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Colonoscopy: Virtual Test Requires Four Pills Instead Of Laxatives At Mayo Clinic

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The unpleasant "cleaning out" process required before undergoing that test we all love to hate just got a whole lot easier to swallow. A Mayo Clinic in Phoenix now requires patients to take just four pills instead of two or more liters of laxatives when getting a virtual colonoscopy.

Taking four pills of the laxative bisacodyl is a vast upgrade for anyone who's had the (dis)pleasure of downing liters of the extra-strength laxatives previously used to eliminate all waste from your gut. These tablets still leave the virtual colonoscopy's probe-assisted CT scan clear to search for any pre-cancerous polyps or other diseases potentially lying in wait in your colon and rectum.

It's an improvement that may encourage more post 50s to get virtual colonoscopies, now that one of the most unpleasant parts of the process has been eliminated, said Dr. C. Daniel Johnson, chair of the department of radiology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

"Our hope is that this will make people less anxious and more likely to get screened and will ultimately result in fewer deaths from colorectal cancer," Johnson noted in a press release.

If the four-pill prep becomes the standard, we doubt many will miss taking cleaning agents like MoviPrep, a "nuclear laxative" that tastes like "a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon," as humorist Dave Barry described the colonoscopy brew.

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Pills replace liters of laxative for some colonoscopies