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How Soon After a Colonoscopy Can You Eat?

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
How Soon After a Colonoscopy Can You Eat?
A colonoscopy can help detect colon cancer. Photo Credit EncroVision/iStock/Getty Images

If you're scheduled for a colonoscopy, it's crucial for you to clean out your bowel. This is done by taking a bowel prep medication and adhering to a liquid diet for at least 12 hours prior to the colonoscopy. A colonoscopy is a visual examination of your large bowel, so it must be free of food matter. The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes on average. It's common to feel hungry after the procedure, so it's natural to want to know when you can eat.

Resuming Normal Diet

You can expect to feel drowsy after the colonoscopy procedure due to the lingering effects of the sedative medication. You haven't eaten solid food for more than 12 hours, so you will likely have an appetite. You'll be happy to know that you can resume eating normally immediately after your procedure. University Health System in Texas, however, recommends that you start with a light meal. Vegetable soup is a good example of a light post-colonoscopy meal.

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