What to Eat (and What to Avoid) After a Colonoscopy
Congratulations on your colonoscopy! You just did yourself a potentially life-saving favor. That said, the procedure is quite literally a pain in the butt. Post-colonoscopy care isn’t talked about quite as much as the prep (which makes sense—there’s less, um, excitement after the fact). But eating and drinking the right things while you’re recuperating can make the whole experience a lot less crappy. For instance:
DRINK: Water and Electrolyte Drinks
Remember all that pooping you did yesterday? Just kidding—of course you do. Colonoscopy prep, while necessary for the procedure, drains your body of liquids. No part of this experience is what we’d call “fun,” but dehydration will make recovery a lot worse. Do yourself a favor and rehydrate ASAP with water and electrolyte-rich drinks (like Pedialyte and Gatorade).
EAT: The BRAT Diet
The BRAT Diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) has fallen out of favor with some doctors who once recommended it for stomach virus or food poisoning recovery. Since the menu is low in fiber, protein, and fat, many experts now say you should resume your normal eating habits within 24 hours. Still, eating exclusively bland foods does allow your digestive system to rest and recuperate following the events of the last few days. Talk to your doctor to make sure a day or so of the BRAT Diet is OK for you.
Eat: Soup or Broth
Chicken, vegetable, and bone broths are packed with the nutrients your body needs to recover and don’t require your digestive system to work overtime. If you feel up to it, a heartier soup (may we recommend a classic, healing chicken noodle?), may be just what the doctor ordered.
AVOID: Greasy or Spicy Foods
Are you nuts? Your digestive system just went through the ringer, and now you want to add to its problems by chowing down on Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Burgers? (Granted, that does sound delicious). You just did your body a kindness by getting a potentially life-saving colonoscopy, so keep the good vibes going for a day or two longer.
AVOID: Carbonated Beverages
If this isn’t your first rodeo, you know that post-colonoscopy gas isn’t just expected—it’s encouraged. You did just have a camera up your butt, after all. While it may seem counterintuitive (we’ve been conditioned to associate fizzy drinks like ginger-ale with soothed stomachs), you may want to avoid drinks that contain extra air in the hours following the procedure.
You’re not allowed to drive yourself home after a colonoscopy because the drugs that are used to sedate you can leave you feeling a little (or a lot) loopy. These medications can also interact with alcohol in a dangerous way. Wait until the sedatives are completely out of your system before imbibing.