A colonoscopy is an important screening procedure for health and wellness in all adults 50 years of age and older. This endoscopic procedure can detect polyps, tumors, inflammation or any other abnormalities that are asymptomatic or otherwise undetectable by other tests. Your gastroenterologist will make sure that you are thoroughly prepared to handle the at-home preparation for this procedure, as well as the procedural steps of the colonoscopy, but you may still have some questions about what comes after.
How long do I have to stay on-site after my colonoscopy?
After the exam, it will typically take about an hour to recover from the sedative. You’ll remain at the clinic during this time. While the sedation wears off quickly, it can take up to 24 hours for the full effects of it to wear off. Because of this, you’ll need to take the day off work and avoid operating any machinery.
Can I drive myself home?
You will need to arrange transportation home after your colonoscopy. It is imperative that you don’t fight the effects of the sedative while it is still in your system. This procedure cannot be performed unless you have made travel arrangements.
Do I have to stick to the pre-colonoscopy diet?
Unless you have had a polyp removed during your colonoscopy, or your doctor advises you about your diet, you should be able to resume your normal eating habits immediately following the procedure. You may experience bloating, mild cramping, or the sensation of having gas, but these symptoms should not last very long.
Are there any post-colonoscopy side effects I should be aware of?
The feeling of gas or bloating in the abdomen will pass as soon as you can the air in your colon. In some cases, you may experience a trace amount of blood in your stool following a colonoscopy. However, if you begin to experience severe abdominal pain, fever, chills, or prolonged rectal bleeding, please contact your gastroenterologist immediately. These symptoms could indicate a complication that requires immediate attention.