Magnesium citrate has a laxative effect that causes diarrhea during bowel prep prior to surgical procedures such as a colonoscopy, according to Harvard Health Publications. The laxative is one of the parts of the preparation procedure that begins several days before surgery. The preferred method of preparation includes splitting the laxative dose, taking the first half the day before the procedure and the second half a few hours prior to it.
Several days before the procedure, individuals should change to a low-fiber diet, recommends Harvard Health Publications. On the day before it occurs, change to a clear liquid diet. This diet includes water, coffee or tea without cream, broth, and sports drinks. Jell-O and Popsicles help make the diet less boring.
Magnesium citrate is highly effective, warns Harvard Health Publications. Once an individual takes the first dose, he should stay home and close to a bathroom, as controlling the diarrhea it causes is difficult. It may be helpful to stock the bathroom with adult wipes and petroleum jelly before beginning the prep.
While the preparation is often the most dreaded part of these types of procedures, it is worth the time the patient spends, according to Harvard Health Publications. A colonoscopy has the potential to locate small cancerous growths early, allowing patients the best chance at effective treatment and recovery.