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What To Expect On The Day Of Your Colonoscopy

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Depending on the time of your procedure, you may need to finish your prep. You may continue to drink clear liquids up until two hours before your procedure. After arriving for your procedure, you will be checked-in and asked to turn off any devices (e.g., cell phone, tablet, etc.). All items you bring will be stored in a bag under your bed. You will be taken to a procedure room, asked to remove all jewelry and given a gown to wear. You will be given a sedative or pain medicine through an IV (intravenous) line and oxygen.Your blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate and oxygen level will be monitored throughout. For the procedure you will usually be asked to lie on your left side. Depending on the anesthesia or sedative given, you may be able to feel the colonoscope, but your provider will walk you through the procedure and how to avoid discomfort. For most, the sedative and pain medicines cause you to feel sleepy and relaxed, so you may not remember much of the procedure.

Can I shower, eat breakfast, or brush my teeth the morning of my colonoscopy?

You may not eat anything the morning of your procedure, but you may continue to drink clear liquids up until 2 hours before your procedure. You may shower and brush your teeth.

Will I be shaved before my colonoscopy?

You will not be shaved.

If I am actively menstruating can I wear a tampon, pad, or diva cup?

Your menstruation cycle will not affect your colonoscopy. Your underwear will be removed during the procedure, so you may continue to use internal products. 

What do I need to bring to my procedure?

  • Name and phone number of the person who will take you home
  • Photo ID
  • Insurance card
  • A copy of your current medications and doses
  • Your pacemaker or internal defibrillator device card (if applicable)

A cell phone or other device (e.g., tablet, kindle, etc.), however, you will be asked to turn it off at the front desk

How long will my procedure take?

You should expect to spend two to three hours at your procedure. While the colonoscopy will be 30 to 40 minutes, you’ll need time to check in before and recover after.

How much of my body will be exposed?

You will be given a gown to wear during your procedure and will be asked to remove your underwear. Your provider will insert the colonoscope through your anus. Other than your anus, the gown will cover the rest of your body.

Will I be sedated or under anesthesia?

The sedation or anesthesia used depends on your previous medical history and your provider’s recommendation. Some patients will receive light sedation and may feel the colonoscope throughout the procedure. Others will be under anesthesia and feel nothing. Whether you receive sedation or anesthesia, most patients don’t remember much about the procedure. Speak with your provider about what you will be given.

Will I be able to feel the colonoscope? Will it hurt?

Depending on the amount of sedation given you may be able to feel the colonoscope. This may cause discomfort, mild pain, pressure or cramping. Your provider may ask you to take slow deep breaths or move positions to relieve discomfort. 

What happens after my procedure?

After your procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room to be monitored. Your recovery process will depend on the type of sedative you’ve had. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable, and you are awake and alert, you’ll be taken to your hospital room (if your procedure is a part of a longer hospital stay) or you may be discharged to your home. You will NOT be able to drive home under ANY circumstances, so make sure you have someone scheduled and ready after your procedure to drive you home. You should not drive for 24 hours or at least for the remainder of the day.

What is a normal response to the procedure?

After the procedure, you may pass gas and feel gas pains in your stomach. Walking and moving about may help ease any mild pain.

What should do if I am experiencing pain or an abnormal response after my procedure?

If you are experiencing severe or life-threatening pain call 911.

Call our nurses at 508-334-6484, 508-334-8419 or 774-442-2154 if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Frequent bloody stools
  • Moderate belly pain or swelling
  • Your belly feels hard
  • You are not able to pass gas

You may be given additional instructions to ease pain and symptoms, depending on your situation.

How much rest will I need after my procedure? When can I go back to work and activities?

After your procedure, you should take the rest of the day off to rest and allow for the sedation or anesthesia to wear off. Avoid alcohol, driving and major decisions. You should not drive for 24 hours or at least for the remainder of the day. You may need more time to recover if a polyp was removed.

Can I eat and drink normally after my procedure?

You can often eat whatever you feel you can tolerate after the procedure. Some people start with small, bland meals; others do not. You should not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours. You may be asked to drink extra fluids to make up for the water you lost as you prepared for the procedure.