Eating after a colonoscopy may involve consuming foods that are soft and easy to digest. A person may also need to drink more liquid than usual.

A colonoscopy is a procedure that is carried out to detect any abnormalities in the colon, such as colorectal cancer or polyps that may develop into cancer.

After the procedure, a person can expect to stay at the hospital for 1-2 hours until the anesthetic has worn off. A doctor will then provide instructions on how best to take care for the rest of the day.

This article will look at what foods to eat and avoid after a colonoscopy, as well as when to gradually introduce new foods.

In most cases, a person will be fully recovered and able to eat normally the following day.

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In preparation for a colonoscopy, people may be instructed to stop eating solids and to drink laxatives and clear liquid diets to ensure the bowel is fully empty.

This process is dehydrating, so one of the main priorities following a colonoscopy is rehydrating and restoring electrolyte levels.

A person may rehydrate by consuming the following liquids:

  • water
  • liquid-based foods, such as mild soup and applesauce
  • drinks with electrolytes, such as sports drinks
  • vegetable or fruit juice
  • herbal tea

It is important to ease the digestive tract back into working order and help avoid irritating the digestive system. A doctor may recommend the following foods which are soft and easy to digest:

  • popsicles
  • crackers, such as saltines and graham crackers
  • smooth nut butter
  • mashed potatoes
  • white fish
  • applesauce
  • gelatin or pudding
  • plain scrambled eggs without additives like milk, pepper, or cheese
  • canned or jarred fruit, such as peaches or pineapple
  • white toast or bread
  • cooked vegetables

A colonoscopy procedure only takes 30-45 minutes. However, the colon needs time to recover from the procedure and the preparation for it.

People may feel abdominal pain, bloating, or cramping for 2-3 hours after their colonoscopy, as well as bloody stools for a few days.

For the rest of the day after a colonoscopy, or until symptoms are gone, it is best to avoid foods that are:

Foods to avoid after a colonoscopy include:

If a doctor has removed a polyp during the colonoscopy, they may also recommend further food restrictions.

For example, foods that contain seeds, kernels, and nuts may be avoided because these small, hard particles could get trapped in the healing wound and cause infection.

It is also advised to avoid foods that may cause additional gas, such as beans or carbonated beverages. This is because during a colonoscopy gas is blown into the colon to open it up to allow better visibility. After the procedure, this excess gas may be uncomfortable, and a person may feel the need to pass gas more frequently.

Foods to eatFoods to avoid
• popsicles
• crackers
• smooth nut butter
• mashed potatoes
• white fish
• applesauce
• gelatin or pudding
• plain scrambled eggs
• canned or jarred fruit
• white toast or bread
• cooked vegetables
• water
• liquid-based foods
• mild soup
• drinks with electrolytes
• vegetable or fruit juice
• herbal tea
• whole or chopped nuts
• alcohol
• popcorn
• coconut
• corn
• raw or undercooked vegetables
• brown rice
• legumes
• crunchy nut butter
• whole grain bread and baked products
• tough proteins
• fruit with skin
• beans
• carbonated drinks

The colon is an essential part of the digestive tract.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people aged 45-75 should get a colonoscopy every 10 years to ensure they do not have any problems. Some people may require additional screenings.

Some factors that may increase a person’s chance of developing colon cancer include:

It is important that a person takes good care of their colon health between screenings. Other than getting regular colon screenings, some prevention methods may include:

The following are frequently asked questions about foods someone can eat after a colonoscopy.

How long after a colonoscopy can a person eat normally?

A person will typically fully recover and be able to eat normally one day after their colonoscopy.

Can a person eat pasta after a colonoscopy?

A person can eat white pasta following a colonoscopy as it is a low-fiber food. However, it is best to avoid wholemeal, wholewheat, or brown pasta.

What is the fastest way to recover from a colonoscopy?

Most people can expect a full recovery from a colonoscopy 1 day after the procedure.

Following a colonoscopy, a person should rest. If a person is experiencing discomfort, they can try:

  • passing wind
  • moving about and changing positions to settle the air in their bowel
  • drinking a warm liquid, like peppermint tea

What’s the best thing to eat after a colonoscopy?

Doctors may recommend foods that are soft and easy to digest. Rehydrating and restoring electrolyte levels is also a key priority after a colonoscopy.

Foods and beverages to consume may include:

  • water
  • liquid-based foods, such as soup and applesauce
  • crackers
  • white fish
  • vegetable and fruit juices
  • mashed potatoes

A colonoscopy is a common, short, and mostly safe form of colon screening that should be carried out every 10 years for people over the age of 45.

It is essential to follow a doctor’s recommendations after a colonoscopy. Potential discomfort and pain following the procedure can be avoided by staying hydrated and eating recommended foods.