Skip to content

    Colorectal Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Colonoscopy

    How Do I Prepare for a Colonoscopy?

    There may be some diet or fluid restrictions before you have a colonoscopy, but this will vary according to your doctor's instructions. You may be asked to limit or eliminate solid foods for a few days before the test. You may also be asked to take laxatives by mouth. Along with the dietary changes, your bowel must be further cleansed in order for colonoscopy to be successful. You will receive 2 enemas before the procedure because the rectum and lower intestine must be empty so that the intestinal walls can be seen. You will need to try to hold the enema solution for at least 5 minutes before releasing it.

    Make sure you arrange for a driver to bring you home after the colonoscopy. Because you receive sedating medication during the procedure, it is unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery for 8 hours after the procedure.

    What Happens After a Colonoscopy?

    After your colonoscopy:

    • You will stay in a recovery room for about 30 minutes for observation
    • You may feel some cramping or a sensation of having gas, but this usually passes quickly
    • You can resume your normal diet

    Read your discharge instructions carefully. Certain medications, such as blood-thinning agents, may need to be avoided temporarily if biopsies were taken or polyps were removed.

    Bleeding and puncture of the colon are rare but possible complications of colonoscopy. Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on June 28, 2015
    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    The right diagnosis is the most important factor.
    man with a doctor
    Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    bladder cancer x-ray
    Do you know the warning signs?
     
    bread
    ARTICLE
    Colon vs Rectal Cancer
    VIDEO
     
    New Colorectal Treatments
    VIDEO
    can lack of sleep affect your immune system
    FEATURE
     
    Cancer Facts Quiz
    QUIZ
    Virtual Colonoscopy
    VIDEO
     
    Picture of the Colon
    ANATOMY
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW