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Exercise After a Colonoscopy

author image Jackie Carmichael
Jackie Carmichael has been a freelance writer for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared in "Woman's World" and "American Baby" magazines. Carmichael is a licensed registered nurse and has worked in fields related to cardiovascular health and psychiatry. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The Ohio State University.

A colonoscopy is a procedure used to see inside the colon and rectum to detect inflammation, ulcers and abnormal growths. Polyps and small tumors can even be removed during the procedure. The National Digestive Information Diseases Clearinghouse indicates that your first screening colonoscopy should be at age 50 if you have no gastrointestinal symptoms or cancer risk factors. There is no reason why you can't exercise after a colonoscopy following a brief recovery period.


You may want to schedule an exercise routine around preparation for a colonoscopy, as your body is depleted of solid food for a short time. All solids must be emptied from the gastrointestinal tract by consuming a clear liquid diet one to three days prior to the procedure. Clear liquids include fat-free broth, strained fruit juice, water, plain coffee or tea, sports drinks like Gatorade and gelatin. Don't drink liquids that contain purple or red dyes. A laxative or enema preparation is usually required the afternoon or evening before a colonoscopy. You need to inform your doctor of all diagnosed medical conditions and medications you are taking so he can provide you with specific instructions.


A colonoscopy usually causes minor discomfort and is about a 30 to 60 minute outpatient procedure. When you first enter the exam room, you will be asked to lie on your side on an examination table; you will be sedated to help you relax and minimize any discomfort. A colonoscope with a small camera on the end is moved through your large intestine, which is inflated for a better view. Then, the colonoscope is withdrawn so the lining can be examined. If necessary, the doctor performs a biopsy, removes polyps and small tumors and seals areas of bleeding.


Following a colonscopy, you will be taken to a recovery room and may stay there for one or two hours. Your sedation will begin to wear off during the recovery period, but you will still need someone to drive you home for safety. You may experience abdominal cramping or bloating because of the air injected during the procedure, but these feelings will shortly resolve. Always follow your doctor's discharge instructions after a colonoscopy, but you should be able to resume a normal diet and activity level after a few hours of rest. Biopsy results should be available in about one week.


According to the Colorectal Care Program at Columbia University, you should not perform strenuous activities the afternoon or evening following a colonoscopy. If you have had a standard procedure, you should be able to resume normal activities, including an exercise regimen, the day after a colonscopy. If you are not sure about exercise, consult your doctor.

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