Should I gorge prior to fasting?
March 6, 2009 3:26 PM   Subscribe

How much should I eat in the days prior to fasting for a colonoscopy? My procedure is 2:00PM Tuesday (groan) so I'm being told "no solid foods after midnight Sunday night." I'm dreading working all day Monday with no food and then having to go all morning/early afternoon Tuesday. Does anyone know if it will help reduce the hunger if I gorge on Saturday and Sunday, and whether or not there are reasons not to do so.

As an aside - this is my first post; I truly had much grander aspirations for how I'd use this site but...
posted by robverb to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Having done fasts in the past, I can tell you from experience that gorging beforehand actually made me far hungrier than the times I ate normally beforehand. Also, you're going to be happy to have less solid matter in your system when it comes time to take the laxative formula the day before the procedure.
posted by meerkatty at 3:32 PM on March 6, 2009

My wife, a 25 year RN, would tell you to follow your doctor's orders to the letter. What you do between now and the point when the orders kick in is up to you.
posted by imjustsaying at 3:34 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Andecdotal, but when I gorge on, say, Thanksgiving, I am starving the next day.

If no solid food means you can still have stuff like milk, or protein shakes, or....yogurt? jello?, then you don't have to go all day Monday with no food. Just no food that requires chewing. Check with your doc about specifically what you're allowed/not allowed to consume.
posted by rtha at 3:45 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: I've done this in the past before surgical procedures (although not the one that you're talking about) and I think that gorging isn't a good idea. You'll get really, really hungry. You should eat normally, but you probably want to eat just before midnight (or at least that's what I've done in the past.) You're lucky is as much as I think you can probably get away with having shakes etc. so it's not a total fast.
posted by ob at 3:49 PM on March 6, 2009

Yeah, gorging will have the opposite effect. I suggest eating lightly beforehand...I know having fasted before myself that at a certain point you just quit being hungry. From what you posted it looks like you can have clear liquids like juice which will definitely help you.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:52 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: My dad had a colonoscopy recently and was in the hospital at the time. They gave him normal food before the required fast time, then food that was essentially the consistency of baby food for a day before the procedure. Ask your doctor what "no solid food" means, specifically. They may mean liquids only or they may mean you can eat pureed stuff. He had mashed potatoes and applesauce and pretty much all the liquid he could drink before his. Of course the laxative formula they gave him beforehand had him on the toilet so much he couldn't eat much of anything before the procedure. He just didn't have time, because he was on the can so often. YMMV, of course.
posted by bedhead at 4:03 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: Don't gorge. What you want to do is slowly step down your food intake between now and when you have to stop eating.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2009

I assume they have prescribed you a colonscopy prep kit such as Golytely (Colyte, Nulytely), Osmo-Prep or Visicol to "clean out" your system?

I had my first colonscopy a few months ago. In my case I was able to eat up until 24-hours before the procedure. From that point forward I could only drink clear liquids.

About 16-hours before the colonoscopy I started the "prep kit."

BTW -- as a "scaredy-cat," I loathe hospital/doctor visits. As it turned out, the least pleasant aspect was the "cleansing regimen" and not the "snake up the bunghole" (of which I have no recollection, thanks to the sedation). But(t), to be honest, even the cleansing wasn't that uncomfortable.
posted by ericb at 4:06 PM on March 6, 2009

Just for what it's worth, I didn't think the preparation for my colonoscopy was as bad as I expected it to be.

All you ever hear is that "the procedure is a piece of cake but the preparation is miserable."

I just found the prep a minor to medium level bummer.

After my wife got me back home afterwords, I had a three egg mushroom omelet, six slices of bacon, and four pieces of buttered toast.

That was one of the better meals I've ever had in my 55 years.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:16 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The procedure is a cakewalk. Don't gorge. You'll feel no difference in your hunger and you may conceivably cause the procedure to be suboptimal if you don't flush all that waste out of your system. Eat a normal diet, then start your fast. It feels weird at first, but it's not as though millions of people don't do it unwillingly on a regular basis. Treat it as an experience. Chicken broth was my defense, at least until the sight of it made me ill. And chewing gum during the consumption of the laxative helps the taste.
posted by docpops at 4:19 PM on March 6, 2009

And pick up some baby wipes for the prep day.
posted by docpops at 4:20 PM on March 6, 2009

Best answer: I just had a colonoscopy last week.

I suggest eating normal between now and your fasting day. It all has to come out eventually anyway. The less there is, the fewer times you'll be visiting the rest room.

On your fasting day, you will be drinking a lot of fluids. In my case, about 96 oz. water, and 64 oz. Gatorade. With that much fluid in me, I wasn't as hungry as I thought I would be.

The prep really wasn't too bad. Simply be prepared to spend a lot of time back and forth to the rest room for about six hours until your bowels are completely empty. The body really enjoys a nice purging every now and then anyway.

The colonoscopy itself is a piece of cake. As ericb mentioned above, you won't know a thing about it because you're out while they're performing the procedure. There was no pain, discomfort or sickness whatsoever afterward, and everything was back to normal the same day.

I did ask for a note for work saying that my head was not, in fact, up there.
posted by netbros at 4:34 PM on March 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Best answer: GIGO applies to bodies, too! (Garbage in, garbage out). I, personally, would eat lightly--less to come out. But it's your body! Also, remember to go easy with eating after the colonoscopy so you don't get diarrhea.
posted by 6:1 at 5:16 PM on March 6, 2009

Definitely don't gorge! I've had three colonoscopies in the past two years. You are going to be hungry. The prep for the scope is not fun at all, but you can do it! You're not going to want jello or popsicles for a while afterwards. Good luck!
posted by majikstreet at 5:24 PM on March 6, 2009

I've done the fasting and had the colonoscopy. Don't gorge.

Also, the fasting isn't as bad as you think. After you've missed a couple of meals, your body seems to realise that there isn't going to be any food any time soon, and the hunger dissipates.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:49 PM on March 6, 2009

Nthing what everyone says - don't gorge, it is not as bad as you think, and the prep is not fun but not horrible either. Tuesday you will not be particularly hungry nor will you be worrying about eating. Keep in mind that the purpose in clearing you out is so that they can get a good view with the colonoscopy, so you really do want to follow the diet and prep guidelines to the letter, or they won't be able to do the test.
posted by gudrun at 10:06 PM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: Thank all of you for taking the time to respond to my question. I think the consensus is pretty darned clear. (I would insert a pun there related to the prep, but I'll just leave it to your collective imaginations)
posted by robverb at 5:51 AM on March 7, 2009

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