A colonoscopy is an exam that views the inside of the colon (large intestine) and rectum, using a tool called a colonoscope.
The colonoscope has a small camera attached to a flexible tube that can reach the length of the colon.
This is what the procedure involved:
You will be taken to an area to recover right after the test. You may wake up there and not remember how you got there.
The nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse. Your IV will be removed.
Your doctor will likely come to talk to you and explain the results of the test.
Medicines you were given can change the way you think and make it harder to remember for the rest of the day.
As a result, it is NOT safe for you to drive a car or find your own way home.
You will not be allowed to leave alone. You will need a friend or family member to take you home.
You will be asked to wait 30 minutes or more before drinking. Try small sips of water first. When you can do this easily, you should begin with small amounts of solid foods.
You may feel a little bloated from air pumped into your colon, and burp or pass gas more often over the day.
If gas and bloating bother you, here are some things you can do:
Do not plan to return to work for the rest of the day. It is not safe to drive or handle tools or equipment.
You should also avoid making important work or legal decisions for the rest of the day, even if you believe your thinking is clear.
Keep an eye on the site where the IV fluids and medicines were given. Watch for any redness or swelling.
Ask your doctor which medicines or blood thinners you should start taking again and when to take them.
If you had a polyp removed, your doctor may ask you to avoid lifting and other activities for up to 1 week.
Contact your health care provider if you have:
Brewington JP, Pope JB. Colonoscopy. In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 90.
Chu E. Neoplasms of the small and large intestine. In: Goldman L, Cooney KA, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 27th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2024:chap 179.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 8/8/2023
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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