Avoid these foods before a colonoscopy

Avoid these foods before a colonoscopy

When it comes to colonoscopies, many people dread the preparation more than the procedure. That’s because the contents of the colon need to be emptied before a colonoscopy can be performed, with the exception of a limited amount of low residue foods, which means bowel preparation is needed.

Colonoscopies are recommended beginning at age 45 for individuals who are considered to be at average risk of colon cancer. With regular screening, colonoscopies can help prevent up to 70 percent of colon cancer when detected at an early age.

Dr. Rajesh Sharma, a gastroenterologist at Aurora Health Center in Two Rivers, advises eating a low-residue diet the day before your procedure to make preparation easier.

“Low residue foods are low in fiber, which essentially means fewer and smaller bowel movements,” he explains. “These include scrambled eggs, toast, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, vanilla ice cream or pudding, broth without noodles and clear liquids.”

Dr. Sharma also advises avoiding raw vegetables and seeds, as they can clog the colonoscopy scope and make it difficult to clean the tool.

When it comes to bowel preparation medications, there are many options available. Your doctor will help determine what is most appropriate for you. Low-volume products, which include familiar names like Miralax, offer the opportunity to consume smaller amounts of product to make preparation a more comfortable experience, pill preparation is also another option.

“At the end of the day, bowel preparation and the colonoscopy itself are more than worth it when it comes to preventing and detecting colon cancer,” Dr. Sharma says.

Take our colorectal health assessment to determine your estimated lifetime risk of colorectal cancer and whether an evaluation is right for you.

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is the public affairs coordinator at Advocate Children's Hospital. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.