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Preparing for a colonoscopy - low residue diet

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On 6/11 I have some procedures scheduled.  They'll be doing an endoscopy and a colonoscopy.  The instructions for preparing for these tests say that 5 days prior, I must adhere to a "low residue" diet.  They specifically mention no nuts, seeds or popcorn, and no fiber supplements.

Normally my diet is high fiber.  I eat beans and vegetables almost every day and only whole grains.  I'm thinking that for those 5 days I'm going to have to stick to white rice, potatoes without their jackets and mushy vegetables like overcooked carrots.  There isn't anything said about meats or fats, so I assume they are ok.  I'll be calling the doctor for more specific instructions but would like some feedback from others.

Has anyone else had these tests, and what did you eliminate from your diet beforehand?

17 Replies (last)
oh my goodness, let me know how the colonoscopy goes...I'm 23 and I have to get one this year because my mom had a cancerous polyp...I don't want to go!

I have a heart condition, so I'm afraid to go under when it's not absolutely necessary,

I'm terrified of needles, and they have to use an IV to put me under,

AND I don't think I could drink that metallic salty shake they make you down in the days before...

It just seems like a big horrific event and everyone keeps telling me it's not a big deal (most people aren't afraid of needles the way I am, don't have heart conditions and think nothing of holding their nose and downing a nasty shake).

Tell me something to make me feel better about it!!! AAAH!

Sorry. Anyways, my mom wasn't allowed to eat red jello the night before, because if she did, they could mistake the jello for blood in her system. So I'd imagine highly colored foods wouldn't be the best.

Good luck!
Nothing with red or purple food dye, for sure! If you have any specific questions you can send me a message. I've had many types many times.

Shakti, you don't necessarily need to be put under, and I'm sure the doc would not do it if he thought it was unsafe. You are barely sleeping. In many cases, a nurse stands there with a syringe in your IV port and gives you a little more drug every time you start to wake up, until the procedure is over. It's not like they induce a coma!

Here are some recent threads about scopes and preps: 3.html 9.html 3.html

Hey, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but when I was in the hospital, I had to have a colonoscopy. and oh my God it was the worst experience of my entire life!!!!! I'm sure it will be alot different for you guys because you can do all the prep in the privacy of your own home ( and bathroom) The stuff they make you drink tastes like warm, salty, rancid milk and you have to drink soooo much of it and then you have diarrehea for what seems like forever. I had to have 2 because the first time I wasn't "cleaned out enough" so they made me drink even more stuff. Oh, and I had a roomate and we had to share a bathroom, and keep in mind, every 10 minutes when I jumped up to go to the bathroom, I had to haul my I.V. with me as well as a heart moniter!! Sorry for such a long post but my colonoscopy experience was a complete nightmare but that was mainly because I had to go through all of it while in the hospital.Frown

gee, thanks zsazsa!  You made me feel so much better! I have to have the procedure in the hospital because I have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted, but I'm told I can go home the same day unless there are problems.  The day of the procedure prep is all done at home and involves clear Gatoraid Rain and laxatives, not the liquid they formerly made people drink. 

So far I have stockpiled white grape juice, clear apple juice, clear white cranberry juice and chicken broth. And I have my Gatoraid Rain. I normally hate jello, but I'm thinking about getting some of the white grape flavor.  I'll also get some plain seltzer in case I crave something fizzy.

The five days before I'm thinking of some things I can make that are low fiber.  I'm not going to worry about calories at all.

I had a colonoscopy at 19 and, while the prep was very harsh, the drugs that put you 'under' are fantastic. I have a very difficult time with anesthesia but this didn't upset my stomach at all. It is invasive but it's just something to go through to make sure you're healthy.

I will also mention that I HATE the hospital and am terrified of IVs and while I don't have terribly pleasant memories of the colonoscopy, I don't have horror stories either. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about any worries or discomfort.

the colonoscopy itself isn't bad -- it's the prep that sucks!!

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Here's some good news.  I just had a colonoscopy today and as far as I'm concerned it was a piece of cake.  As far as the prep goes, all I had to do was follow the instructions on a Fleet Prep Kit #3 package which was to limit my food intake for 24 hours to a light breakfast the day before and clear liquids for the rest of the time then drink a 12 mix of liquid laxative mixed with a Sprite which tasted fine then take 4 tiny pills the night before and in the morning take an enema which while seeming to be embarrasing is really no big deal unless you make it a big deal.

The procedure itself was painless, totally painless unless you count the little stink when they insert the IV needle but the pain of needle sticks are more in the fear and anticipation than in the actual insertion of the needle as far as I'm concerned.

