You’ve fasted, you’ve purged, you’ve completed your colonoscopy and earned a gold star for cancer prevention. Now, you plan to reward your empty stomach with the entire menu at your favorite fast food joint.
Think again, if you want your body to thank you. Here’s what not to eat after a colonoscopy.
1. A huge meal.
Your digestive system has had a rough couple of days. Be gentle with it to avoid bloating, cramping and worse. Now is not the time for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
2. Fried food.
Ask your designated driver to steer clear of the drive-through. “Immediately after a colonoscopy, avoid fast food and high-fat foods,” says Dr. Richardson.
Why? Foods that are high in saturated fat tend to be tougher for your body to digest, which means they make your bowels work harder too. You’ve already spent enough time in the bathroom. Burgers, fries and your go-to chicken sandwich could be more trouble than they’re worth.
Plus, greasy foods make some people feel nauseous after general anesthesia.
3. Spicy food.
Again, after all the activity of a colonoscopy prep and procedure, your colon may be more sensitive than usual. Even if you usually have an iron stomach, spicy food could trigger irritable bowels.
Your beloved triple atomic ghost wings will still be there tomorrow. Take the day off.
4. Salty food.
There’s a reason your health team circled and underlined “drink plenty of fluids” at the beginning, middle and end of your prep instructions. “Colonoscopy prep is dehydrating,” says Dr. Richardson.
It takes time to replenish your body’s fluids. It also takes smart food choices — like avoiding salty foods in the hours immediately after your colonoscopy, which could dehydrate you further. Put the chips down.
Remember how you’re supposed to focus on hydrating? Alcohol is not your friend.
If you’re craving a celebratory drink, try something a little more strategic, like a beverage that makes up for essential minerals you may have lost during colonoscopy prep.
“We want to make sure your electrolytes are balanced. I’d recommend an herbal tea, water, a sports drink or something with electrolytes instead,” says Dr. Richardson.
What not to eat after a colonoscopy? Basically, anything in excess.
The truth is, the moment you check in for your colonoscopy, the stakes get a lot lower for what you should and shouldn’t eat.
“The most important thing is what you eat before your colonoscopy, because that can really affect how the procedure goes,” says Dr. Richardson.
In the hours after, it’s more about going easy on your digestive system for your own comfort.
Take it slow, stick to small portions and listen to your body.
And save the lumberjack special for tomorrow.