If you’ve recently had a colonoscopy, it may be difficult to determine what foods and drinks are best for you. Choosing the wrong ones can result in cramping, bloating, gas or diarrhea. Fear not. This guide will provide helpful advice on what to eat after a colonoscopy and which post-colonoscopy diet is right for your individual needs and preferences so that you can make wise food choices and get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
- 1 What Is A Colonoscopy?
- 2 How A Colonoscopy Procedure Affects Your Digestive System?
- 3 What To Eat Before A Colonoscopy?
- 4 What To Eat After A Colonoscopy?
- 5 Foods and Drinks You Need To Avoid After Your Colonoscopy
- 6 Other Considerations After A Colonoscopy
- 7 FAQ: Colonoscopy
What Is A Colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that involves examining the inside of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. During this procedure, a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end (called a colonoscope) is inserted into the anus and guided through the entire length of the colon. Colonoscopies are typically performed to screen for colorectal cancer or to investigate symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits. They may also be performed to remove polyps or other abnormal tissue for further testing.
How A Colonoscopy Procedure Affects Your Digestive System?
During a colonoscopy procedure, the doctor will carefully insert a colonoscope into the rectum. To improve visibility, the doctor may introduce air or carbon dioxide to inflate the colon. As a result, individuals may experience mild stomach discomfort or feel the urge to pass stool when the colonoscope is moved. It’s important to note that these effects are normal and expected during a colonoscopy.
What To Eat Before A Colonoscopy?
Before a colonoscopy, it is important to follow your doctor’s specific instructions and adhere to the recommended diet plan. Generally, this includes sticking to a clear liquid diet for 24 hours before the procedure. This means avoiding solid foods and beverages with pulp or dairy, and instead consuming clear liquids such as water, broth, sports drinks, and popsicles.
What To Eat After A Colonoscopy?
After a colonoscopy, it is generally recommended by physicians to consume mild foods that are gentle on the digestive system. One common practice is to follow a low-residue diet, which involves consuming foods low in fiber and avoiding excessive dairy. This approach ensures the intake of easily-digestible foods that minimize stool production, promoting a more comfortable recovery. Here are some food options to consider post procedure:
- Sports drinks high in electrolytes
- Fruit juice (apple, orange, cranberry, white grape)
- Herbal tea (without milk or cream)
- Plain crackers (lightly salted or unseasoned)
- Soup (chicken noodle, Italian wedding, and plain broth)
- Scrambled eggs (without added seasonings or dairy products)
- Canned fruit (peaches, pineapple, and fruit cocktails)
- Toast on white bread – not whole grain or wheat bread
- Mashed or baked potatoes
- Soft white fish with minimal seasoning (wild Alaska pollock, bass, cod, grouper, haddock, and halibut)
Foods and Drinks You Need To Avoid After Your Colonoscopy
Foods and drinks to avoid after your colonoscopy:
- Alcoholic beverages including beer, wine, and seltzers
- Whole grains like crackers, brown rice, and whole grain bread
- Tough meats such as steak that are hard to digest
- Snack mixes with dried fruit, raisins, and dried cranberries
- Breaded and fried foods cooked in oil or grease
- Strong spices like garlic, curry, and pepper
- Uncooked vegetables
- Nuts and seeds including almonds, chia seeds, chestnuts, dried coconut, flax seeds, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and squash seeds
These foods are either difficult to digest, high in fiber, or too heavy on the system. It is beneficial to avoid them for a few days after the procedure to minimize any gastrointestinal side effects. The gastroenterology and endoscopy physician may also recommend additional specific foods to avoid for patients who have polyps removed during their colonoscopies.
Other Considerations After A Colonoscopy
After a colonoscopy, it is important to take into account various factors, not just food. While the procedure is widely-used and safe, patients may encounter complications after leaving the healthcare facility. One common issue is stomach pain, which typically lasts for one to two days. However, if you experience any of the following more severe complications, it is crucial to immediately contact your physician:
- Severe stomach pain or cramping
- A hard stomach
- Difficulty passing gas or with bowel movements
- Bloody bowel movements
Can I have coffee after colonoscopy?
After a colonoscopy, it is generally advised to wait for a minimum of 24 hours before resuming your regular diet, including the consumption of coffee with creamer.
Can I eat scrambled eggs after colonoscopy?
Scrambled eggs can be a suitable food option after a colonoscopy, as recommended by many doctors. They are gentle on the digestive system and easy to consume.
How soon after colonoscopy can you eat?
After colonoscopy, you can typically resume normal eating within a day. However, your physician might advise a restricted diet, including gentle, low-residue or soft foods that are easy on your digestive system.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.