Bowel prep seizures can occur with any bowel cleansing agent. All bowel cleansing agents have the potential to cause seizures because they all affect body electrolytes. They all cause diarrhea. Therefore, they can cause dehydration.
What are seizures?
Seizures are abnormal brain activities that can be provoked or unprovoked. Symptoms of seizures are staring, convulsions, muscle twitches, strange sensations, weird emotions, odd behavior and loss of consciousness. Symptoms vary depending on the part of the brain that is affected.
Seizures can be due to epilepsy or a variety of diseases that affect the body. Diseases like stroke, heart attack, brain tumor, dehydration, diarrhea, infection, parasites, electrolyte imbalance and many others.
What are the types of seizures?
- Focal seizures
- Generalized seizures
Common side effects of bowel prep
- Abdominal distention.
- Abdominal cramps.
- Abnormal electrolytes like low potassium, low sodium, low magnesium and low chloride. These can cause seizures.
Who should not be prepped for colonoscopy
- Patients with hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients of the the bowel cleansing agent.
- Those with a gastrointestinal obstruction that will prevent passage of liquid into the intestine.
- Patients with an ileus.
- Unconscious patients. In some instances, bowel cleansing agent can be given through a nasogastric tube.
- Inability to swallow. In certain cases, bowel cleansing agent can be given through a nasogastric tube.
- Patients with toxic colitis or toxic megacolon.
Which bowel cleansing agents should be avoided by people with seizures?
All bowel cleansing agents can cause seizures. This is because they can cause electrolyte imbalance, diarrhea and dehydration. You should avoid sodium phosphate products like Fleet Phospho Soda, Visicol, and Osmoprep. The Miralax-Gatorade bowel prep is popular among patients. However, it can cause severe low blood sodium and is not FDA approved for bowel cleansing prior to colonoscopy. It is approved for constipation and it has the same active ingredient as Golytely.
When preparing for colonoscopy, you should stay hydrated.
How to prep for colonoscopy when you have seizure problems
- If you have ever had seizures before, let your doctor know.
- Do not schedule colonoscopy if you’re having new seizures or worsening of your seizures.
- Let your doctor know about your seizures. How frequent? When was the last one? What medications do you take?
- Avoid medications that can lower your seizure threshold. Stay away from alcohol and illicit drugs.
- Do not use sodium phosphate products as a bowel cleansing agent.
- Take the bowel cleansing agent using the split dose bowel prep regimen.
- Keep yourself hydrated with clear liquid diet throughout the bowel cleansing process.
- Use your seizure medications as prescribed. Do not stop your seizure medications for colonoscopy.