What to Do if You Accidentally Drank Milk Before a Colonoscopy


If you accidentally drank milk before a colonoscopy, you will understand the worry that follows. It is common to forget that you are in the middle of a medical procedure, such as a colonoscopy prep and you eat or drink, when you are supposed to empty your colon and rectum. This may cause the colonoscopy to be rescheduled or cause the procedure to take longer than necessary. However, there is a solution that eliminates the need for rescheduling and reduces your risks during the procedure.

Instruction given to patients before their colonoscopy sessions includes that they avoid food for approximately four hours before their sessions. However, they can take clear liquids, that is, liquids that they can see through, such as water. In recent times, that has changed as studies have shown that yoghurt, milk, and even ice cream, causes no difference in the visibility in the rectum and colon.

Colon - part of the digestive system
The Human Digestive System

In this article, we will discuss what colonoscopy is, the preparation for this medical procedure and what you can do if you accidentally drank milk before your colonoscopy session.

What is Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that uses a device – a colonoscope – that has a camera attached to its send, to investigate abnormalities or changes in the colon (large intestine) and rectum. This medical procedure is usually used to detect polyps and cancerous growths in the colorectal region. It is also used to harvest tissue samples for further testing.

In many cases, a colonoscopy is done to check for colon or rectal (colorectal) cancer, as they are common in men and women that are 50 years or older. They help to detect cancer in the colon and rectum early, if done on schedule. In a related situation, if a patient has an history of polyps, a colonoscopy is recommended to detect and remove additional polyps to lower the risk of colon cancer. Also, a colonoscopy may be necessary in the investigation of intestinal issues, such as chronic diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, among others.

How to Prepare for Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy requires that your doctor has a full view of your colon, as that helps you have a thorough colon check and eliminates the need for a rescheduled colonoscopy. To help you achieve this, you need to prepare for the procedure by following this guideline, that your doctor may give you.

Adjust your medication

Adjusting your medication weeks before the procedure may be necessary if you use pain killers that thin the blood, such as aspirin or warfarin; if you use anticoagulants, such as rivaroxaban; if you are diabetic; if you have any heart condition; if you have high blood pressure.

Inform your doctor of your medication and conditions, so they can help you prepare for your examination. In some cases, you may have to discontinue the medication some days before your colonoscopy, and in other cases, you may have your dosage reduced.

Use a laxative

For a better view, your colon has to be as empty as possible. Laxatives help to facilitate emptying your bowel. Your doctor may recommend taking a pill or liquid laxative the night before your procedure, or in some cases, the night and the following morning, before your colon examination.

Follow a special diet before your examination

Some hours before your scheduled colonoscopy, your colon should be clean. To achieve this, avoid solid foods a day before your examination. However, you can take clear drinks, coffee, and tea without milk or cream, carbonated drinks, and broth.

Avoid red drinks, so your doctor does no confuse them for blood.

Use an enema kit

Sometimes, you may have to use an enema kit that can be gotten over the counter, to empty the lower part of your colon. Although this isn’t the primary way to achieve this, it is an option. Use it the night before your colonoscopy.

What if You Accidentally Drank Milk Before a Colonoscopy?

It is possible to have a cup of tea, some hours before your colonoscopy, and forget that you aren’t supposed to have milk. You may even go as far as having some yoghurt and ice cream, only to realize, as the ice cream melts in your mouth, that you shouldn’t be having them.

According to research, having low residue diet, LRD, is as effective in giving your doctor a full and clear view of your colon as having a clear liquid diet, CLD, one day before your colonoscopy. A low residue diet is a type of diet that limits the consumption of high-fiber foods, such as nuts, seeds, whole grain breads and cereals. However, you can eat grains such as white rice, noodles, wheat cream, plain cracker, and cooked cereals.

You can also have some fruits and vegetables, only avoid their skins and seeds, as they are high in fiber, such as green beans, asparagus tips, mushrooms, pumpkin, carrots, cooked potatoes (remove the skin), and beets. You can also have honeydew, ripe bananas, and avocado.

According to the research, milk and dairy is okay as long as you’re not lactose intolerant.

What does this mean?

It means patients do not have to be extremely restrictive in their diet one day to their colonoscopy. They can eat some foods that have low fiber content and help them move their bowel regularly. Also, they should take laxatives, preferably some six hours before their scheduled colon examination. Therefore, if you’ve had milk before your scheduled colonoscopy, it may not have any significance impact on the success of your examination.

Colonoscopy Procedure
Colonoscopy Procedure

However, inform your doctor once you’ve accidentally drank milk before colonoscopy, as the decision to proceed depends on them.


If you accidentally drank milk before colonoscopy, as it often happens, research suggests that it may not be a big deal after all. It is included in the list of foods categorized as low residue. However, inform your doctor that you’ve had milk and they can decide if they have to reschedule your colon examination, or go on with it.

Bottom line, your mistake doesn’t necessarily mean your examination cannot continue.

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Isreal Olabanji DST RN
Isreal Olabanji DST RNhttps://www.healthsoothe.com
Am Isreal olabanji a dental assistant and public health professionals and has years of experience in assisting the dentist with all sorts of dental issues. We regularly post timely and trustworthy medical information and news. My goal is to enlighten everyone in all aspects of health towards participating in fitness, Dental care, healthy recipes, child health, obstetrics, and more.

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