Having a colonoscopy means the patient has to stop eating his regular diet at least one day before the procedure. The doctor will give the patient a large amount of a laxative preparation to drink that will completely clean out the bowels the day before the colonoscopy. After the procedure, the patient can eat the same day.
Before the Procedure
Before undergoing this procedure, the patient is given special preparations that will completely clean out the bowels so the doctor can see everything in the intestines. He will look for growths or polyps that could indicate cancer.
Patients must stop eating all solid foods for one to two days before the procedure. The only things allowed are clear liquids or clear gelatin. Patients are told to stay away from any deeply colored liquids, such as red, purple or blue beverages. The patient is not allowed to have anything, including liquids, after midnight the night before the colonoscopy. If the patient is on any medications (iron supplements or aspirin), he may be told to stop taking these for one to two weeks before the procedure is scheduled.
During the Procedure
During a colonoscopy, the doctor examines the lower part of the intestines with a camera to study the colon and possibly the small intestine. The camera, called a colonoscope, is inserted into the rectum via the anus. The doctor uses the colonoscope to see the inside of the bowels. If he finds any polyps, he will remove these so they can be biopsied.
Generally, once a patient is discharged from the hospital and begins to recover from anesthetic, he can resume a regular diet. Due to the anesthetic, he might want to resume his regular diet slowly, beginning with liquids until soft foods such as puddings or yogurt can be tolerated. The effects of the anesthesia may cause nausea, which will keep the patient from returning to his regular diet. Drink clear liquids until the nausea subsides. Listen to your body and resume eating with a liquid, soft or “invalid” diet.