What Can You Eat After A Colonoscopy? What Foods To Avoid?

eat after a colonoscopy

Every medical procedure has its regulations. The doctors advise their patients according to the process they would be carrying out. This article will benefit you if you want to inquire about what you can eat after a colonoscopy.

Before we delve into eating and other precautionary measures after a colonoscopy, let’s understand what it is and how it is performed.

What is Colonoscopy?


The colon is a vital part of the digestive system. Colonoscopy is a type of endoscopy that uses an endoscope to examine the inside of the large intestine that includes the colon, rectum, and anus. 

An endoscope is a flexible tube with a lighted camera at the end. During colonoscopy, the endoscope passes through the anus and rectum into the colon and sends a picture of the inside of the large intestine to a screen.

During this screening test, the patient is sedated. It might be either a deep sedation provided by the anesthesiologist or a conscious sedation provided by a nurse.

Colonoscopy is needed for routine cancer screening or detection of potential health problems in the colon, like a polyp. It may be preventive, therapeutic, diagnostic, or sometimes, all of these. While screening, the gastroenterologist may remove suspicious tissues for testing and prevention.

The doctors recommend regular screening for people above the age of 45. In case you fall into any of these categories, you need to plan for a screening:

  • Have not done any in the past 10 years
  • Above 45 years of age
  • Have a family history of colorectal cancer
  • Had tissues removed during your last colonoscopy
  • Have inflammatory bowel disease

Preparation for Colonoscopy

Preparation for colonoscopy

To prepare for a colonoscopy, the patient is instructed to drink laxatives and clear liquid diet, and stop consuming solid food. This ensures that the bowel is empty to promote a comfortable and relaxed experience for the days after the procedure. This process is dehydrating as laxatives tend to pass out with a lot of water from the intestine.

The patients need to take good care of their colon health during the screenings by eating a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They need to be physically active and stop consuming alcohol and cigarettes.

What Can Be Eaten After A Colonoscopy?

Before a colonoscopy, the patient is prepared by not eating or drinking. This may lead to dehydration; hence, it is essential to rehydrate and restore electrolytes and fluids in the body. Also, a soup or clear liquid will be a good start since the patient is sedated during the procedure. 

Immediate Eating

In the immediate hours after the colonoscopy, the doctor recommends eating sparingly or not eating at all. This is so that the patient is gentle on his digestive system. Initially, a low residue, soft and liquid diet is advised.

For the rest of the day and the day after, the patient must drink lots of fluid and eat soft, fluid-based, easily digestible food that may not cause colon irritation. The fluids will help the patient to stay hydrated and prevent dizziness. 

Usually, such a diet is required only for a day or two, but if the patient is finding it difficult to tolerate the usual food, then he needs to continue having such a diet for a few more days till the condition subsides. 

Later Eating

The doctor may recommend eating a low-residue diet consisting of limited dairy products. The diet should be low in fiber so that it can be easily digested and produce less stool. Drinks with electrolytes, water, fruit juice, herbal tea, vegetable juice, soup, eggs, well-cooked vegetables, yogurt, etc, are usually advised to eat. 

After colonoscopy, one should refrain from spicy curries and fried vegetables. Soft scrambled eggs are a tremendous post-colonoscopy food as they are rich in protein and easy to digest. 

Dairy products like milk and cheese should not be consumed as they can irritate the digestive system. Gelatin and custard are superb food items as they are gentle and will not irritate the digestive tract. Jellies are also considered safe to eat after the procedure. Mild soups like tomato soup or chicken soup are good options, too. However, do not drink hot soups.

What Food To Avoid After Colonoscopy?

The body needs time to recover from the colonoscopy procedure. This is because the procedure involves bowel prep and anal insertion. Hence, it is pertinent to avoid food that is difficult to digest. 

High fiber and spicy food must be avoided until the body recuperates completely. Heavy, oily food can cause nausea after anesthesia, so it is better to eat light food. After the procedure, patients tend to release a lot of gas as air is introduced into the colon during the procedure. 

Hence, it is advised to skip consuming carbonated beverages. Additional dietary guidelines may be recommended in cases where polyp has been removed.

Here is a list of food items to avoid:

  • Hard to digest meat like steak 
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Corn
  • Brown rice
  • Raw vegetables
  • Whole grain items like bread and crackers
  • Whole seeds
  • Legumes
  • Dried fruits like raisins
  • Coconut
  • Fried foods
  • Nuts
  • Highly seasoned foods
  • Popcorn
  • Spices
  • Crunchy food items like nut butter
  • Highly saturated fat foods like fast food
  • High sugar food items
  • Desserts

This list comprises food high in fiber, heavy on the system, and difficult to digest. It is beneficial to avoid these food items after the procedure for a few days to reduce the gastrointestinal effects.

A common complaint after colonoscopy is stomach pain. However, it is entirely normal if it stays for a day or two. In case it persists longer, you need to seek immediate medical attention. It is also advisable to visit a doctor if there are any serious complications like fever, cramps, hard stomach, vomiting, lightheadedness, bloody bowel movements, or difficulty in passing gas.


A colonoscopy is a procedure that detects cancer of polyps in the colon. The preparation to undergo a colonoscopy requires dehydration. Drinking a lot of fluid after the process is essential. 

Most people recover quickly from a colonoscopy. However, following doctor’s instructions and eating only what is advised is essential. Also, avoid strenuous activities and take proper rest. 

Tobacco products like cigarettes should be avoided till complete recovery. If you observe anything unusual, consult a doctor immediately. 

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