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 it’s necessary to investigate symptoms, such as bleeding from your anus, pain in your abdomen, unexplained weight loss, or changes in your bowel movements.

You know to follow the preparatory instructions so you completely clear out your colon, or large intestine, giving Dr. Pothuri a clear view. You’ve restricted your diet to clear liquids for at least 24 hours and taken the laxative solution.

But you’d like to know what happens during the procedure and what to expect during recovery. Ease your nerves and be fully prepared before your procedure by knowing exactly what will happen every step of the way.

During the colonoscopy

After you arrive at your scheduled time, you’ll be given medications to help you relax and make you as comfortable as possible. Usually these sedatives are administered through an IV in your arm. You do not receive general anesthesia, but are sleepy and sedated.

During your colonoscopy, you lie on an exam table. Dr. Pothuri inserts a flexible tube through your rectum into the colon. This colonoscope is about as big around as your index finger. It’s lubricated so it goes in smoothly. Dr. Pothuri then pumps CO2 (or just air) and sterilized water or a saline solution through the tube to inflate your colon. This makes the entire lining more easy to see.

As he views your colon with a small camera that transmits a picture to a screen in the exam room, Dr. Pothuri may note abnormal areas and take a biopsy, if they look suspicious. If he notices any polyps, he may remove them. You won’t feel anything as they’re removed. Polyps are usually benign, but if allowed to grow they can develop into cancer.

Following your colonoscopy

After the colonoscopy, you’re moved to a recovery room so the effects of your sedative can wear off, which usually takes 1-2 hours. The air pumped into your colon may cause continued bloating and cramps for an hour or so. You should, in fact, pass gas during and after the procedure to relieve the lingering cramps.

You’ll feel groggy after the procedure and should arrange to have a friend or family member take you home. Dr. Pothuri provides you with comprehensive aftercare instructions for the hours and few days following your procedure.

You’ll need to limit your activities in the hours after the test, too. Going back to work or school is out of the question. The day after the procedure, you should feel like yourself again and can return to your normal diet and resume all medications.

Abnormal after effects

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 our office.

At GastroDoxs, we assist you every step of the way for your colonoscopy. The more you feel comfortable with what happens before, during, and after the procedure, the more you can relax. We’re available to all members of the Greater Houston community when it comes to gastrointestinal health. Call the office or schedule an appointment using this website.

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