Woman comforting another woman who is afraid. 
Being prepared.
Medical procedures.

Your provider just told you that it is time to get a colonoscopy. You may be wondering:

Like many things in health care, colonoscopies can be a bit scary. By becoming informed and being prepared you can ease your mind about the procedure.

What is a Colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the inside of your intestines. The doctor can see changes in the colon and in the rectum that may be a health risk to you. Before the procedure begins you will be given some medication that will help you relax. Once you’re relaxed the doctor will insert a small soft tube with a small video camera at the end, into the intestine. Intestines are smooth with equally spaced ridges which are actually muscles. The doctor will be looking for any irregularities in the smooth tissue.  If an irregularity is found the doctor will  take a sample of the tissue and have it tested in the lab to make sure it is nothing to worry about.

Why you need it?

There are many reasons why you may need a colonoscopy. Some reasons might include:

Make sure to ask your doctor why you need a colonoscopy.

Being Prepared

Being prepared is important to making you feel at ease before your colonoscopy when you follow these two steps:

Remember to not drink red liquids like cranberry juice, it can look like blood which may make the doctor think your intestines are bleeding.

What to Expect

For the procedure you will be wearing a gown. The nurse will help you laying on your left side with your knees bent. The relaxing medication is given and  the tube is inserted. The doctor inflates the intestines with air which may make you have some stomach cramping afterwards. Once the doctor has inspected your intestines you will be taken to a recovery area and watched by a nurse until you are safe to go home. The nurse will encourage you to pass gas. You will want to get all of the air the doctor put in your intestine out. They will also offer you some juice, pop, and possibly crackers to make sure you can eat ok before you leave.

You will need someone to drive you to and from your procedure. They will need to stay with you for the remainder of the day. We are not always at our best after having the relaxing medication.  

What to Expect after a Colonoscopy

Depending  on what was found during the colonoscopy, your provider might tell you to follow a special die after the procedure. It is normal to feel bloated and pass a lot of gas. You may even see a small amount of blood in your first few stools. If you see a lot of blood, blood clots, or have stomach pain that won’t go away, call your doctor.

If biopsies were taken your doctor will call and tell you the results of the testing. Follow-up colonoscopies could be scheduled based on your what they found and the results of the testing on the tissue they biopsied.  

Lastly, part of being prepared for a colonoscopy is making sure you share your concerns with and ask your doctor any questions you may have. Remember, you won’t be prepared for the procedure if you have concerns that have not been addressed or questions are unanswered.

Best of Health,

Navi Nurses Being Prepared for a Colonoscopy Uncategorized Post

Nurse Xiomara Palmerin BSN, RN

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/screening/tests.htm

Mayo Clinic. (2021). Colonoscopy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/colonoscopy/about/pac-20393569