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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it ok to take my regular medications the day before my procedure?
A: You are to stop taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Aspirin, etc. You must contact your doctor who prescribes this medication for instructions on how to regulate stopping these medications for your procedure. Stopping these blood thinners are based on the decision of the physician that you see at our office. All other medication can be continued until the day of the procedure.

Q: I feel nauseous. What should I do?
A: You can take a short break from drinking the prep. Try drinking ginger ale or another clear liquid to help settle your stomach. Continue your prep when the feeling has subsided. Try drinking the prep through a straw and also chilling the prep. You may also slow down how fast you are drinking the prep.

Q: I have vomited part of my prep. What should I do?
A: Unfortunately, it is not unusual to become nauseated after taking the colonosocopy prep. If your stool output is light-yellow liquid or clear, without solid debris, the prep that you have completed is probably adequate. If you have been unable to drink enough of the liquid due to nausea or vomiting, take a bottle of magnesium citrate.

Q: I started my prep and I haven't had a bowel movement yet. What should I do?
A: Some patients have a bowel movement immediately after starting the prep and for others it make 2 hours or longer. Continue drinking clear liquids and following your bowel prep instructions. Walking around may help start the process. 

Q: Why am I instructed to take the second part of the prep 4 to 5 hours before my procedure? Do I need to wake up in the middle of the night to do this?
A: Recent studies have shown that completing the prep five hours prior to the procedure improves detection rates of colon polyps. Many physicians recommend that the prep be taken in this manner. Depending on your appointment time, this may require you to wake up in the middle of the night to complete the prep.

Q: Can I drink anything other than water?
A: Yes! It is important that you drink a variety of allowed clear liquids to avoid the possibility of becoming nauseated and dehydrated. Clear liquids include:

  • Apple and white grape juice or other non-citrus juices without plp
  • Gatorade
  • Ginger ale
  • Diet or regular 7-Up
  • Sprite or colas
  • Kool Aid
  • Water
  • Clear broth
  • Popsicles
  • Honey and hard candies without filling

Also included in a clear liquid diet is black coffee or tea without cream or powdered creamer and Jell-o without added fruit.

Q: Why can't I drink or consume anything red during my clear liquid diet?
A: When you consume something red or purple, it can stain the colon or appear to be small amounts of blood. To help ensure an accurate exam, these liquids should be avoided.

Q: I have taken antibiotics prior to dental cleanings for mitral valve prolapse, should I take them for my colonoscopy as well?
A: According to the American Heart Association it is not necessary to take antibiotics for a colonoscopy unless it has been advised by your doctor.

Q: What should I do if my blood sugar starts dropping while I am following a clear liquid diet? Can I eat something?
A: Avoid solid foods. Drink juice to increase your blood sugar. You may also suck on hard candy that is not red.

Q: Can I drink alcohol the day before my procedure?
A: We do NOT recommend that you drink alcohol the day before your procedure, since we routinely give sedatives before and during the procedure. The sedatives can interact with alcohol.

Q: I am diabetic. What should I do about my insulin?
A: Call the physician that manages your diabetes and tell them of your prep. That physician should determine how to change your insulin dose.

Q: Why do I have to stop drinking four hours before my procedure?
A: We ask that you stop all clear liquids four hours prior to your procedure to allow your stomach to empty. If there are liquids in your stomach when given sedation, those liquids could be aspirated into your lunds causing serious complications.

Q: I already have diarrhea before starting my prep, do I still have to take all of the prep?
A: Yes. You must follow the prep instructions given to you. Your colon is approximatly 6 feet long and must be completely emptied to help ensure an accurate and thorough exam.

Q: I seem to be all cleaned out but I haven't finished my prep, do I have to finish them?
A: Yes. You must follow the prep instructions given to you. Your colon is approximatly 6 feet long and must be completely emptied to help ensure an accurate and thorough exam.

Q: Can I take my anti-anxiety medications the morning of my procedure?
A: Yes. You may take your anti-anxiety medications with a small sip of water.

Q: How long will the colonoscopy take?
A: The entire procedure usually takes less than an hour. You should plan to be at the facility foor approximately 2 hours. The amount of time may vary from patient to patient, depending on how much sedation is needed and how you feel afterwards. If your procedure if being done at the hospital, plan on 2 to 3 hours.

Q: What type of sedatives/anesthesia are used for the procedures?
A: Propofol Anesthesia

Q: Why do I need someone to drive me home?
A: You are required to have someone drive you home because of the sedation you will undergo during the procedure. Your relfexes are affected and you will not be able to safely drive.

Q: Can I take bus or a taxi home by myself after my procedure?
A: No. Due to the sedation given during the procedure, you are considered legally impaired. The sedation medication impairs your judgment and reflexes. A trusted person must be with you to drive you home or accompany you on public transit.

Q: When can I eat after my procedure?
A: Generally, you can eat immediately after your procedure avoiding greasy or spicy foods. Occasionally, there is mild nausea from the sedative medications. You may not have a full appetite until the following day.

Q: After the procedure, when will I have a normal bowel movement?
A: Because your intestines were completely cealned out for your procedure, it may take a few days of eating solid foods before you have a bowel movement.

Q: I am having a lot of pain and discomfort after my procedure. What should I do?
A: You should call our office. If you are having severe pain, you should go to the emergency room.

Q: Can I go back to work after my procedure?
A: Due to the sedation given during the procedure, you should plan to rest at home for the remainder of the day. You may resume your usual activities the day after your procedure.