Dr. Echavarria, what diet do you tell
your patients to follow before a colonoscopy?
This is very important because a lot of people think
that just by taking the bowel prep medication
they are going to be clean.
And I tell them this is not the case.
They actually have to do a couple of things to prep besides the medication
and diet changes are really important here —
a couple days prior to the colonoscopy.
The things that I tell them is: one,
is to do what is called a low residue diet,
and I think that's the new kid on the block for colonoscopy preparation
in the last couple of years.
The beauty about the low fiber diet is that
they can do that and still eat some solid foods.
Those foods are going to be easily digested in the small bowel
and are going to be easily cleaned during the colonoscopy.
Now you have to ask your doctor exactly
what a full low fiber diet entails.
Usually this diet is going to involve foods
that tend to not stimulate the bowel as much,
so people are going to have less bowel movements
when they are on this diet.
Any particular foods that you tell the patients to eat
and any particular foods that you tell them to stay away from?
Definitely. So that's key.
I tell them to avoid seeds
because seeds are not going to be digested.
They are going to linger or persist in the colon during the colonoscopy.
I also tell them to try to avoid vegetables —
things like broccoli, cauliflower — basically the greens.
The green vegetables are going to tend to stay in the colon for a longer period of time.
Also I tell them to avoid dairy,
so milk, cheese —
because that's going to stimulate the bowel —
and also some juices like prune juice.
The other thing that I tell them,
that they have to be on a clear liquid diet —
one, two, or even more days prior to the colonoscopy.
Usually a clear liquid diet involves fluids
that you can see through,
fluids that are not red,
because the red color can present as blood.
For example, we can confuse that for blood during the colonoscopy.
Or other darker colors can obscure the findings.