Colonoscopy surgery allows inspection of the colon lining for pre-cancerous growths and signs of issues like inflammatory bowel disease. It’s a procedure that involves a change in diet when prep and during recovery. That leads to many questions. One of them is – do you lose weight after a colonoscopy?
Yes. You will likely lose around 1 to 3 pounds during the colonoscopy preparation, which involves following a clear liquid diet and drinking laxatives to emptying your bowels. In the days after the procedure, decreased appetite and bloating could lead to an additional 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss.
But within about a week after a colonoscopy, most people’s weight returns close to their pre-procedure baseline. While short-term fluctuations are common, whether a colonoscopy ultimately impacts your long-term weight depends on making permanent changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Does emptying your bowels help you lose weight?
Colonoscopy surgery is a procedure performed to examine the inner lining of the colon and rectum for abnormalities like polyps, colorectal cancer, and other issues.
While a colonoscopy does not cause significant weight loss, the preparation for the procedure and the recovery period can impact your weight.
Day(s) before the colonoscopy, you must follow a clear liquid diet and/or consume laxatives to clear residue from your colon. Since you’ll be severely limiting your food intake during this prep period, this can translate to some temporary weight loss.
Usually, the liquid diet consists of foods lower in calories, like broths, gelatin, fruit juices, clear soda, and popsicles. You may lose 1 to 3 pounds during the prep stage. Also read: Can You Lose Weight After Linx Surgery?
After the colonoscopy procedure, it is common to experience some discomfort, bloating, and gas buildup as the air was used to inflate the colon during the exam. This can make you feel fuller and somewhat swollen.
Some patients also experience nausea from the sedation or irritation from the scope tube passing through the colon. This nausea may reduce your appetite in the short term.
For these reasons, doctors typically recommend a soft, low-fiber diet for at least the first 24-48 hours after a colonoscopy. During early recovery, foods like broth, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs are gently on the stomach and colon.
Since many patients may naturally feel like eating smaller portions or limiting their intake while recovering, this could lead to a minor, temporary weight loss of around 1-2 pounds in the first couple of days following the procedure.
Once a patient’s symptoms subside and they return to their regular diet, any initial weight change is likely short-lived. Barring significant dietary changes, most people’s weight returns fairly close to their pre-procedure level within around one week after a colonoscopy.
So, while some patients may lose up to 2 pounds in the 1-2 days right after a colonoscopy due to temporary factors, the procedure does not have a meaningful impact on long-term weight.
Any longer-lasting weight loss would require patients to shift their food choices and activity levels outside of what’s needed for short-term recovery. The key is to focus on healthy diet and lifestyle choices for sustainable weight management.
Can You Gain Weight After Colonoscopy Surgery?
While it is possible to shed some pounds when recovering from a colonoscopy, it’s also a possibility you might also gain some due to various reasons.
Fluid retention is the most common reason for temporary weight gain after colonoscopy surgery. During the healing process, the body retains fluid to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
This retained fluid can lead to swelling and weight gain. The weight gain from fluid retention is usually only temporary and resolves as the body heals and the fluid dissipates.
Another reason for weight gain is decreased activity levels during recovery. After colonoscopy surgery, patients are typically advised to limit strenuous activity and rest. Read: Does Sleeping With A Waist Trainer Flatten Stomach?
This decreased activity can result in loss of muscle mass and lower calorie burning, contributing to weight gain. However, as the patient resumes normal activity levels, the weight gain from inactivity should also subside.
Changes in diet during recovery can also affect weight. While doctors advise low-fiber diets, some patients rely on comfort foods high in calories and fat content to cope with pain or discomfort.
A high-calorie liquid diet is sometimes recommended short-term after a colonoscopy to aid recovery. While necessary for short-term healing, long-term changes in diet towards more calorie-dense foods can promote weight gain.
As with weight loss after colonoscopy surgery, weight gain is also temporary. This is true primarily due to fluid retention and activity limitations during the initial recovery phase. However, some patients may gain long-term weight due to permanent diet and lifestyle changes.
The key to avoiding unnecessary weight gain is resuming a healthy diet and physically active lifestyle as soon as it is medically advisable after colonoscopy surgery.
How Do You Get Your Body Back to Normal After a Colonoscopy?
While some weight fluctuations are common in the days following a colonoscopy, the key to getting your body back to normal after the procedure is focusing on a healthy recovery. This includes:
- Staying Hydrated
Replenishing fluids is crucial during the first few days after your colonoscopy. The bowel prep solution and IV fluids during the procedure cause fluid loss that needs to be replaced. Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks to avoid dehydration as your body heals.
A good guideline is 8-10 cups of fluids per day. Staying hydrated will also help flush out your system and avoid constipation as your bowel function returns to normal.
- Eating a Gentle Diet
A soft, easy-to-digest diet will be most soothing for your stomach and intestines in the initial stage of recovery. Start with clear broths, bone broths, miso soup, diluted fruit juice, yogurt, eggs, and pureed foods. Avoid high-fiber and spicy foods that can irritate your bowel and cause discomfort.
Slowly add soft foods like oatmeal, rice, bananas, and toast as you progress. Listen to your body’s cues and only advance your diet when you feel ready. Proper nutrition will aid the healing of your colon and intestinal lining.
- Resuming a Balanced Diet
Once you recover and can handle your regular meals again, aim for a balanced diet full of nutrients. Focus on getting enough protein to support the healing of intestinal tissues. Load up on vitamins and minerals to replenish any deficiencies.
Limit fatty, fried, and highly processed foods that can cause bloating and gas, which may irritate your bowel. Return to eating plenty of high-fiber foods from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to promote regular bowel movements and digestive health long term.
- Getting Enough Rest
Give your body time to recover from the stresses of the colonoscopy procedure. The anesthesia alone may leave you feeling exhausted for a few days. Take it easy, nap as needed, and avoid long periods of inactivity that can be hard on your system. Gradually resume your usual activities, listen to your body, and rest more if needed. Adequate sleep will speed up your recovery and healing process.
- Returning to Exercise
When your doctor gives you the green light, slowly resume light exercises. Go for short, easy walks and do gentle yoga or stretching. Listen to your body and how you feel. If you experience any discomfort, wait longer before trying to exercise again.
Slowly build up your workouts’ duration, frequency, and intensity over weeks. Avoid high-impact exercise like running or weight lifting until you’re fully recovered. Resuming physical activity in a gradual, progressive manner will promote colon health long term.
- Focus on Health, Not Weight
Rather than focusing on the number on the scale, concentrate your energy on adopting an overall healthy lifestyle after your colonoscopy. This means making nutritious food choices, staying active in ways that feel good, and prioritizing self-care.
Any minor, temporary weight changes are regular and will stabilize as you heal. Focusing too much on weight can distract you from the critical work of properly recovering from this procedure and optimizing your colon health long term.
Do you lose weight after a colonoscopy? Yes. After a colonoscopy, you may temporarily lose 1-3 pounds during preparation and an additional 1-2 pounds in the days after the procedure. However, within about a week, your weight typically returns to normal. Weight gain can occur due to fluid retention, decreased activity, and dietary changes, but it’s also temporary. To get back to normal, stay hydrated, eat a gentle diet, gradually resume regular meals and exercise, and prioritize overall health over weight.
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