7 FAQs: What To Expect After A Colonoscopy

You may tremor at the mere mention of the intrusive yet necessary procedure— a colonoscopy. Typically performed every ten years for healthy individuals 45 and older, a colonoscopy is when a doctor looks inside the colon and rectum to check for polyps or cancer. The steps to prepare for this procedure include tweaking your diet, staying hydrated, and drinking a prescription laxative. However, less commonly talked about is what to expect after a colonoscopy.

Post-Colonoscopy FAQs

Although it can be daunting, knowing what to expect after a colonoscopy and having access to reliable and accurate information can help ease some of your angst. The team at Birmingham Gastroenterology has compiled a list of frequently asked questions on what to expect after a colonoscopy.

FAQ #1: “What Can I Eat After A Colonoscopy?”

In preparation for your colonoscopy, it is recommended to avoid solid foods for at least 24 hours before the procedure. Because of this fast, you may come out on the other side hungry and ready to eat! Unless otherwise recommended by your doctor, it is fine to resume eating your normal diet post-procedure. Additionally, ensure you drink plenty of fluid and avoid alcohol for at least eight hours after a colonoscopy.   

FAQ #2: “How Will I Feel After A Colonoscopy?”

How people feel after a colonoscopy varies on a case-to-case basis. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests the anesthesia takes time to wear off, and oftentimes you may feel cramping or experience bloating in the first few hours after the procedure. Most people make a full recovery by the following day.   

FAQ #3: “Can I Exercise After Getting A Colonoscopy?”

It is recommended that you abstain from heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least 24 hours after a colonoscopy. This way, the anesthesia has time to wear off, and you can resume properly fueling your body before expending energy. If you have further questions about exercising after your procedure, consult your doctor to come up with a plan.

FAQ #4: “What Can I Take To Help Ease The Discomfort?”

After a colonoscopy, avoid taking pain relievers that contain aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Naprosyn, or Indocin. Generally, Tylenol is ok to take before and after a colonoscopy. If you find yourself constipated post-procedure, try increasing your fiber intake and avoid greasy or fried foods.

FAQ #5: “Why Is There Blood In My Stool?”

In some cases, you may notice blood in your stool after a colonoscopy. According to WebMD, blood in your stool is often due to the removal of a polyp or if your doctor had to take a tissue sample. Although this is not necessarily a cause for concern, if the bleeding persists or there is a lot of blood, contact your doctor immediately. 

FAQ #6: “Will I Need Someone To Drive Me Home?”

Yes! After a colonoscopy, it is necessary for someone to drive you home. Anesthesia can stay in your body for up to 24 hours. If you’ve had sedation, operating any heavy machinery or power tools is not recommended until the drugs have worn off completely.

FAQ #7: “What Warrants A Call To My Doctor?”

In most cases, emergency care is rarely needed after a colonoscopy. However, it is essential to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms that require medical attention. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Pain that doesn’t subside even after passing gas
  • Nausea, vomiting, or inability to drink fluids
  • New or worsening abdominal pain
  • You develop a fever
  • You are constipated and cannot pass gas

Not only is Birmingham Gastroenterology here to help you understand what to expect after your colonoscopy, but we also help you prepare for this procedure and make sure it goes smoothly. With expert advice on preparation and recovery, we have everything you need to know! If your questions are not answered above, make an appointment or give us a call at (205) 271-8000.

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