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Reasons for Procedure
- Puncture of the bowel
- Pre-existing heart or kidney condition
- Treatment with certain medicines, including aspirin and other drugs with blood-thinning properties
- Prior abdominal surgery or radiation treatments
- Active colitis , diverticulitis , or other acute bowel disease
- Previous treatment with radiation therapy
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Perform a physical exam
- Review your health history
- Review any medication you are taking
- Test your stool for blood
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners like clopidogrel or warfarin
- Iron supplements or vitamins containing iron
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Arrange for a ride home after the procedure.
- Enemas —fluid introduced into the rectum to stimulate a bowel movement
- Laxatives—medicines that cause you to have soft bowel movements
- Oral cathartic medicines—a large container of fluid to drink that stimulates a bowel movement
- Do not eat any solid foods. This includes milk or cream in your coffee.
- Drink only clear liquids such as water, coffee without cream, ginger ale, apple juice, Gatorade (do not drink red Gatorade)
- You can also have Jello or popsicles as long as they are not red
- Do not drink alcohol
- If you have diabetes, ask your doctor if you need to adjust your insulin dose
Description of the Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
- It will be sent to a lab to be examined. It may take 1-2 weeks for results. The doctor can usually give an initial report after the scope is removed. Other tests may be advised.
- A small amount of bleeding may occur during the first few days after the procedure.
- Resume medicines as advised by your doctor.
- Resume normal diet, unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
- The sedative will make you drowsy. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or making important decisions for the rest of the day.
- Rest for the remainder of the day.
Call Your Doctor
- Bleeding from your rectum—Notify your doctor if you pass a teaspoonful of blood or more.
- Black, tarry stools
- Severe abdominal pain
- Hard, swollen abdomen
- Signs of infection, including fever or chills
- Inability to pass gas or stool
- Coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, severe nausea or vomiting
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy http://www.asge.org
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Radiology for Patients http://www.radiology-info.org/
Colonoscopy. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colonoscopy/. Updated April 17, 2012. Accessed February 6, 2013.
Frequently asked questions about colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/FindCancerEarly/ExamandTestDescriptions/faq-colonoscopy-and-sigmoidoscopy. Updated June 28, 2012. Accessed February 6, 2013.
How to prepare for your colonoscopy. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/colonoscopy/MY00621/DSECTION=how-you-prepare. Updated June 18, 2011. Accessed February 6, 2013.
6/2/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013
- Update Date: 09/30/2013