Don't make a big deal out of this procedure.  It is really very simple and painless and the benefits of having it done are well worth any concern.

Thank you mgump!  I'm reassured.  The prep procedure they gave me is a little different and involves laxatives and a huge amount of Gatoraid.  This is very different from what my mother went through, sitting in a waiting room, in a hospital gown, drinking down a huge bottle of some nasty stuff right before the procedure.

I've been stuck with needles so many times it's no big deal.  However, they always have a hard time finding a good vein for IVs and it does hurt.  But once that IV is in, then you can be sedated and everybody tells me that the procedure is no big deal.

I think I'm mentally prepared now.

I've had a couple colonoscopies and an endoscopy. I can identify with the IV/needle thing...hate them. I found out one of the reasons they had trouble finding a vein was because I was so dehydrated.This was after a 48 hr colon cleanse. 

Yes, once you are sedated you don't know what's going on. Go to your happy place till it's all over. I know this is a stupid thing to say bc i've been there but.....try to relax.

You'll do great!!

Now's your chance to catch up on eating white bread, a kazillion of those breakfast type bars have hardly any fiber, candy, white rice/potatoes (like you said).  Look at it this way -- a few days of highly processed food that you have pretty much banished from your way of living.

I think the doctor or the techs will give you better ideas when you speak with them

Oh, honey, don't worry about the colonoscopy.  I've had 4 so far and the prep is much worse than the actual colonoscopy.  My family also has a history of polyps.  When I had my first colonoscopy, I had two polyps which the doctor removed right away.  The remaining colonoscopies were to see if I grew any more.  Didn't, thank goodness.

Just do what your doctors says and you will breeze right through the procedure.  I'm sure there are many horror stories out there but your experience is yours only. 

Being put asleep was the best part of it!


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I have had both tests and didn't eliminate anything from my diet wasn't told to. Two days before I started with a laxative and then the day before in the morning did an enema and was just fine. Good luck...I know it can be a bit scary.

Original Post by coach_k:

Now's your chance to catch up on eating white bread, a kazillion of those breakfast type bars have hardly any fiber, candy, white rice/potatoes (like you said).  Look at it this way -- a few days of highly processed food that you have pretty much banished from your way of living.

I think the doctor or the techs will give you better ideas when you speak with them

 Thanks coach k!  I actually bought an old favorite cereal - Rice Chex. It has zero fiber.  I stopped eating it when I converted to a high fiber diet and discovered the joys of whole grains, so as you say, now's my chance to have it as a treat. 

The physician assistant says, avoid too much insoluable fiber beforehand, but vegetables are ok. 

I'm sixteen and had a colonoscopy/endoscopy six months ago, when I was fifteen [so it may be a little different for me than it is for you, since i'm younger, but probably the basics are still there]

just a word of comfort: the prep is the worst part. drinking the nasty stuff, feeling like you cannot drink any more of it, wanting to spit it back's bad. The drug they put you on is Versed, usually, which is just a drug that keeps you awake but makes you forget everything....I remember it being like a blur, a whirlwind around me, and then it was over. by the time i had my procedure i wasn't eating much anyway, my Crohn's disease was pretty bad and I was nauseous the whole time...I'd recommend starting the prep early, unless you already have really good bowel movements/your bowels generally behave well. ;) don't go contrary to the doctor, of course, but I recall having difficulty getting the initial bowel movement to come out.

by the time you stop having bowel movements it's basically water and it feels very weird, but at the end you will have nice pictures of your lovely colon [hopefully squeaky clean.] I named mine, since it's given me so much trouble.Laughing

his name is Eustace the colon, and he is behaving pretty well these days. You people probably think I'm crazy, naming my organs and stuff, but you know...what else can you do?

good luck with your procedure, I'm sure it will go well. :)

I too had a colonoscopy...just about 6 months ago I think.  The prep is definitely the worst part.  It was great in one respect.  I splurged and had my favorite Panda Express meal the night before I started my "prep" for it.  It was all going to go through my system anyways (or so I convinced myself).  I wasn't in any pain ever related to the procedure...I was a little bloated afterwards, but that's about all.  Sorry I don't really have any food suggestions for you!  Hope it goes well.



You dont "have" to have one.  It is your choice despite what the medical professionals tell you.  Its your body - you decide.  If you dont want it, just say no.  I have never had, and will never have, any invasive treatment, procedure regardless.  I will take my chances.

Seriously -- a reply on a thread from May 2008? 

More than half these folks have not logged in for more than a year -- including the OP, who passed away last year...

17 Replies