Post and After Colonoscopy Care
What is colonoscopy?
A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure to examine the inside of the large intestine (colon and rectum). Colonoscopy is commonly used for evaluating gastrointestinal symptoms, e.g. rectal and intestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, or changes in bowel habits. Colonoscopies are also performed in individuals without symptoms to check for colorectal polyps or cancer. A screening colonoscopy is recommended for anyone 50 years of age and older, and for anyone with parents, siblings or children with a history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
Preparation for Colonoscopy
Prepare the colon as clean as the palm of your hand before colonoscopy. Do following steps;
24 hours before examination:
- Drink clear liquids only. It’s okay to have clear broth and non-colored Jell-O
- Don’t eat solid foods
- Drink a large volume of the special cleansing solution and/or special oral laxatives recommended by your doctor
- Split the solution dose
- Drink the first two liters on the evening before the examination
- Drink the second two liters four to six hours before the exam. This last step is critical to getting a really thorough cleansing.
When preparing for a colonoscopy, it is extremely important to follow your doctor’s instructions.
Care after colonoscopy
Since air was introduced into the colon through the colonscope during the procedure, “gassy” feeling may be experienced afterwards, including some mild abdominal cramping. Do not try to hold this air in. If you are afraid of having an “accident” then go immediately to toilet to release the gas out. If cramping does not subside, abdomen remains bloated, or fever is caused, contact doctor immediately.
Disregarding whether or not a polyp is removed or a biopsy taken, a slight amount of blood may occur during the first 24-48 hours. However, if bleeding continues call your doctor.
Take light meal after examination and resume regular diet on following day.
Do not perform heavy lifting or strenuous activity for at least 48 hours. Avoid working in the squatting position and no straining. You may go up and down stairs and carry on normal activities.
Drink plenty of fluids. You may tend to be constipated for a day after the examination. If you tend to be constipated normally you should begin taking a stool softening agent immediately . NO LAXATIVES.
Should feeling discomfort around the anal opening, recommend Nupercainal® ointment and sitz baths, sitting in three(3) to six(6) inches of comfortably hot water four to six times a day.
The area of injection where you received the I.V. medication may become warm, tender, reddened or hard. Should that happens, apply heat (warm moist wash cloth or dry covered heating pad) for 30 min. and 3 times a day. Take 2 Tylenol tablets every 4 hours as needed for discomfort. If the injection area does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, or if the symptoms become worse, contact your doctor immediately.
After colonscopy do not take any aspirin for two weeks. Also, no Motrin, Advil, or any Ibuprofen products.
Restrict Certain Activities After a Colonoscopy
Refrain from driving (or operating heavy machinery) until the day after your colonoscopy. Then, unless otherwise instructed, you should be able to resume normal activity which includes eating and drinking like normal. However, you may be asked to avoid drinking alcohol until 24 hours after the colonoscopy.
Watching for Certain Symptoms After a Colonoscopy
Immediately call your doctor if, within 24 hours of the colonoscopy, you have chills or fever, rectal bleeding (more than a tablespoon), swelling or redness at your IV site, or severe abdominal pain or bloating. (Mild abdominal pain and bloating is expected after a colonoscopy)
More Restrictions after Polyps Removed
Alter your activities for seven days. Such as, don’t take blood thinners, limit travel, don’t lift more than five pounds, and don’t go running. Basically, let yourself be babied.
Prepare for a Colonoscopy
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Preparing for a Colonoscopy