What to Expect from Lower Endoscopy/Colonoscopy

Prior to the Procedure

  • Talk to your doctor about any medications/vitamins/herbs you are taking as you may need to stop certain ones before surgery.
  • Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood thinners one week prior to the procedure.
  • Discontinue any diet medications or St. John’s Wort two weeks before the procedure.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • Patients complete a thorough colon cleansing prior to a colonoscopy by drinking a solution that removes all waste from the region.
  • Based on physician recommendations, patients may also go on a restricted liquid diet, take laxatives and self-administer enemas prior to the procedure.
  • It’s critical that the colon and rectum be completely empty.
  • The day before surgery, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • You will have blood samples taken in case you need a blood transfusion.

On the Day of the Procedure

  • Follow the instructions provided by your gastroenterologist.
  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After the Procedure

  • You may have fullness, gas and mild cramping for the next 24 hours. This will improve over time.
  • You may have light bleeding at your next bowel movement. This is normal. If there is more than a couple of teaspoons of blood, please contact your doctor.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

Most patients will be fully recovered by the next day. If you had biopsies, you will be advised to refrain from lifting for the next week.


Endoscopy/Colonoscopy Q&A

What does the procedure involve?

Patients are lightly sedated prior to the procedure. In WakeMed’s endoscopy suite, the doctor will insert a thin, flexible endoscope that will travel throughout the colon and intestines, showing inside the lower digestive tract. Gas is pumped into the colon to allow for a better view. If a polyp is found, the gastroenterologist can remove it for evaluation. If bleeding is found, the doctor can seal these areas.

How many incisions are made?

No incisions are made during this procedure.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

Patients will recover for about one to two hours and then be discharged. You will be required to have someone drive you home.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients are fully recovered by the next day. If you had biopsies taken, you will have to limit lifting heavy objects for seven to 10 days.