What to do After a Colonoscopy

A Look at Post-Colonoscopy Recommendations

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Did you know that after a colonoscopy, you're supposed to restrict certain activities, watch out for certain symptoms, and avoid taking some medications if you've had a polyp removed? Post-colonoscopy recommendations vary from patient to patient, so make sure you follow your doctor's instructions to the letter. The following guidelines are general so that you can get an idea of what's involved in post-colonoscopy care.

Restrict Certain Activities After a Colonoscopy

You will probably be asked to refrain from driving (or operating heavy machinery) until the day after your colonoscopy. Then, unless otherwise instructed, you should be able to return to normal activity. Normal activities include eating and drinking like normal. However, you may be asked to avoid drinking alcohol until 24 hours after the colonoscopy.

Be on the Lookout 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 Polyp Removal

If polyps were removed during your colonoscopy, you may be asked to alter your activities for seven days after the colonoscopy. For example, don't take blood thinners, don't lift more than five pounds, and don't go running.

You should also limit travel. Basically, be careful and cautious with your activities.

Did you know that after a colonoscopy, you're supposed to restrict certain activities, watch out for certain symptoms, and avoid taking some medications if you've had a polyp removed? After-colonoscopy recommendations vary from patient to patient, so make sure you follow your doctor's instructions to the letter.

These are simply general guidelines so people who haven't had a colonoscopy can get an idea of what's involved in after-colonoscopy care.

More Information About Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy entails the passage of a flexible colonoscope through the anal canal into the rectum and colon. A colonoscope allows visualization and removal of polyps suspicious of cancer. Currently, a colonoscopy is the best way (gold standard) to visualize the colon--better than flexible sigmoidoscopy or barium enema. Of note, CT is emerging as another effective means to detect colorectal cancer; however, CT may not be good at detecting flat lesions or polyps.

Many people who receive colonoscopy elect to be anesthetized. However, a skilled clinician can perform colonoscopy without sedation based on patient preference.

It's currently recommended that a person aged 50 or older and without cancer receive a colonoscopy every 10 years to screen for colorectal cancer. The frequency of screening with flexible sigmoidoscopy is shorter--once every 5 years.

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