Diet before colonoscopy – what to eat in preparation for and after the test

Colonoscopy is a non-invasive examination, which allows evaluation of the large intestine mucosa with a special camera, i.e. colonoscope.

When is a colonoscopy performed?

It is performed to detect possible abnormalities in the large intestine (e.g. polyps). Colonoscopy is originally performed to prevent colon cancer. Other indications are:

  • anaemia
  • detected polyps
  • inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • colonic diverticulosis
  • lower gastrointestinal bleeding
  • malabsorption
  • persistent diarrhoea and constipation

According to the data, colonoscopy in 60-90 per cent prevents the development of colorectal cancer, but it must be performed regularly. In people over 50 years of age, a colonoscopy should be done prophylactically every 10 years, and in people at risk (colon cancer in the family) even earlier (after 40 years) and more often.

Diet before colonoscopy – how to prepare for the examination?

The use of an appropriate diet before colonoscopy allows thorough cleaning of the intestine, which determines the proper course of the procedure. Preparations for the examination begin a week before the scheduled date. It is necessary to stop taking iron preparations, and people taking anticoagulants or anti-aggregation drugs must contact the doctor to determine the details of the diet before the procedure. A week before colonoscopy the diet should be easy to digest, which means eliminating fatty, fried and bloated products that burden the gastrointestinal tract.

Diet 3 days before a colonoscopy

Products containing small seeds and grains should be excluded from the diet (they may stick to the surface of the intestinal mucosa and make it difficult to inspect it), such as grapes, kiwi, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, figs, watermelon, tomatoes, flaxseed and red beets.

Preparation for colonoscopy should also include elimination from the menu such products as bread with grains (rolls, bread), dark bread, cakes (with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, nuts) and other products with high fibre content. Fresh, unpeeled fruits and vegetables should also be avoided.

Diet 2 days before a colonoscopy

During this time you should follow a low-residue, semi-liquid diet. The menu may include gruel, jelly, white bread, rice, pasta, cooked meat and fish. You can drink broths, tea, coffee and mineral water. Avoid milk and dairy, vegetables, fruits, and fruit purees.

Fatty meats and sausages, fast food, chips and carbonated drinks are not recommended before colonoscopy. Also, alcohol before a colonoscopy is not a good idea. A no-residue diet will allow for a thorough examination of the colon.

Diet day before colonoscopy

The day before the colonoscopy, a liquid diet of jelly, creamy soups, broth in the form of pure broth is recommended. For breakfast, you can have jelly and drink tea, and for lunch pure vegetable broth (1-2 glasses). You can drink still water, and tea.

The day before colonoscopy a liquid diet is recommended

On the day before a colonoscopy, it is not allowed to drink coffee, alcohol, fruit juices, carbonated drinks and eat chocolate or chocolate candies. A liquid diet before colonoscopy will cleanse the intestines. A laxative prescribed by your doctor is usually taken in the afternoon.

Diet on the day of the colonoscopy

Nothing can be eaten that day – the patient must be fasting before the colonoscopy. You may drink clear liquids. Four hours before the examination you should stop drinking liquids. It is best to go to the examination with an accompanying person.

After the examination you should not drive a car on the way home, do not return alone by bus or other means of transport.

Can you go to work after a colonoscopy?

 It is rather recommended to stay at home because you may feel bloating and cramps throughout the day (you can take a diastolic drug). Also, you may still feel the effects of the anaesthesia.

When and what can you eat after the colonoscopy?

Many patients wonder if it is okay to eat after a colonoscopy. Adequate nutrition after colonoscopy is important, so it is recommended to follow a low-fat, easy-to-digest diet that day. About 2-3 hours after the colonoscopy, you can start drinking fluids and eat a light meal.

The diet after colonoscopy under anaesthesia excludes heavy, fatty and fried foods. Eating regular small meals after colonoscopy will have a beneficial effect on bowel function. Vegetables and fruits should be eaten cooked or baked.