A Gentle Path to Recovery: What Can You Eat After a Colonoscopy?

If you’re going for a colonoscopy, it’s important to know what you should be eating after the procedure, as your diet plays a key role in your recovery.

The wrong foods can cause discomfort, bloating, gas, and even complications like bleeding in the colon. The right foods will aid the healing process and help your digestive system return to its natural rhythm.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the best easy-to-digest foods to eat post-colonoscopy. We’ll also share the types of foods you should avoid to recover fully and feel good.

Some Guidelines for Eating After a Colonoscopy

Here are some general tips on how to eat post-colonoscopy: 

  • Wait a while: Your hospital stay will last for around 30 to 60 minutes following a colonoscopy until the anesthesia you’ve been given wears off. Once the sedation has subsided and you can swallow without difficulty, you can begin eating.

  • Start light: Prioritize small, light meals of easily digestible foods in the hours following your procedure — which we will discuss later in this article.

  • Don’t consume too much fiber: Although good for colon health in general, eating a lot of fiber can cause the body to produce more stool. You’ll want to avoid this in the days following a colonoscopy, as passing large amounts of stool can irritate your digestive system and potentially cause bleeding in your colon.

  • Chew well: Properly chewed food is easier to digest. This is important as the colon may be more sensitive or less efficient than normal at processing food.

  • Choose soft foods initially: During a colonoscopy, the colon may have to undergo biopsies for colorectal cancer, polyp removal, and other manipulations, leaving certain parts tender. Eating soft foods reduces pressure on healing areas of the colon, potentially reducing the risk of bleeding and inflammation.

  • Stay well-hydrated: Drink plenty of water, clear juice, and herbal tea as you recover from the procedure, as it will replenish fluids lost during the bowel cleanse that most patients undergo before a colonoscopy. Drinking fluids also helps with digestion while you recover.

  • Ease back into your regular diet: You shouldn’t return to your normal diet immediately. Instead, gradually introduce more substantial foods and see how your body tolerates them. If you experience discomfort, nausea, or bloating, revert to lighter foods.

7 Foods to Eat to Sooth Your Digestive Tract Post-Colonoscopy

Always follow your doctor’s instructions about the recommended foods you should eat after a colonoscopy. 

They will provide you with specific advice based on your overall health and the details of your colonoscopy procedure.

However, the following foods are typically good options to try in the first few days after a colonoscopy:

Sports drinks

Before a colonoscopy, patients are often required to do a bowel cleanse, which can lead to significant fluid loss in the body. 

As mentioned above, one of your top priorities after a colonoscopy is to restore fluid and electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. 

Sports drinks typically contain these electrolytes and will rehydrate the body quickly, supporting your bodily functions and recovery. They’re also easy on the stomach, so these drinks provide nutrients without causing any irritation to the digestive system.

Cooked vegetables

When you cook vegetables like mashed potatoes, you break down their fibrous structures, making them softer and easier for the digestive system to process. 

Cooked vegetables have a lower risk of irritating your colon, which will be sensitive following the procedure.

Cooking vegetables like carrots can also help make certain nutrients more bioavailable, meaning you’ll absorb more nutrients from your food.


As yogurt is soft and smooth, it is gentle on your digestive system while you’re recovering. 

Yogurt also typically contains probiotics, which are essential for restoring gut health. This is important as the preparation for the procedure can disrupt the gut’s microbiome. 

The cool, creamy texture of the yogurt can also be soothing to an irritated or inflamed digestive tract.

Finally, yogurt is packed with essential nutrients like protein, calcium, and vitamins B2 and B12, which are important for your overall health and recovery.

Canned or jarred fruit

These are typically a lot softer than raw fruits, making them easier for the body to digest. This is crucial when recovering from a colonoscopy, as the rough texture of raw fruit can irritate a sensitive colon. 

Canned and jarred fruit have less fiber in them, which can help prevent bloating, gas, and other gastrointestinal symptoms following the procedure.

Smooth nut butter

The smooth texture of nut butter is gentle on the digestive system as the colon recovers from the procedure. 

It also contains a lot of protein, which is essential for the body’s repair and healing process following a colonoscopy.

Nut butter is a good source of healthy fats, which are typically much easier for the body to digest than the saturated fats found in other foods.

Plus, it can be eaten with bread or crackers to make a more substantial, yet still easy-to-digest, meal. 

White toast

White bread is made from refined grains that have had bran and germ removed. This makes it lower in fiber and easier to digest compared to whole grains, even when toasted.

The simple carbohydrates found in white toast are quickly broken down by the body, reducing the risk of irritation or discomfort in a sensitive colon.

Part of the preparation process before a colonoscopy includes fasting, which will impact your body’s energy levels. Post-procedure, your body requires easily accessible energy without taxing the digestive system. The carbohydrates in white toast provide this energy quickly.

Scrambled eggs

Due to their soft nature, scrambled eggs are gentle on the digestive system.

This meal is also high in protein, which is essential for healing. This protein helps repair tissues and supports the immune system, which is important after any medical procedure.

After fasting in preparation for a colonoscopy, your body will need nutrients. Eggs are full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D and iron, which can help replenish nutrient levels after the procedure.

Foods to Avoid Eating After a Colonoscopy

Now that you know what to eat after a colonoscopy, here are some foods you should avoid consuming following the procedure:

Fatty and greasy foods

Foods that are greasy and high in fat are harder for the digestive system to break down. This can cause discomfort, bloating, and gas.

Fatty foods can also trigger an inflammatory response in the body, which isn’t ideal while your colon is healing post-procedure.

Spicy foods

Spicy foods often contain compounds like capsaicin, which can irritate the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. The digestive system is typically more sensitive after a colonoscopy, so spicy foods may cause irritation that leads to discomfort. 

Alcoholic beverages

Alcohol can interact with the sedatives you’ve been given during the colonoscopy procedure, which can prolong their effects and even lead to complications.

As alcohol is a diuretic — which increases urination — you may become dehydrated if you consume it. As discussed earlier, hydration is an important part of recovering from a colonoscopy, and alcohol may disrupt this.

Raw fruits and vegetables

Raw vegetables and fruits are high in fiber, which, as discussed above, should be avoided shortly after a colonoscopy. Fiber is difficult for the body to digest and may put additional strain on the digestive system.

As the digestive system isn’t fully operational immediately after a colonoscopy, eating raw fruits and vegetables can cause symptoms like cramping and diarrhea.

Whole grains

Foods like whole grain bread should be avoided after a colonoscopy due to their high fiber content, which could make your body produce more stool. 

It can also be difficult for your body to digest fiber initially, and the rough texture of these foods can irritate the sensitive lining of the colon.


This is another high-fiber food that should be avoided as it can contain hulls and small particles that may irritate the digestive tract and disrupt the healing of the colon.

When to Seek Medical Attention for Post-Colonoscopy Health Problems

Most people recover fully from a colonoscopy within one day of the procedure.

Although some discomfort is expected after a colonoscopy, there is the risk that complications may develop. 

If you have recently undergone a colonoscopy and are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, it’s important to seek medical attention:

Where Can I Get More Dietary Advice for Colonoscopy Aftercare?

At LifeMD, we can help ensure that your recovery from a colonoscopy is smooth and comfortable. 

A team of healthcare professionals are here to provide you with advice on how to recover fully without pain, discomfort, or complications.

You can consult a board-certified physician or nurse practitioner for advice on what to eat and how to heal from a colonoscopy and other procedures.

Book your online appointment today to learn more.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency.

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