What to Expect for a Colonoscopy
Your gastroenterologist will contact you a few days before your procedure to answer any questions as well as concerns that you may have. Most likely, your GI physician will inquire about any special medical conditions, such as:
- Do you have any special medical conditions such as a heart or lung conditions?
- Are you allergic to any medications?
- Are you currently pregnant?
- Do you have Diabetes?
- Do you take medication that affects blood clotting?
Your gastroenterologist will also give you instructions for your colonoscopy prep. Prior to the exam, it is important that the colon is thoroughly cleansed. This allows the GI physician a clear view of the colon, therefore a more detailed examination.
Colonoscopy prep varies based on the physician. However, most GI physicians require that you refrain from eating solid foods as well as dark liquids. Clear liquids are normally approved, such as water and light broths. Some gastroenterologists also prescribe a laxative.
It is recommended that you stay home and limit traveling during your cleanse. You will make frequent trips to the bathroom during this time.
Also, arrange transportation before the appointment. Do not plan on using a driving service. You will need someone you trust, that has a valid driver’s license, to usher you from the recovery room all the way home.
Also, make sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing. Almost always, you will be asked to change into a gown provided by the colonoscopy and endoscopy center.
During Your Appointment
It is recommended to arrive thirty minutes before your scheduled appointment. This time allows you to take care of any paperwork as well as give you time to talk to your gastroenterologist about any questions or concerns you have.
When it is time to begin, the GI physician will then most likely give you some form of sedation. Sedation will be administered either in pill form or through an IV. You will relax on the exam table as the sedation sets in.
Your gastroenterologist will ask you to lie on your side with your knees bent toward your chest for the procedure.
Next, the endoscope, a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a camera on the end, will be inserted into your rectum. The gastroenterologist will gently glide the endoscope through the colon, carefully inspecting the lining for polyps. Polyps are noncancerous clumps of cells that have the potential to become cancerous. If polyps are found, they may be biopsied (removed) during the procedure.
A colonoscopy procedure usually lasts 20 minutes to an hour.
After your colonoscopy, you will relax in recovery for about an hour until the sedation wears off. Your ride will arrive and escort you home safely. You will not be able to safely drive yourself home, as effects of the sedation may linger for an entire day afterwards.
Post-procedure side effects include bloating and gassiness. Walking typically helps alleviate this discomfort. It is also normal to have a small amount of blood in your stool after your first post-colonoscopy bowel movement. If this persists, consult with your gastroenterologist.