Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Electrolytes

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What are PEG and electrolytes?

PEG and electrolytes are oral solutions used prior to colonoscopy and other examinations or procedures to cleanse the intestines, in particular, the large bowel or colon. The PEG remains in the intestines where it retains water by producing an osmotic effect. This causes a watery stool, in fact, diarrhea, which rapidly cleanses the bowel within hours. Polyethylene 3350 is used in all of the formulations. Since electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc.) are lost with diarrhea, electrolytes are added to the PEG to replace or prevent the losses. The electrolytes and their concentrations may vary from product-to-product. PEG and electrolyte containing products are mixed with water and drunk for the cleanse.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/19/2014

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