Your physician may recommend a colonoscopy to evaluate digestive health symptoms, such as abdominal pain or bleeding, or to look for early signs of colorectal cancer. Whatever the reason for your colonoscopy, count on the experienced doctors and nurses at Cone Health to keep you feeling comfortable, safe and secure during the procedure.
What is a Colonoscopy?
During a colonoscopy, your gastroenterologist uses a colonoscope—a long thin tube with a camera on the end—to examine your large intestine.
Your doctor may also remove polyps—small growths of tissue—during the procedure. Most polyps are noncancerous, but some are cancerous or can turn into cancer if they’re not removed.
What to Expect at Your Exam
Plan to spend two to three hours at the hospital or facility on the day of your procedure.
The colonoscopy takes 10 to 60 minutes, depending on whether your doctor needs to remove polyps.
After a short recovery time, you’ll meet with your physician to review your findings and discuss follow-up care. You should rest at home for the remainder of the day.
What to Bring to Your Appointment
You must bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment. He or she will act as your support person and drive you home after the procedure.
You’ll also need your insurance card.
You may be asked to remove dentures or contact lenses before your procedure. Please wear loose clothing and leave jewelry, purses and wallets at home.
How to Prepare For Your Colonoscopy
For the most accurate colonoscopy results, you’ll need to clean out your colon before the procedure. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions and answer your questions to help you prepare for your exam. Here are a few of our most frequently heard questions.
How can I improve the taste of the preparation solution?
Try any of the following to improve or overcome the salty aftertaste of the solution:
- Suck on hard candy
- Chew flavored gum
- Suck on a Popsicle or sucker
- Drink another beverage immediately after swallowing the solution
How long after I drink the liquid should I begin having bowel movements?
Everyone is different. Some people begin in the first hour; others, not until the fourth hour or later. Activity helps stimulate the bowel, so if possible, remain active while waiting for the prep to kick in.
What if I can’t drink all the solution?
To get accurate colonoscopy results, it’s important to drink all the solution in the set amount of time. If you can’t complete the preparation, call your doctor’s office.
Why does someone need to be there while I have my procedure?
Endoscopic procedures are generally safe, but due to the risk of possible complications associated with the procedure(s) and anesthesia, we require the presence of someone who can act as your spokesperson should the need arise for an emergency intervention.
Why do I need a driver the day of my exam?
The medicines used for sedation affect your ability to drive safely because they cause delayed reflexes, impair thinking and judgement, and have some amnesic effects. Even though you may feel all right, you should refrain from driving, operating any type of machinery, making any critical decisions or signing any legal documents until the day after your procedure.