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Dave Barry

An easier way to go

Easing the prep for a colonoscopy

The most dreaded part of a colonoscopy is prepping for it. The day before the exam, patients often drink large amounts of a vile-tasting liquid, then it's off to the throne for the better part of the day and night.

Though unpleasant, this extreme intestinal purging is a critical part of the process. The more thoroughly the colon is cleaned out beforehand, the easier it is for a doctor to detect and remove potentially dangerous precancerous polyps.

Colonoscopies, or exams of the lining of the rectum and large intestine through a flexible tube called a colonoscope, are recommended for everyone starting at age 50 and every 10 years after that. But the prep can be so nasty and...