It is essential that you follow the
instructions given to you. This is for
your own safety and, if not followed,
could result in your procedure being
postponed or cancelled on the day.
NIL BY MOUTH – when to stop eating
and drinking prior to your procedure
The following is applicable if you are
the day of your admission:
You must not have anything to eat from
five hours prior to your admission time;
this includes chewing gum and sweets.*
• You can, and
, continue to drink
water up to one hour before your
• If you are diabetic, please discuss your
fasting times and medications with
*This will ensure that you have been
fasting for the recommended time of
six hours for food and two hours for water,
prior to the time of your procedure.
If you are coming in for a very early
admission time, it is advisable to have
something to eat before going to bed and
get up early enough so you are still able to
have water before your admission time.
If you are having bowel surgery, you will
be given specific instructions by your
Consultant regarding bowel preparation,
diet and nil-by-mouth times – please
ensure you follow these instructions.
YOU SHOULD NOT
drink alcohol for at
least 24 hours before your admission, as
it will alter the effects of an anaesthetic
smoke on the day of surgery.
If you are having a local anaesthetic
You do not need to fast before your
operation or procedure so you may have
a light meal up to two hours before your
Your Consultant will have discussed any
medications you may be taking and will
inform you if you should stop taking them
or continue as usual. If you are unsure,
please contact the Consultant prior to
What if I’m coming in for a colonoscopy?
The preparation is different for
colonoscopy patients, as it is important
you have a clean bowel for the procedure.
Follow your Consultant’s fasting protocol. It
is important to remain adequately hydrated
throughout your bowel preparation, so
up to three litres of water is permitted.
However, you should stop drinking water
two hours before your procedure.
Instructions for your surgery
NIL BY MOUTH – when to stop eating and
drinking prior to your procedure
– when to stop eating and drinking prior to your procedure