Can you eat before a CT scan?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can you eat before a CT scan?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Can you eat before a CT scan? 

Yes, you can eat before a CT scan unless your doctor advised you to stop eating before ahead. Generally, if your doctor ordered a CT scan with contrast you should avoid consuming any food three hours before the procedure and you will be recommended to drink clear liquids like water and juice to avoid adverse effects.

But if he prescribed a CT scan without contrast you can eat and take your medications before. The meaning of a CT scan with contrast is that you will be injected with a substance to make the organs clearer to be studied.

Other considerations along with food intake should be taken into consideration before going for a CT scan. First, a CT scan is a type of radiography so pregnant women should avoid undergoing such a test unless they contacted their physician and he was the one requiring this process.

Also, people who experienced any allergic reaction to the contrast media, especially those who had an anaphylactic shock in the past should inform the technician before giving him any solution whether in the mouth or the blood. In case of mild and moderate allergies, the patient can take some medications.

Regarding diabetic patients, they are advised to eat their breakfast at least three hours before the appointment in order to take their medications. After the CT scan, some patients will be advised to stop taking their medications for 48 hours depending on the medication type.

Patients who should do a CT scan need to undergo testing for their kidney function because a solution should be ingested to make the procedure and the scanning clearer. So, if the filtration rate of the kidney is low that means that the kidneys can not get rid of the injectable material.

However, patients with kidney dysfunction or impairment will need hydration therapy through the insertion of an intravenous hydration solution that contains sodium bicarbonate. Thus, the patient is required to stay at least four hours in the department after the CT scan is done.

People wearing jewelry or watches or having a piercing in their chest or abdomen should be removed. Also, the patient is required to take off all his clothes and wear a patient gown because some clothes might have zippers or metal pieces.

What is a CT scan?

CT scan or computerized tomography scan is a non-invasive method that uses the X-ray technique to examine the internal organs and give you a detailed picture of your internal body parts including muscles, bone, vessels, and fat.

Generally, this testing is carried out in hospitals or specialized centers by a radiographer or a radiography technician. You do not need to stay at the hospital after this procedure unless you have already been admitted to the hospital due to a health problem.

Many reasons are behind the need for a CT scan. One of them is the detailed image of your internal organs such as the organs in the abdomen in case of injury, physical trauma, lesion, bleeding, obstruction, or infection. Also, it is used to diagnose cancer or stroke.

In the case of cancer, a CT scan is useful to determine the size, location, and shape of a tumor before undergoing radiotherapy. Also, it allows the physician to take a biopsy of the tumor to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the type of cancer cells to provide the needed treatment.

Moreover, a CT scan can help in monitoring the evaluation of cancer cells and the effectiveness of the disease. To do a CT scan, the patient should lie on his back on a table that looks like a bed. Then, the contrast media or dye is administered through an intravenous solution. 

The patient should remain in his place without doing any movement and the whole process will take about ten to thirty minutes to be completely done. If you are wondering about the amount of radiation you will be exposed to, do not worry as long as you are not exposed regularly to radiation.

So, the more you are exposed to radiation the more your risk of developing cancers will be. But if you did a CT scan for one time in your lifetime, radiation exposure is so minimal, and your risk of developing cancers is not so high.


In this brief guide, we discussed the following question, “ can you eat before a CT scan?” and other queries related to this topic.


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