Foods You Should Eat (Avoid) After Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a type of colon test that helps identify lesions or polyps in the colon and rectum. During the procedure, a flexible tube with a camera attached to it is inserted into the anus and passed up to the end of the large intestines. If polyps are found or a biopsy is needed, the doctor can snip off pieces of tissue or remove the polyp using tools. There is a lot of information about what to eat before a colonoscopy but there isn't as much information as to what to eat after a colonoscopy.

What to Eat After Colonoscopy

After a colonoscopy, your bowels will be empty. Following the colonoscopy, there are certain foods you can take in order to get your bowels back in working order. Here are some tips:

1. Fluid

You may be a bit dehydrated after your colonoscopy because the prep for the procedure makes you lose a lot of liquid from your system. For this reason, you should take in lots of fluids and electrolytes in the form of products like PowerAde and Gatorade to restore the fluid balance in your body and help you gain electrolytes. If you cannot take in oral fluids after your colonoscopy, you may need to receive IV fluids in order to get back your normal fluid volume. You should not drink any alcohol for about twelve hours following a colonoscopy.

2. Light Foods

Light foods are easily digested, simple to chew and easy on the stomach, which includes foods like fruit juices and vegetable soup. Heavier foods, such as greasy items and steak shouldn't be eaten until the sedative wears off. Sedating medicines may result in vomiting and nausea, and can make it difficult for you to chew tough or chewy foods.

3. Low Residue Diet

Your colorectal surgeon might tell you to eat a low residue diet after the colonoscopy. Low residue diets are low in fiber and won't irritate the colon right after a colonoscopy. This will also lessen the number of stools you have.

Foods in a low residue diet include white bread and white rice. Patients should avoid having foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits with skins, raw fruits, dried legumes, vegetables with skin on them and raw vegetables.

4. Probiotic Foods

These foods are very healthy for you because they contain the "good bacteria" your colon needs for optimal health. These good bacteria can balance the bad bacteria left over in your body. Probiotics help optimize digestion and clean out acidic waste, giving us a great deal of energy and strength. A good probiotic food you can eat is cabbage, which can be made into any type of salad or used in a blender as part of a smoothie.

Regular Diet

What to eat after a colonoscopy? You should resume your regular diet, especially if you are healthy and didn’t have any complications from your procedure. A regular diet includes eating a variety of different food, such as fruits, vegetables, carbs, lean proteins, fats, oil and minerals. If you need to eat a special diet, ask your doctor's approval and advice. You should always stay away from foods that are high in sugar, fat or calories.

Specific Food to Eat and Avoid

What to eat after colonoscopy? Here are the specific details:

Food Choices for You

Here is a list of good foods that you can try:

  • Banana is a type of fruit that has a medium amount of fiber. This amount of fiber can help the bowels move easier after a colonoscopy. Other good foods include cantaloupe and apples.
  • Egg drop soup is has plenty of liquid in it and the egg contains just the right amount of fiber for your bowels.
  • Organic berries are healthy foods that have about the right amount of fiber in them. Berries are also very detoxifying. Make sure you buy organic berries because regular berries often have chemicals sprayed on them, which takes away the taste of the food. Good berries to eat include blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
  • Vegetables and organic leafy green foods are highly detoxifying and contain a medium amount of fiber. Try leafy greens like cabbage and spinach. You can eat them in a salad or as part of a soup or smoothie.

Foods to Avoid After Colonoscopy

Now that you know what to eat after colonoscopy, here are some foods you shouldn't eat after having a colonoscopy:

  • Stay away from anything that is too difficult to chew or too heavy to eat
  • Foods that contain gluten, such as barley, rye, and wheat
  • Food that are highly processed, such as packaged food
  • Dairy products
  • Huge amounts of meat or other protein
  • Sugary foods or foods that are artificially sweetened

You should stay away from these foods at just about any time in order to keep your colon clean. The procedure causes excessive bloating and a feeling of gas in your abdomen. High fiber foods should be avoided until the day after you have your procedure.

Other Tips to Follow After a Colonoscopy

  • You will be observed for about an hour or two after your colonoscopy until the sedation wears off.
  • If you have been given sedation, you will not be able to drive yourself home and should have someone pick you up or stay with you while you have your procedure.
  • You shouldn't operate heavy machinery, make big decisions, or drive for a day or so after the procedure. Your activities should be limited in that first day.
  • You will be passing gas from the gas introduced into the colon during the colonoscopy. If you do not pass gas, you may feel some bloating or cramping.
  • You may be able to meet with the doctor following the colonoscopy. He or she will explain the findings; however, the results of any biopsies taken will take several days before they return.

Watch the following video to know what colonoscopy is, how to do before, during and after a colonoscopy:

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