A colonoscopy is an important preventative procedure that helps to catch colon cancer and other serious health issues while they can still be successfully treated. We’ve talked a lot about how you should prepare for this regular screening exam, but we haven’t really touched on what you can expect shortly after your colonoscopy. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at what the first few hours and days after your colonoscopy will look like.
What’s Next After My Colonoscopy?
Congrats! You’ve successfully undergone your colonoscopy. But what comes next? Here’s a look into the first few days after your procedure.
Immediately following your procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area to allow the sedatives to wear off. This typically takes anywhere from 30-90 minutes, but you may still feel affected by the sedation for up to 24 hours. Because of this, you are advised to avoid any strenuous activity for the rest of the day, and most people schedule their procedure so that they do not have to return to work for at least the remainder of the day.
Even though you may feel better as the sedation wears off, it’s important to note that you will not be able to drive yourself home following the procedure. You will need to arraign a ride home following your colonoscopy, and if you do not have one planned, your procedure may be put on hold. Before you come in for your procedure, arrange for a friend or family member to give you a ride home, or download one of the many rideshare apps so you can Uber to and from your appointment.
Food & Drink
Another common question we get asked after the procedure is in regards to what a person can eat and drink afterwards. After all, the preoperative diet prep isn’t the most enjoyable experience for a lot of people. When it comes to your diet after the procedure, we have some good news to share. Unless a polyp was removed during the procedure or your gastroenterologist provides specific instructions about your diet, you should be able to return to your normal eating habits following your colonoscopy.
That said, it is worth noting that you may experience some mild gastrointestinal distress for the first 24-48 hours after your procedure. The most common symptoms are bloating, cramping and gas, but these symptoms don’t tend to last very long. With that in mind, you may want to limit your intake of foods that could add to this abdominal distress, like greasy or fatty foods, or carbonated beverages.
Signs of a Serious Problem
Finally, the only other thing we’ll really want you to be aware of after a colonoscopy are the signs of a serious problem. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your gastroenterologist immediately:
- Prolonged rectal bleeding
- Significant abdominal pain
You may notice a trace amount of blood in your stool after your colonoscopy, but if it is excessive or continues for multiple bowel movements, reach back out to your GI specialist, as there may be a larger issue at play.
And as always, if you have any questions about a colonoscopy or life after the procedure, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and the team at Bhatti GI Consultants today.