What can I eat or drink before colonoscopy?
Dr. Echavarria, what diet do you tell your patients to follow before a colonoscopy? This is very important because a lot of people think that just by taking the bowel prep medication they are going to be clean. And I tell them this is not the case. They actually have to do a couple of things
to prep besides the medication and diet changes are really important here — a couple days prior to the colonoscopy. The things that I tell them is: one, is to do what is called a low residue diet, and I think that’s the new kid on the block
for colonoscopy preparation in the last couple of years. The beauty about the low fiber diet is that they can do that and still eat some solid foods. Those foods are going to be
easily digested in the small bowel and are going to be easily cleaned during the colonoscopy. Now you have to ask your doctor exactly what a full low fiber diet entails. Usually this diet is going to involve foods that tend to not stimulate the bowel as much, so people are going to have less bowel movements when they are on this diet. Any particular foods that you tell the patients to eat and any particular foods that
you tell them to stay away from? Definitely. So that’s key. I tell them to avoid seeds because seeds are not going to be digested. They are going to linger or persist
in the colon during the colonoscopy. I also tell them to try to avoid vegetables — things like broccoli, cauliflower —
basically the greens. The green vegetables are going to tend to stay
in the colon for a longer period of time. Also I tell them to avoid dairy, so milk, cheese — because that’s going to stimulate the bowel — and also some juices like prune juice. The other thing that I tell them, that they have to be on a clear liquid diet — one, two, or even more days prior to the colonoscopy. Usually a clear liquid diet involves fluids that you can see through, fluids that are not red, because the red color can present as blood. For example, we can confuse that
for blood during the colonoscopy. Or other darker colors can obscure the findings.