A colonoscopy requires that you take a “bowel prep” or a regimen of laxatives and a liquid diet. This ensures that your colon is clean and clear of stool for a better examination. It is very important that you follow the instructions for the bowel prep. Sometimes, the bowel prep can make you nauseated or even cause you to vomit. It is safe to take an antinauseant such as gravol if required. If you are unable to finish your prep, be sure to notify your doctor prior to coming into the center for your procedure. Do not mix any red or orange drinks of any kind with your prep. To fully evacuate the colon, this preparation will cause you to have many liquid bowel movements. Individual responses to the laxative can vary widely. Plan to remain near a restroom. Many patients find that moist towelettes may minimize the expected anal irritation from wiping. Please follow the instructions given to you by your physician.
After awakening from sedation, most patients have minimal discomfort. You may feel drowsy and disoriented. This comes from a short-term amnesic effect of one of the medicines you may have received. After the colonoscopy, you may feel bloated immediately after the procedure. You will be encouraged to expel the air. Do not be embarrassed. This air was instilled during your procedure to dilate your colon for better viewing. You will be able to pass it easily.
After awakening from sedation, most patients have minimal discomfort. You may feel drowsy and disoriented. If you have an upper endoscopy, you may find yourself belching for a short time following awakening. Your throat may be sore but usually will be fine in 24 hours.
Most of the procedures at our facility will be done under the anesthetic called Propofol. This is a short-acting intravenously administered anesthetic agent. It is used to sedate patients for short procedures. This drug will be administered by an anesthesiologist who will be present at all times during the procedure. He/ She will adjust the dose based upon your needs. You may wake up towards the end of the procedure as this part is not uncomfortable and this would allow for a faster recovery. If you drink moderate to large amounts of alcohol, take sleeping pills, or are on antidepressants or pain pills on a regular basis and have concerns about your sedation, be sure to discuss this with your physician prior to your procedure date.
The other 3 most common sedative type medications used during Endoscopic procedures are Fentanyl, Remifentanil and Versed. Fentanyl – This medication is a narcotic pain reliever, generally with anesthesia for surgery or procedures. Remifentanil – an ultra-short acting synthetic pain reliever. Versed – also called Midazolam is used before operations or procedures to relax you, make you sleepy and to decrease your memory of the event.
Discuss frequency of having these procedures with your physician. If you have a history of cancer or family history of colon cancer than your doctor may recommend that you have frequent screening every few years. If you do not have any problems or risk factors for colon cancer, it is recommended to have screening exams every 10 years. This is provided that the quality of prep for your colonoscopy was adequate.
You should discuss the need for insulin or a modification in your dose or amount you usually take with your physician prior to your scheduled appointment. The physicians are most likely to see you in consultation prior to scheduling you for a procedure at GIHC. Once you are scheduled for a procedure, our staff will ensure your safety and make every attempt to prevent complications by monitoring and treating your diabetes.
It is important to discuss all medical conditions with your physician prior to being scheduled for your procedure. Your physician may require your heart doctor to evaluate your condition prior to having the procedure. The physicians and registered nurses at GIHC are trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and GIHC is well-equipped with an AED and emergency life-saving equipment. We practice safe, high quality, patient focused health care.
If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, it is best to have this procedure performed in a hospital setting. You should discuss the necessity for having this procedure while you are pregnant with your physician. Your physician may recommend the procedure after you deliver your baby.
Your physician will advise you what type of diet to resume following your procedure. First meals may need to be light but this is determined by what was done during your procedure and physician preference.
Even though the sedatives wear off quickly after your procedure, they can affect your coordination for up to 12 hours. Technically, you are legally impaired. Therefore, for your safety and the safety of others on the road, please bring someone to drive you home. Your procedure can be canceled if you have no one to assist you.
Your physician usually will be able to tell you how well your procedure went and possibly some preliminary findings prior to your discharge. Often, tissue samples are obtained during the exam. These samples (biopsies) are sent to our laboratory and results can take a few weeks to return to your physician. Our staff will provide you with a report of your findings. Because of the medications you are given, you may not remember much of what you are told after your procedure. You will be given written instructions to take home and review. Often times you will be requested to make a follow-up appointment with your physician to discuss the findings of your exam.
When you arrive you will first register with our secretary who will take a copy of your health card, and take your pre-assessment form that you should have printed and filled out PRIOR to your arrival. You will later be escorted by the Nurse to prepare for the procedure. She will take a history and then you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and lie on a stretcher where you will remain throughout your stay. An IV will be inserted and all your vital signs will be monitored until you are fully recovered. You will speak with both the Anesthesiologist and Gastroenterologist prior to your procedure. After your procedure, you will continue to be monitored in the recovery area by a nurse. All in all, you should be able to leave the clinic within 90 minutes of arrival.
You may take all of your normal prescription medications unless otherwise directed. If you are taking Coumadin ®, Plavix ®, any blood thinning medicine or Insulin call your physician for special instructions before you begin your preparation. Try to avoid taking anti-inflammatory medicines for three days prior to the examination. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are medicines that relieve pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflammation.
Please bring your health card. Wear comfortable clothes and clean socks. Leave all jewelry and valuables at home. Bring a responsible adult to take you home after your procedure. Please bring a list of the medications you are currently taking as well as the list of medication allergies, allergies to adhesive tape or Latex, list of surgical procedures or medical conditions. Also, if applicable, please bring a method of payment for the block fee.
A block fee is a flat fee used to cover uninsured services.
Some general dietary and lifestyle recommendations for good colon health include:
- Exercising daily
- Use some type of relaxation techniques daily
- Try to have a regular schedule to have bowel movements
- Do not to use caffeine excessively
- DO NOT SMOKE
- Avoid constipating type drugs
- Drink plenty of fluids every day
- Eat at least 25-30 grams of fiber everyday
- Reduce or modify the amount of alcohol you consume
- Consult your physician if you have a change in the way you feel
- Get regular screening and encourage your family and friends to do the same.