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    what to expect after a colonoscopy


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    Find out what happens on the day of your colonoscopy.

    What happens on the day

    - Colonoscopy

    On the day of your colonoscopy you'll need to stop eating and drinking – your letter will tell you when to stop.

    You should also bring any medicines you take with you.

    When you arrive

    You'll speak with a nurse about what's going to happen. They will ask you to change into a hospital gown.

    You may be offered things to make you more comfortable and make the test easier, such as:


    sedation – medicine given through a small tube in your arm to help you relax

    gas and air – you breathe this in to help you relax

    Not all hospitals offer all these things – ask about what you can have.


    You cannot drive for 24 hours if you have sedation. Someone will need to pick you up from hospital in a car or taxi.

    Giving consent

    A nurse or specialist will explain possible risks.

    In rare cases, people may:

    have a reaction to the sedation

    have some bleeding afterwards

    get a small tear in their bowels

    You'll be asked to sign a consent form. This is to confirm you understand the risks and agree to have the procedure.

    It's important to remember these things are rare. If anything happens, the team will take care of you.

    The procedure

    It should take 30 to 45 minutes to have your colonoscopy.

    But you might be at the hospital for around 2 hours from getting there to going home.

    What happens during a colonoscopy and how you'll feel during each stage

    What happens What it might feel like

    A thin, flexible tube with a small camera inside goes into your bottom You may feel the camera go in, but it should not hurt

    Air is pumped in to open up your bowels You may feel a bit bloated or like you need the toilet

    The tube goes through all of your large bowel You may have some stomach cramps

    Any growths (polyps) in your bowels will be removed or a sample of cells taken You will not feel anything if this happens

    You'll usually be told if any growths (polyps) have been removed.

    You'll then be moved to the recovery room. The nurses will monitor you until you're ready go home.

    Video: What happens during a colonoscopy?

    In this video, a nurse explains what happens during a colonoscopy.

    Media last reviewed: 25 November 2019

    Media review due: 25 November 2022

    How you might feel after a colonoscopy

    You might feel bloated or have stomach cramps for 2 to 3 hours after.

    You may also have some blood in your poo or bleeding from your bottom. These things are common.

    Urgent advice:

    Call 111, or the hospital where you had a colonoscopy, if:

    You have any of these things after having a colonoscopy:

    heavy bleeding from your bottom or bleeding that's getting worse

    severe stomach pain or pain that gets worse

    a high temperature or you feel hot or shivery

    What we mean by severe pain

    Page last reviewed: 07 June 2019

    Next review due: 07 June 2022

    Source : www.nhs.uk


    Learn why doctors perform colonoscopy, how you prepare for it, what to expect during and after colonoscopy, and the risks of colonoscopy.


    On this page:

    What is colonoscopy?

    How is virtual colonoscopy different from colonoscopy?

    Why do doctors use colonoscopy?

    Screening for Colon and Rectal Cancer

    How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

    How do doctors perform a colonoscopy?

    What should I expect after a colonoscopy?

    What are the risks of colonoscopy?

    Seek Care Right Away

    What is colonoscopy?

    Colonoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor uses a colonoscope or scope, to look inside your rectum and colon. Colonoscopy can show irritated and swollen tissue, ulcers, polyps, and cancer .

    How is virtual colonoscopy different from colonoscopy?

    Virtual colonoscopy and colonoscopy are different in several ways:

    Virtual colonoscopy is an x-ray test, takes less time, and you don’t need anesthesia .

    With virtual colonoscopy, your doctor doesn’t view the entire length of your colon.

    Virtual colonoscopy may not find certain polyps as easily as a colonoscopy can.

    Doctors can’t remove polyps or treat certain other problems during a virtual colonoscopy.

    Your health insurance coverage may be different for the two procedures.

    Why do doctors use colonoscopy?

    A colonoscopy can help a doctor find the cause of symptoms, such as

    bleeding from your anus

    changes in your bowel activity, such as diarrhea

    pain in your abdomen

    unexplained weight loss

    Doctors also use colonoscopy as a screening tool for colon polyps and cancer . Screening is testing for diseases when you have no symptoms. Screening may find diseases at an early stage, when a doctor has a better chance of curing the disease.

    Screening for Colon and Rectal Cancer

    Your doctor will recommend screening for colon and rectal cancer —also called colorectal cancer—starting at age 45 if you don’t have health problems or risk factors that make you more likely to develop colon cancer.1

    You have risk factors for colorectal cancer if you2

    are male

    are African American

    or someone in your family has had polyps or colorectal cancer

    have a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease

    have Lynch syndrome , or another genetic disorder that increases the risk of colorectal cancer

    have other factors, such as that you weigh too much or smoke cigarettes

    If you are more likely to develop colorectal cancer, your doctor may recommend screening at a younger age, and more often.

    If you are older than age 75, talk with your doctor about whether you should be screened. For more information, read the current colorectal cancer screening guidelines External link from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

    Government health insurance plans, such as Medicare, and private insurance plans sometimes change whether and how often they pay for cancer screening tests. Check with your insurance plan to find out how often your plan will cover a screening colonoscopy.

    How do I prepare for a colonoscopy?

