Frequently Asked Questions
Preparing for your Colonoscopy:
Question: What preparation is required?
Answer: The colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and complete.
Question: How do I prepare for the colonoscopy?
Answer: Exact instructions will be given to you when you set up your appointment.
Question: What about my current medications?
Answer: Please refer to your prep information sheet. Important medications such as heart medications can be taken the morning of your procedure with a sip of water.
Question: What are clear liquids?
Answer: Water, coffee, or tea, strained fruit juices with no pulp (apple juice, white grape juice), soft drinks, sports drinks (ginger ale, cola, Sprite, 7-Up, Gatorade). Chicken or beef bouillon/ broth low sodium, fat free. Lemon or lime Jello with no fruit or toppings. You can have hard candies. Nothing with red or purple coloring.
Question: Why can’t I have red or purple coloring?
Answer: It can leave a residue in the bowel that resembles blood.
Question: How soon after the procedure will I return to full activity?
Answer: You can expect to return to full activities the next day. This would include driving.
Question: Why do I need a colonoscopy for colon cancer screening if I have no symptoms?
Answer: Colon cancer rarely shows symptoms until much later in the disease. It is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., which is why screening has become so important.
Question: How long will the procedure take?
Answer: The lower colonoscopy procedure takes about 30-45 minutes on average. Because of preparatory time before your endoscopy and a period of recovery, you and your escort should expect to spend 90-120 minutes at our facility.
Question: I take antibiotics before dental procedures, will I need to take antibiotics before my procedure?
Answer: The American Heart Association has developed guidelines for identifying need for antibiotics before endoscopic procedures. These may differ from your dentists requirement for antibiotics before dental work. Discuss your need for pre-procedure antibiotics with our office if you have any concerns. They are administered primarily for patients who have artificial heart valves.
Question: Is the procedure videotaped?
Answer: The images generated during your procedure are seen on a TV monitor. We do not have the capability to videotape procedures.
Question: Will I be put to sleep for the procedure?
Answer: You will NOT be given a general anesthetic as when a patient has major surgery. You will be given medication through an IV site that will cause relaxation. Many patients have no memory of their procedure when completed due to the medications’ effects.
Question: What medication will I be given?
Answer: Medicines are given in the vein through an IV port placed in your hand or arm. Medication dosage and type may vary depending on your individual needs. Generally, a narcotic medication such as Demerol or Fentanyl is used in addition to Versed or Diprivan, which has effects similar to Valium. For an upper endoscopy, a spray may be used to numb your throat and to help prevent gagging. It contains a medicine very similar to that used by your dentist for dental work.
Question: Will I have pain during the procedure?
Answer: Upper endoscopy is generally painless except for a feeling of mild transient fullness as the scope is passed through the mouth and throat. The majority of colonoscopy patients note no discomfort during the procedure. A few patients will remember some mild cramping and discomfort during the procedure. A small number of patients will experience significant discomfort during the exam. There is usually no pain after the procedure other than mild bloating in the first hour as gas passes out of the colon.
Question: Why do I need a driver?
Answer: The medicines you are given have much the same effect on the brain function as alcohol. In addition, the effects of the medicine stay in the body for several hours and will affect judgment and reaction time long after the patient feels the medicine is gone. In general, all the effects of your sedation will be gone by the morning after your procedure. You will have no restrictions at that time.
Question: Will I have pain during the procedure?
Answer: Upper endoscopy is generally painless except for a feeling of mild transient fullness as the scope is passed through the mouth and throat. The majority of colonoscopy patients note no discomfort during the procedure. A few patients will remember some mild cramping and discomfort during the procedure. There is usually no pain after the procedure other than mild bloating in the first hour as gas passes out of the colon.
Question: Will I know what the doctor found? If biopsies are done, how long does it take to get results?
Answer: Dr Ahmed will talk to you after your procedure. He will tell you at that time what was seen. If biopsies are taken, or polyps removed, you will know the results in 2-3 weeks. You will be contacted by phone or letter about your results with instructions for follow-up, if necessary. You will receive results even if the pathology is normal. If you have not heard from us within four weeks, call the office to let us know. We will give you your results at that time.
Question: Will I remember the doctor talking to me after the procedure?
Answer: One of the sedation medicines (Versed or Diprivan) you are given causes amnesia. After your procedure you may be alert, able to follow commands and ask questions, but you may not remember any events. Your doctor will talk with you after your exam. We encourage your escort to be with you at that time so they can hear the discussion in case you have any questions later. The day after your exam, a nurse will be calling to check how you are doing and can answer questions for you at that time or refer you to your physician if appropriate.
Question: Is it normal to get chills/cold with the prep? Or nausea or vomiting? How do you handle the slow to eliminate prep?
If you use the large volume preparation such as GoLyte, NuLyte, CoLyte, the following should be considered:
• After mixing the solution at noon, place in the refrigerator. When you start the prep in the evening, take about 2 quarts out of the refrigerator and drink as scheduled. When the 2 quarts are gone, refill the container and continue this pattern until all the prep is taken. This will keep the solution cold enough to help keep the taste from getting too salty but not so cold that it will chill your body. Occasionally, you may feel chilled.
• Ten percent of patients will have nausea and vomiting with the prep. If you are becoming nauseated, stop the liquid and take the anti nausea medicine that was given to you. Then wait 45-60 minutes before drinking the prep. Restart the prep at one glass every 15-20 minutes until it is gone. If you continue to vomit despite taking the anti nausea medication (Phenergan or Promethazine), phone the doctor’s exchange.
• The amount of time needed for the liquid to cause diarrhea varies, it can take up to 4 or more hours.
Question: Is yellow fluid after a colon prep OK?
Answer: Some residual liquid in the colon is normal after preparation for colonoscopy. Since the body continues to produce bile even if you do not eat, this bile will color the liquid yellow. Small to moderate amounts of clear or cloudy yellow liquid eliminated from the rectum is normal the day of colonoscopy.
Question: How long will it take to get the air out?
Answer: Most people are able to pass all the air out of their GI tract within 1-2 hours after the procedure. Walking about or lying on the left side may help to eliminate the air.
Question: When can I eat? What can I eat?
Answer: Unless instructed otherwise, you should wait 2 hours after your procedure to have a meal to be assured that all gas has passed out of the GI tract and you are alert enough to eat. Unless instructed otherwise, you will have no dietary limitations after your procedure. You should drink no alcohol for 24 hours because of the sedation medicine you were given for your procedure.
Question: Will my throat be sore after an EGD?
Answer: Your throat will feel numb for 1-2 hours. You may have mild soreness for the rest of the day, especially if you underwent dilatation. Severe throat pain or pain that persists for more then 48 hours should be reported to your doctor.