How Long After Anesthesia Can You Eat (And Why)?

Exact Answer: After about 12 hours

Usually after six to twelve hours according to the study. Having anesthesia in your body means going into a deep sleep and gradually recovering from that. An Anesthesia is given to your body before any type of surgery as this will numb your body and you will not be able to feel any kind of pain. You may feel dizzy after taking the drug to your body and not feel hungry at all. The physician will guide you through this.

Eating anything before surgery is also prohibited. After surgery, you will feel the urge to eat or feel hungry and thirsty at the same time. A small amount of water intake is advised after surgery. It will take 6-12 hrs minimum to eat.

How Long After Anesthesia Can You Eat

How Long After Anesthesia Can You Eat?

Type of foodTime
Light food6 hrs.
Heavy food12 hrs.

Whether you go through a complicated surgery or simple surgery, you have to take anesthesia to alleviate the pain that you will experience during surgery. Even in small stitches also anesthesia is given. Anesthesia is a type of drug which takes you to a subconscious state where you can’t feel any of your body movement. Previously for small surgery anesthesia was given for the whole body where you can’t feel any of your body parts.

But as time progresses localized anesthesia is given where the body part which will be going through surgery is only given anesthesia. After surgery, it needs time to wake people up from the effects of drugs. Most of them wake up right after surgery but remain slightly dizzy due to the effect of anesthesia. Effects will start to low down from your body only after 6 hrs.


You can actually taste or smell food properly after 6-13 hrs. But the effect of drugs and anesthesia will take 1 week to completely vanish. Your doctor or anesthesiologist will reverse your medication to wake you up after surgery but it’s not an immediate process. It takes time and patience. But getting slower in these processes can be considered as good and risk-free.

But taking more than usual time will increase the risk factor and can result in more blood loss. Being unconscious for a long time can drive you into a coma state which could be fatal. So it’s best to stay under observation and get into your senses at the correct time.

Why Should You Wait So Long After Anesthesia To Eat?

To answer this question first we need to understand the effects of anesthesia. The effects of anesthesia vary from person to person. Based on their previous health history. The physician before giving the drug thoroughly examines it. There may be some other issues that will be taken into consideration before giving anesthesia. If your health is good and ready for surgery then you will be given anesthesia under the physician’s instruction.

Eating anything is strictly forbidden six to seven hours before surgery. You need to relax from having anxiety during the procedure and also relax the body for a quick successful surgery. Being mentally stable is what you need the most during a surgery. Staying positive about your health and being optimistic about your surgery contributes more towards a speedy recovery.

After surgery, you will be given some soft foods to calm down your hunger which is lightly digested. Above all, you need to consult with your physician about having food and drink. As your body recovers from the effects of drugs you will feel more hungry and will be able to digest food more easily. If anesthesia is given to adults with regular smoking and drinking habits, it will increase the risk of postoperative confusion and nausea.


Sometimes after the operation, your intestinal duct gets shut down and you won’t feel the need to eat or drink anything but slowly it will vanish and you will be back to your normal self. The doctor may advise taking medication with water at a regular interval in your fasting time.


Fasting is recommended at least before 5-6 hrs of surgery to relax your digestive tract. So after surgery, it is natural to feel hungry or thirsty. You will be told not to take some medication like aspirin as it will cause heavy blood loss according to health experts. So it’s appropriate to stay in touch with your doctor before and after surgery for at least 24 hrs. Even vitamins can cause complications during surgery so it’s best to avoid them.

If you have any allergies after or before surgery you should immediately approach your doctor. You may experience some pain in your muscle and joints after surgery due to the effect of anesthesia but with proper observation, you will be able to recover from it and after some hours of sleepiness you will be back to normal. Eating normal food and your personal diet.


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