What To Expect During And After Your First Colonoscopy

You’ve been scheduled for a colonoscopy as a routine screening for colon or rectal cancer. Or maybe a colonoscopy is a common medical procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your large intestine (colon) and rectum. It is usually used to screen for colon cancer or other diseases of the colon and rectum.

The colonoscopy itself is usually quick and relatively painless. You will be given a sedative and remain awake and alert, and the colonoscopy itself only takes a few minutes. The colon and rectum can be viewed on a TV monitor throughout the procedure.

An average colonoscopy will take about 20-30 minutes to complete; however, this may vary depending on why you’re having the colonoscopy as well as your own unique medical history.

After the colonoscopy, you will need to rest for a while. You may be discharged from the clinic or hospital shortly afterwards, but you should avoid driving and drinking alcohol until the following day. You will also need to take it easy for the next few days, resting as much as possible.

Most colonoscopies are relatively straightforward, but colonoscopy can be very uncomfortable for some people.

Some of the more common colonoscopy side effects include but are not limited to:

  • cramping or bloating in your abdomen (this may become severe)
  • feeling sick and being unable to eat for a few hours afterwards
  • feeling like you need to pass stools even though you don’t have to go
  • fever, chills or flushing
  • pain in your rectum while passing stools for several hours after the colonoscopy

Your recovery should go just fine, but if you do have symptoms in the days following such as severe abdominal pain, dizziness, weakness, or fever, call our office immediately. Any bleeding from your anus or bloody bowel movements that don’t resolve in a day or two also require a checkup with your doctor.