How to drink contrast for ct scan?

So, you have a CT scan coming up and your doctor has told you that you need to drink some liquid contrast beforehand. First of all, congratulations on being interesting enough to require a CT scan! And secondly, don’t worry- drinking the contrast isn’t as bad as it sounds.

What is Liquid Contrast?

Contrast is essentially just a fancy way of saying “stuff doctors use to make things show up better on scans.” The liquid form is commonly used for CT scans and contains iodine.

Why Do I Need It?

Drinking the contrast allows the radiologist (the person reading your scan) to see certain organs or tissues more clearly. It can also help identify any abnormal growths or blockages in those areas. It’s basically like giving your insides a neon highlighter so they appear brighter on the screen.

Preparing for Your Exam

Make sure you follow any specific instructions given by your doctor regarding eating or drinking before the exam. Typically, patients are asked not eat anything 2 hours before their scheduled exam time if they will be receiving intravenous (IV) contrast dye injection alongside oral contrast; otherwise there may be different instructions depending upon what type of examination is ordered along with other factors

You should also let your doctor know about any allergies or medical conditions you have prior to taking the test.

If possible, wear comfortable clothing without metal zippers/buttons/snaps etc

Be prepared to remove earrings /belts/jewellery during screening

For Oral Contrast :

What many folks do not realise initially – “oral” does NOT mean ingested through mouth alone ! Radiologists who interpret Abdominal images need clear bowel loops (“Colon”) too ; which means that sometimes folks get “rectal” prep solution — no pun intended !

There are new formulations available now with improved taste vs older ones but honestly speaking ask your radiologist for any tips

Administering the Contrast

The contrast liquid comes in a variety of flavors such as berry, lemonade and vanilla. Feel free to ask your technician about which flavor is best suited for you; but bear in mind that it’s still medicine so it may not taste great!

You will be given specific instructions on when and how much of the contrast to drink. Typically, patients are required to drink the solution around an hour before their scheduled exam time.

Don’t worry if you start feeling bloated or full after drinking- this is normal! The purpose of the contrast liquid is to fill up and coat your digestive tract so that it shows up better on the scan, allowing more accurate results.

What Happens During Your Scan?

Once you arrive at your imaging centre or hospital, you’ll be asked to change into a gown or scrubs provided by them

During pre-scan registration patient details including past medical history / allergies/ current medications would also have been taken and cross checked with appointment requisition

Prior getting onto scanner bed , questions regarding wearing metallic objects inside scanning area etc alongwith warnings about loud noise emission from CT gantry changes might be discussed

Most imaging suites play calming music during scans – bring something personal (music/podcast) that relaxes you too!!

When going through IV administration – some individuals can experience discomfort/upset stomach ; alert operator immediately for any issues heard/felt

For abdominal scans specifically :

Do allow enough preparation time : Certain protocols require timed bowel preparation prior day(s)- make sure adequate supplies are arranged/available (tips again? Ask Radiology dept / requisition requesting physician)

Npo ( No Eating )rules apply prior exams requiring oral rectal prep even post midnight/morning hours

Bear in mind this process takes longer than most standard x-rays — typically between 30 minutes upto an hour depending upon complexity & addons ordered

After the Scan

Once the scan is completed, the contrast liquid will pass through your body as waste. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids afterwards, both to flush out any remaining contrast and stay hydrated.

If you experience any adverse reactions like itching, rash/hives or breathing difficulties let medical personnel know immediately.

Most importantly: congratulate yourself! You just drank a neon highlighter for science!


Drinking contrast solution may sound intimidating at first but essentialy it allows better imaging and greatly aids diagnosis ; remember always turn up on schedule & follow all pre (and post-exam) instructions provided by your physician / radiologist .

Now reward yourself with a fun meal that might not be recommended during prep days 💪!