What Can You Eat Before a Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that involves using a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope to examine the inner lining of the large intestine and rectum. As daunting and uncomfortable as thinking about getting a colonoscopy may be, colonoscopies are a valuable tool for evaluating and monitoring gastrointestinal conditions. They’re also the most effective way to prevent or detect colorectal cancer early when it’s easiest to cure. Preparing for a colonoscopy will require a little extra work on your part because your colon must be completely clear so your doctor can see any abnormal areas on the bowel wall. Performing the procedure on a clean colon improves the likelihood that your doctor can identify existing problems during the examination. Read on to see what you can eat before a colonoscopy.
The Colonoscopy Diet
Your bowel should be as empty as possible for the examination. For this reason, your doctor may recommend a low-fiber diet beginning several days before a colonoscopy to help prepare your colon. Foods like grains, fruits, and vegetables all include fiber, which the body does not digest. Fiber may cover areas your doctor needs to see if it stays in the digestive tract, leading to an incomplete examination or missed precancerous polyps.
How Do Low-Fiber Foods Help with Colonoscopy Preparation?
Low-fiber foods ease bowel preparation by lessening the amount of undigested food that must pass through your digestive tract. Less debris and undigested food moving through your large intestine will ensure your doctor can thoroughly examine your bowel. Low-fiber food options to enjoy two or three days before your procedure include:
- White bread, pasta and noodles, white rice, and skinless potatoes
- Veggies, canned or well-cooked, without seeds or skin
- Fresh or canned fruit without skins
- Tender, well-cooked meat, poultry, or fish
It is necessary to avoid foods during this time that can interfere with the procedure or make it more difficult to clean the colon. Foods to avoid two or three days before a colonoscopy include:
- Any food containing seeds or nuts
- Whole grain bread or pasta
- Raw fruits and vegetables with skin
- Oatmeal, shredded wheat cereal, and granola
- Corn, broccoli, or cabbage
- Dried beans or peas
- Brown or wild rice
- Meat with gristle or that is difficult to chew
- High-fat foods
The Liquid Diet
A clear liquid diet is recommended one day before a colonoscopy. Clear liquids are transparent fluids you can see through when held up to the light. They are easy to digest and leave minimal residue in the colon. They also help to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances in the days before and after your procedure. Liquid options to enjoy one day before a colonoscopy include:
- Apple or white grape juice
- Clear sports drinks
- Sparkling water
- Clear soup such as beef, chicken, or vegetable broth
- Bone broth and bouillon
- Coffee or tea (without milk)
- Jell-O gelatin (do not use purple or red gelatin)
The following liquids can interfere with the test and should be avoided:
- All red, purple, or blue beverages
- Milk, shakes, smoothies, or dairy products
- Orange, grapefruit, or prune juices
- Any liquids you cannot see through
How Do I Prepare for A Colonoscopy?
Your doctor’s office will provide you with detailed information on how to prepare for your colonoscopy. Reviewing these instructions as soon as you receive them is important for understanding the preparation procedure and what changes to your medications or diet are needed. Call the doctor’s office for clarification if you have any questions about the instructions.
Feel Confident in Your Colonoscopy Preparation Regimen
Following your doctor’s diet and preparation instructions is critical for a successful colonoscopy. It can ensure that your colon is clean and ready for the procedure, improving test accuracy and lowering the chance of complications.
If you have any questions or concerns about the process or want to learn more about having a colonoscopy, call to schedule a consultation today!