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Colonoscopy Preparation Frequently Asked Questions

 

What if I took aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications within 7 days of my scheduled procedure?

Do not take any more and when you check in for your procedure, notify the nurse or doctor of what medication was taken and when. It is unlikely the procedure will need to be cancelled.

What should I do if I become nauseated while taking the prep?

Stop taking the mixture for 1 hour and then resume according to the dosing schedule.

What if I vomit after taking any of the doses of preparation?

It’s OK! You may stop taking the mixture for 1 hour and then resume according to the dosing instructions. If vomiting continues after several hours, please call your doctor.

When can I expect the preparation to “kick in” and what if it doesn’t within the time frame?

Most patients will have results within two hours after taking the first dose, but it may take as long as six hours. The preparations are very effective if they are taken according to the instructions.

If you were to have very limited results or no results, please call the doctor's office in the morning prior to your procedure for additional instructions. It’s unlikely that your procedure would need to be cancelled.

What should the final bowel movements look like if the preparation was adequate?

Bowel movements should be a clear yellow color (similar to urine) with no solid stool. Please observe your final bowel movements as the nursing staff will be asking you what they look like.

What if I ate or drank something on the list of foods and beverages to avoid?

Unless it was a full solid meal at dinner the night prior to or the day of your procedure, continue to take the preparation as indicated on the instructions. Eating or drinking something once or twice will not be harmful. Continue to avoid foods listed on the instructions. Stay on clear liquids the day before your procedure and do not drink any liquids four hours prior to your procedure.

What if I don’t have a person to provide a ride to and from the procedure?

It is imperative that you have someone with you after the procedure to hear the results of the procedure and any instructions that are given by the physician. Also, for your own safety, someone needs to accompany you home. You will not be allowed to drive yourself.

What should I expect after my procedure?

You may experience several minor effects including, but not limited to:

  • You will be tired for the day and may feel confused or forgetful. This may last up to 12 hours after sedation and should resolve after a full night’s rest.
  • You may not recall speaking with the doctor after the procedure.
  • You may feel bloated and have gas pains and mild cramping.
  • You will be thirsty and/or hungry.
  • You may experience nausea or vomiting.
  • You may notice a small amount of rectal bleeding (less than a tablespoon). This can be expected if a biopsy was taken or if polyps were removed.
  • You may not have a bowel movement for 48 hours after the procedure.
  • You should be able to return to your normal activities after 12 hours or the next day, after a full night’s rest.

Please remember to carefully read over the discharge instructions given to you after the procedure.

For what concerns during the preparation or after the procedure should I immediately contact the physician?

If any of the following symptoms occur while taking your preparation or after your procedure, please call the doctor's office and ask to speak to a nurse or the physician on call if it's after 5pm or before 8am.

During the preparation:

  • Unusual or severe abdominal pain (some cramping is to be expected).
  • Severe nausea or vomiting lasting greater than two hours.
  • Vomiting blood or passing excessive amounts of blood in the toilet (small amounts in the toilet or on the toilet tissue is okay).

After the procedure

  • Unusual or severe abdominal pain (some cramping is to be expected).
  • Severe nausea or vomiting lasting greater than two hours.
  • Vomiting blood or passing excessive amounts of blood in the toilet (small amounts in the toilet or on the toilet tissue is okay).
  • Black tarry stools.
  • Fever of new onset (greater than 100°).
  • Excessive abdominal distention/bloating (abdomen feeling “tight as a drum”).