    To prepare for a colonoscopy, you will need to talk with your doctor, change your diet for a few days, clean out your bowel, and arrange for a ride home after the procedure.

    Talk with your doctor

    You should talk with your doctor about any health problems you have and all prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take, including

    arthritis medicines

    aspirin or medicines that contain aspirin

    blood thinners diabetes medicines

    nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen

    vitamins that contain iron or iron supplements

    Change your diet and clean out your bowel

    A health care professional will give you written bowel prep instructions to follow at home before the procedure so that little or no stool remains in your intestine. A complete bowel prep lets you pass stool that is clear and liquid. Stool inside your intestine can prevent your doctor from clearly seeing the lining.

    You may need to follow a clear liquid diet for 1 to 3 days before the procedure. You should avoid red and purple-colored drinks or gelatin. The instructions will include details about when to start and stop the clear liquid diet. In most cases, you may drink or eat the following:

    fat-free bouillon or broth

    gelatin in flavors such as lemon, lime, or orange

    plain coffee or tea, without cream or milk

    sports drinks in flavors such as lemon, lime, or orange

    strained fruit juice, such as apple or white grape—avoid orange juice


    Different bowel preps may contain different combinations of laxatives—pills that you swallow or powders that you dissolve in water or clear liquids. Some people will need to drink a large amount, often a gallon, of liquid laxative over a scheduled amount of time—most often the night before and the morning of the procedure. Your doctor may also prescribe an enema.

    The bowel prep will cause diarrhea, so you should stay close to a bathroom. You may find this part of the bowel prep hard; however, finishing the prep is very important. Call a health care professional if you have side effects that keep you from finishing the prep.

    Your doctor will tell you how long before the procedure you should have nothing by mouth.

    Source : www.niddk.nih.gov

    What to expect after a colonoscopy

    It’s normal to wonder about what to expect after a colonoscopy. Learn more about what to happens during recovery from the cancer screening procedure.




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    Even though it’s a common cancer screening procedure, it’s completely normal to wonder about what will happen after you get a colonoscopy.


    Most people between the ages of 50 and 75 will only need to get a colonoscopy once every five or ten years. Whether it’s your first time or it’s been a few years, here’s a primer on what to expect after a colonoscopy.

    Colonoscopy aftercare FAQs

    “What happens once the doctor finishes the colonoscopy?”

    Colonoscopies are quick, generally taking around 20–30 minutes. Most patients “sleep” during the procedure because they are sedated to increase their comfort and aid in relaxation.

    Unless you’ve chosen not to be sedated during your colonoscopy, the nursing staff will move you to a recovery area to rest comfortably until anesthesia medication you’ve been given wears off. This part of the recovery typically takes about a half-hour.

    After this period, you’ll be free to go home under the care of a family member or a good friend for the first 24 hours.

    Some patients report having only a vague memory of everything that happened during their colonoscopy because of the effects of conscious sedation. Once you start to “wake up” from sedation, you may find yourself feeling a little sluggish and bloated. For relief from your cramps during the first hours after your colonoscopy, you’ll be encouraged to pass gas, and—until you stop feeling groggy—your doctor may recommend you limit your activity.

    The drugs will gradually wear off entirely during the rest of the day. You owe it to yourself to take it easy and give your body time to heal.


    “What happens if my doctor finds something?”

    If your doctor sees any abnormalities during your colonoscopy, they will discuss their findings with you after the procedure. In some cases, your doctor may find and remove polyps to prevent cancer from developing or take tissue samples from your colon wall for cancer screening; you can expect to get results from those biopsies within three to five days.

    “What can I eat after a colonoscopy?”

    Before your colonoscopy, you will have to avoid eating and drinking certain things. You will also need to be mindful of abiding by certain restrictions for the first 24 hours after your procedure, including:

    Getting plenty of liquids, especially beverages with sorbitol—like prune juice—which can alleviate constipation by softening your stool

    Avoiding high-fiber foods or taking any over-the-counter fiber supplements)

    Not drinking any alcohol

    If you had to stop taking medications as part of your colonoscopy prep, your doctor will give you advice on when you should restart taking those treatments.

    “How will I feel the day after a colonoscopy?”

    One day after your colonoscopy, you’ll finally start to feel more like yourself again. In fact, most patients feel up to returning to normal activities within 24 hours.

    It’s highly recommended that patients take it easy with scheduled activities for the first week after to allow enough time to get back to normal, especially if your doctor found and removed polyps during the procedure.

    Colonoscopy aftercare basics

    Having complications after a colonoscopy is rare but not impossible, which is why it’s so important to follow all post-procedure self-care recommendations from your doctor.

    You also need to be on alert for any warning signs of complications from a colonoscopy, such as:

    feeling extreme abdominal pain or severe bloating

    vomiting rectal bleeding

    experiencing irregular heartbeats

    having chills or a fever

    If you notice any of these symptoms or feel unwell and like something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room or call your doctor.

    Colonoscopies at Logansport Memorial Hospital

    Now that you know more about what to do after a colonoscopy (and what to expect), you’ll be better prepared to make the healing process go as smoothly as possible.

    Have questions about screening for colon cancer and maintaining good colon health? Set up a time to meet with one of the LMPN Surgical Services general surgeons by calling (574) 753-2222.

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