Below are some common questions and answers about a colonoscopy and an endoscopy:

How long will my procedure take?

Each patient responds differently to the medications, so please allow approximately two hours from the time you arrive until you leave the facility. The procedure itself typically takes between 15-30 minutes.

Will the procedure hurt?

Due to the sedation used, most patients can’t feel anything during the procedure and have no recollection of it afterward.

What preparation is required?

Preparation for a colonoscopy usually includes a period of dietary restrictions as well as drinking a “prep solution” with certain laxatives to clean out the intestine.
Preparation for an endoscopy does not include a laxative, but instead a period of fasting.
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow. Please see our Prep Instructions for more information.

The prep solution is making me feel nauseated. What should I do?

It is important that you finish drinking the solution because the inside of your colon must be clean for the doctor to complete the examination. If you feel nauseated, try drinking the prep more slowly. If desired, the prep solution may be chilled in the refrigerator. Walking and other physical activities can reduce nausea. If you vomit, wait 30 minutes and begin drinking the solution again. If you continue having difficulty please call our office.

Why can I not use Fleets® Phospho-Soda?

The best preparation for your colonoscopy is one that is safe for you and lets the physician view your colon as clearly as possible. Our physicians stopped ordering Fleets® Phospho-Soda and pill forms of phospho-soda (Visicol®, Osmo® prep) after FDA reports of (rare) kidney injury. Our standard prep is a combination of bisacodyl (Dulcolax®) tablets and a 1-238gm bottle of Miralax mixed with a 64oz bottle of clear liquid such as Gatorade or Crystal Light. This prep is safer and more effective. Please see our Prep Instructions for more information.

I am drinking the prep and am having loose, watery stools. Do I need to drink the rest of the prep?

Yes, as you may have solid stool higher in the colon that needs to be eliminated.

I am diabetic. What do I do if my blood sugar drops while prepping for my procedure?

You may drink apple juice or regular (not ‘diet’) clear soda. You may also take glucose gel or tablets to raise your blood glucose.

Can I have the colonoscopy if I am having my menstrual period?

Yes, the procedure can still be performed. If possible, please use a tampon.

Will I be given antibiotics prior to my procedure?

Medical studies have proven that unnecessary or overuse use of antibiotics can be associated with the development of bacteria that can’t be killed by antibiotics. We will use antibiotics for certain procedures and high risk patients, but they are not necessary for most patients.

Can I take my regular medicines the day of my procedure?

Most medications can be continued, but a few medicines may need to be adjusted or stopped before the examination. Tell your doctor what medications you take, especially anticoagulants like Plavix, Coumadin (warafin,) Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eloquis, Effient, Jantoven, Aggrenox, Persantine or other blood thinners. All other oral medications, inhalers and nebulizers should be taken at least 4 hours prior to your procedure. Do not skip any doses of your blood pressure medicine. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have had any reactions to medications in the past.

Is intravenous sedation used for colonoscopies?

Yes, sedating medication is administered into a vein by a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist). The medication works quickly to promote relaxation, drowsiness and forgetfulness. This is considered deep sedation and most patients have no recollection of the procedure when it is over. Tell your doctor if you have ever had a bad reaction to a sedating medication.

Are blood pressure, pulse and blood oxygen levels monitored during sedation?

Yes. Your vital signs (blood pressure, pulse and breathing) are closely monitored during your procedure.

Is it necessary that I have a driver for a sedated procedure?

Yes. You must have an adult driver (18 years or older). You should not operate an automobile or machinery for at least 8 hours after your procedure. The sedating medication will affect your memory for a short time, so the physician will speak with your driver about the results of your procedure and any necessary aftercare or follow-up. If you arrive without a driver your procedure will be rescheduled.

What if the colonoscopy shows something abnormal?

Some problems can be treated during the procedure itself, such as treating certain types of bleeding or removing polyps. The doctor also can obtain a biopsy (a tissue sample) for further evaluation. Biopsies are used to identify many conditions, and may be taken even if cancer is not suspected.

What are polyps and why are they removed?

Polyps are growths that protrude from the wall of the colon and look like an inflated balloon. Cancer begins in polyps, removing them and checking them for precancerous cells helps to prevent colorectal cancer.

How are polyps removed?

Your doctor can remove polyps during the colonoscopy using medical instruments inserted through the colonoscope. This usually causes little to no pain.

How long will I have to wait for the results of my procedure?

The doctor will speak with you before you go home and give you preliminary results. If biopsies were taken or polyps removed it will take 7-10 days to receive the results from the lab. Once the doctor has received and reviewed the results, the doctor or nurse will notify you by mail or phone. If you have not been made aware of your results within 2 weeks, please call our office at (336) 448-2427.