Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drive myself home after my colonoscopy

NO. You will receive medicine to make you sleepy during the test. That means you cannot drive home. You must arrange for someone to drive you home after the test. You may also use public transportation (taxi or bus), but only if you have an adult who can escort you home.

How long will the test take?

The test itself takes about 10-30 minutes. But, expect to spend more time at the doctors’ since you’ll need to prepare for and recover from your test. Expect to spend about 4-5 hours at your facility, although this may vary.

What are the side effects of the “bowel prep?”

You will have lots of diarrhea from the bowel prep. This will start anywhere from a few minutes to 3 hours after you start your prep. So plan to be home, and plan to be near a toilet. Most people have bloating and abdominal discomfort. This is normal. Do not be alarmed if you feel these symptoms. Many people have nausea. This is also normal. Some people do not like the taste or smell of the medicine. Please do not let this get in the way of taking the medicine as directed. Rarely, some people throw up while taking the prep. If this happens, stop taking the prep and call your doctor.

My prep hasn't started working yet. Is that OK?

Different people respond differently to the bowel prep — some people start having diarrhea within minutes of taking the prep, while others have no response for an hour or more. If you have waited more than 3 hours without a response, then it may not be working well. Be sure you are drinking enough fluid, as instructed. If that doesn't work, take the second part of your prep and continue to drink fluids. It should work eventually. Call your doctor if the medicine is still not working at all despite drinking enough fluid and taking the medicine as prescribed.

How do I know when my bowel prep is complete?

The stool coming out should look like the stuff you are eating and drinking — clear, without many particles . You know you’re done when the stool coming out is yellow, light, liquid, and clear —like urine.

What if I take an anti-inflammatory medicine, like Motrin, Aleve Ibuprofen, Naprosyn or Naproxen?

Depending on the specifics of your procedure, it may be okay to continue taking these medicines. Check with your doctor for more information.

What if I take aspirin, clopidogrel, or Plavix?

Some people need to stay on these medicines even if they are going to have a colonoscopy. Other people should stop taking these medicines before their colonoscopy. Please check with your doctor to find out whether you should, or should not, continue these medicines prior to your colonoscopy. If your doctor says to it is okay to stop, then plan to stop taking these medicines one week before your colonoscopy. You will continue these medicines after the test, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.

What if I take a blood thinner like Coumadin, or warfarin?

You may have already received instructions on how to take Coumadin or warfarin prior to your colonoscopy. If not, then please check with your doctor as soon as possible to determine how to proceed. You will continue to take your Coumadin or warfarin after the colonoscopy unless your doctor gives you other instructions.

What if I take fish oil?

STOP taking fish oil two days before your colonoscopy. You can continue taking this after the test, unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Please check with your primary care physician if you have any further questions or concerns about these instructions regarding fish oil.

What if I take diabetes medication?

If you have diabetes, take half of your diabetes medication while on the clear liquid diet. Then, do not take your diabetes medication on the morning of the test. You will resume these medicines after the test. Please check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about these medicines.

What if I take blood pressure medicine?

If you take blood pressure medicine, be sure to still use the medicine while preparing for the test. On the day of your test, you should take your blood pressure medicine with water at least 2 hours before your test. Be sure to call your doctor if you have any questions about how best to take your blood pressure medicines prior to the test.

What is a clear liquid?

As you get ready for your colonoscopy, you must only drink clear liquids. A liquid is considered “clear” if you can read something through it. Use this simple test to figure out what you can drink and cannot drink.

What drinks are OK?

  • Soda, ginger ale, and club soda
  • Water and mineral water
  • Black coffee (no cream or milk)
  • CLEAR sports drinks with electrolytes
  • Apple juice
  • Tea

What drinks are NOT ok?

  • No milkshakes
  • No coffee WITH cream or milk
  • No pineapple juice
  • No orange juice
  • No milk

What foods are OK?

  • Honey
  • Flavored gelatin
  • CLEAR broth
  • Popsicles
  • Hard candy

What foods are NOT ok?

  • No breads, grains, or rice
  • No soups with chunks of food
  • No meat
  • No milk or dairy
  • No vegetables
  • No fruits

How do I know when my prep is complete?

The stool coming out should look like the stuff you're eating and drinking: CLEAR, without many particles. You know you're done when the stool coming out is yellow, light, liquid and clear - like urine.