, surgeon’s experience and preference, and more.

If your doctor orders one, it is important that you follow all of the instructions given to you. Your surgeon will have chosen the bowel prep that s/he feels is the most appropriate for your situation, so if you have any questions or concerns about it you need to speak specifically with the surgeon. Adjusting the bowel prep in any way can allow for some serious risks to your health before, during, and after surgery.

Here are some dos and don’ts that can help you make it through your bowel prep so you’ll be ready for your hysterectomy!


  • Follow your surgeon’s instructions for you.
  • Spruce up your bathroom since you’ll be spending some extra time there!
  • Buy some new magazines to keep in the bathroom on bowel prep day.
  • Use moist toilette wipes and ointment to help with rawness.
  • Put any liquid you need to drink in the fridge–or if it is salty, put it in the freezer.
  • Drink the liquid prep with a straw.
  • For a bowel prep liquid diet, alternate sweets and soups for variety.
  • Stay hydrated with more than just water.
  • Finish all of the bowel prep.


  • Don’t adjust your bowel prep in any way.
  • Don’t eat solids, dairy, or pulp if you are also on a liquid diet.
  • Don’t change the time of your bowel prep.
  • Don’t skip any prescribed enemas.
  • Don’t try to work or go shopping during your prep.
  • Don’t panic if it doesn’t work right away.
  • Don’t create your own bowel prep.
  • Don’t forget to drink, drink, drink.
  • Don’t lie to your medical team about whether or not you completed the prep as instructed.

There are many reasons why a bowel prep may or may not be ordered, so it is very important for your health and safety that you follow your doctor’s orders for you no matter what anyone else has done. You should also share with your doctor any health concerns you have which could affect your bowel prep e.g. diabetes, hypoglycemia, bowel conditions, or kidney disease. In some cases, the bowel prep may be altered by your surgeon for those conditions.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Do This – Not That: Bowel Prep Tips for Hysterectomy

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