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What Can I Eat 2 Days Before a Colonoscopy?

author image Sharon Perkins
A registered nurse with more than 25 years of experience in oncology, labor/delivery, neonatal intensive care, infertility and ophthalmology, Sharon Perkins has also coauthored and edited numerous health books for the Wiley "Dummies" series. Perkins also has extensive experience working in home health with medically fragile pediatric patients.
What Can I Eat 2 Days Before a Colonoscopy?
Patients avoid foods that may hinder colon-cleaning. Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Preparing for your colonoscopy is something to take seriously and usually begins two days before your scheduled procedure. You are required to restrict your diet and may need to change your medication routine. The goal is to empty your colon so that it's prepared for the procedure. It's crucial to follow the preparation instructions that your physician provides, especially because instructions may vary slightly based on your unique circumstances.

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Your large intestine, or colon, is a part of your digestive system that absorbs water, salt ant nutrients from the stool and passes waste material along to the rectum. The most common reason physicians recommend a colonoscopy is to look for polyps, or growths on the surface of the small intestines. (See Ref 2) The majority of polyps pose no harm, but a small chance exists that certain polyps can go on to become cancer over a period of several years. (See Ref 2)

Dietary Restrictions

Two days before your colonoscopy, certain foods are restricted. Texas A&M Health Science Center advises its patients to refrain from eating beans, peas, corn, nuts, popcorn, okra or tomatoes, two to three days prior. (See Ref 1 page 4) The seeds from these foods can stick to your intestinal walls and prevent you from having a clean colon on the day of your procedure. (See Ref 1 page 4) Boston Medical Center advises its patients to exclude whole grains, seeds of any type and green vegetables. (See Ref 2) You're allowed to eat anything that's not on the restricted list your doctor provides.

Water Intake

It is crucial to make sure to drink enough water in preparation for your colonoscopy to help wash food through your system. Patients need to drink eight glasses of water throughout the day, two days before the procedure, according to Boston Medical Center. (See Ref 2) Aside from getting from your regular eight glasses, extra fluid is beneficial, according to Texas A&M Health Science Center. (See Ref 1 page 4) Even an additional 8 to 16 ounces can benefit you, according to Texas A&M. (See Ref 1 page 4)

Other Things to Expect

Your doctor may advise that you stop taking certain medication or supplements such as iron, aspirin and the blood thinner warfarin up to six days before the procedure. (See Ref 1 page 1) Avoid stopping any medication without first confirming it with your gastroenterologist and primary-care physician. The day before your procedure you can expect to follow a liquid diet consisting of clear, sugar-free liquids that are not red or purple, according to Texas A&M (See Ref 2 pg 5) Some examples include bouillon, coffee without milk or non-dairy cream, and sugar-free soft drinks. (See Ref 2 pg 5) You're not allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure. (See Ref 2 pg 5)

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