Is Alcohol Permitted on a Clear Liquid Diet Before a Colonoscopy?

Glass of beer
Cold beer in a glass. (Image: Magone/iStock/Getty Images)

Before a colonoscopy, the large intestines must be emptied to allow clear visibility and be void of obstructions. A clear liquid diet is usually required for one to two days before the procedure. Some alcoholic beverages are clear, so you may wonder whether you are allowed to drink them before your scheduled colonoscopy. Follow your doctor's instructions to ensure your colonoscopy results are accurate and the procedure does not have to be repeated.

Considerations

Though you may want to enjoy a cold beer before a colonoscopy to calm your nerves, beer and other alcoholic beverages encourage dehydration because they cause you kidneys to produce more urine. This effect can lead to your spending extra time in the bathroom before your procedure, an unwelcome addition time you'll already need to cleanse your colon. Dehydration can cause other unpleasant side effects, such as excess sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, which could complicate your ability to undergo a colonoscopy the following day.

Drug Interactions

If you're taking any medications, such as painkillers, drinking alcohol can interact with these drugs, potentially reducing or increasing their effects, or causing other problems. Also, your doctor will give you sedatives during a colonoscopy. Mixing these drugs with alcohol is inadvisable and can cause harmful side effects, including lowering your respiration, a potentially dangerous complication. The sedatives may remain in your body up to 24 hours after a colonoscopy. Wait a full day or more after a colonoscopy before enjoying an alcoholic beverage.

Alcohol Intake

Once you begin a clear liquid diet, most health professionals will advise you to avoid alcoholic beverages. Still, some doctors may OK a glass of white wine or beer before a colonscopy, according to Gastroenterology Associates of Ithaca. Ask your doctor for specifics about your clear liquid diet. Ask whether alcohol is permitted, and for how long before your exam.

Guidelines

If your doctor says you can drink some alcohol before your colonoscopy, minimize the amount you consume and do not drink red wine or other alcoholic beverages that are red or purple. The color may be confused with blood during the colonoscopy. Several hours before the exam, you are not permitted to eat or drink. Follow all your doctor's instructions about diet before and after the colonoscopy.

Safe Liquids

It is important to stay hydrated before the procedure. Water, clear sports drinks, clear juices and broths are ideal for the day before your procedure. They also fuel your body with the correct electrolyte balance. Ice pops, gelatin and clear, hard candy are also allowed on a clear liquid diet, according to West Shore Endoscopy Center. Avoid red or purple liquids, since their color could be interpreted as the presence of blood in your colon during the procedure. If your mouth becomes dry, suck on crushed ice.

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