What to Expect Before, During, and After A Colonoscopy

People with a family history of colorectal cancer and everybody over the age of 50 should get routine colonoscopies. This important exam can detect abnormalities in the rectum and large intestine that can point to cancer and other illnesses. Early detection is key, which is why this procedure is so common.

When you do schedule your colonoscopy, you will find that you will have a lot of questions prior to the procedure. You will want to know what to expect before, during, and after your colonoscopy. If you are preparing for a colonoscopy, make sure that you are fully informed about your upcoming procedure. Preparation will be a vital component of a quick colonoscopy recovery.

What to Expect During the Colonoscopy

The colonoscopy procedure involves the insertion of a flexible tube topped with a very small video camera into the body via the rectum. This allows the doctor to examine the lining of the colon. Your doctor may remove small amounts of tissue for analysis, and they can identify and remove polyps if necessary.

At Gastrointestinal Specialists Inc., you should expect the colonoscopy procedure to vary from 15 to 30 minutes in length. This time can increase if they are removing a polyp. However, with pre and post procedure time, you can expect to be at the clinic for 2 to 2 ½ hours.

What to Expect After A Colonoscopy

The test requires you to be completely relaxed, so prior to it you’re given a strong sedative to keep you still and in a twilight sleep. Right after the procedure you will need an hour or more to wake up completely. During this time, you’ll be in a recovery area so that doctors can observe you. You may have some gas or bloating, but this is common and is only temporary.

Often, your doctor will discuss preliminary findings with you once you’ve recovered from the sedative. He or she will let you know if there were any polyps removed during the procedure, and if there are any follow-up actions required. If any tissue is biopsied the results will come later.

Colonoscopy Side Effects

Because of the strong sedative you were given during the procedure, you should not drive, even if you feel relatively alert, as the sedative lingers in your system for up to 24 hours. Gastro Va requires that you have someone come with you to drive you home.

Make sure you listen carefully to your doctor’s instructions in regards to medications, what to eat (and what not to eat) and what to do if you have complications like abdominal pain, fever, or excessive bleeding. These conditions are rare and can be a sign of something more serious.

Get plenty of rest the day of the colonoscopy, but you can usually go back to work the next day. Additionally, unless the doctor specifies a special diet, you can go back to eating the type of food you normally eat. Again, check with the doctor, especially if you normally eat a high fiber diet as your colon may be a bit sensitive after the test.

If the doctor biopsied any tissue, they will send it off for analysis and you should get the results in a week or so.

Regular colonoscopies are part of a smart preventative healthcare regimen. Find a doctor you can trust and make sure you get a colonoscopy every 10 years after the age of 50 if you have no history of colorectal trouble, more often if you do.

For all of your colonoscopy needs, to schedule  a screening, or to get any further questions answered.  Check out our FAQ page, contact us here or call Gastrointestinal Specialists, Inc. at (804)285-8206.