Doctors recommend avoiding alcohol for 24 hours after a colonoscopy because the sedatives used during the procedure should not be mixed with alcohol, explains Northeast Digestive Health Center. Mixing sedatives with alcohol can cause severe drowsiness and dangerously slow pulse and breathing rates, notes the University of Notre Dame.
Because the effects of sedation impair thinking for an extended time, patients need to avoid driving, operating heavy machinery and making important decisions for 24 hours following a colonoscopy, states MedlinePlus. Drinking plenty of fluids and consuming a healthy meal after a colonoscopy help the body restore lost fluids and energy. Most patients return to their normal routine the day after the procedure.