Colonoscopy: What to Expect Before and After


One of our most common procedures at Wake Endoscopy Center is a colonoscopy. If you’re unfamiliar with this treatment, it is the visual examination of the lining of a colon. This exam is commonly used to screen for colon cancer but can also detect other gastrointestinal issues. 

Undergoing this examination can be nerve-racking without the proper preparation and recovery. As specialists in digestive healthcare, it’s our job to alleviate any stress you may have about your upcoming colonoscopy. Read on to learn what to expect before and after your procedure. 

How to Prep for a Colonoscopy

Incorporate more low-fiber foods that are easily digested, such as white grains (bread, pasta, or rice), white flour foods, canned vegetables, eggs, etc., into your diet about 3-4 days before your colonoscopy. It’s also possible that your doctor may instruct you to take a laxative leading up to the procedure. 

To get the most accurate data from your colonoscopy, it’s imperative that your colon be thoroughly clean before the exam. Your preparation process should begin about a few days before your scheduled colonoscopy. 

In the final 24 hours leading up to the exam, avoid any solid foods and do not drink anything except clear liquids. Be sure to avoid red beverages as well, which can be confused with blood during the exam. Your diet the day before the colonoscopy will be very limited. Please consult any of our providers for additional advice on what to eat or drink leading up to your colonoscopy. 

What to Expect the Day of Your Colonoscopy

On the day of your colonoscopy, there are only a few steps to follow. However, these steps are arguably the most important. 

  1. Be sure you’ve had no food in the last 12 hours and you’ve stopped drinking liquids at least 2 hours prior. 
  2. Do not arrive to the appointment alone. It is required you have a driver over the age of 18 to stay on-site during the entire exam as well as be there to drive you home afterwards. 
  3. After you’ve checked in and changed into your gown, meet one last time with your provider to go over the examination and ask any final questions.

During the procedure, you will be sedated with the drug Propofol and then monitored with anesthesia. Typically, this exam lasts anywhere from 30-60 minutes. At Wake Endoscopy Center, we use the latest technology and top medications to ensure the patient is comfortable throughout the entire examination. 

What to Expect After Your Colonoscopy 

Once the procedure is completed and the anesthesia has worn off, a physician will come discuss your exam with you. After that, your designated driver is free to bring you home. Don’t be alarmed if you experience bloating or pass gas up to a few hours after the procedure; these are very common symptoms. Following a colonoscopy, there is not a lengthy recovery period. Unless instructed otherwise, it’s safe to return to your normal diet. We recommend taking the remainder of the day to rest; however, you can return to work the following day.  

Get In Touch With Us

We have many other online resources available for colonoscopy prep. Whether you’re experiencing symptoms that this examination can help diagnose, or you have your procedure scheduled already, we want to help. Wake Endoscopy works to ensure that all of our patients feel safe and confident before any upcoming procedure. Call us at (919) 783-4888 to discuss any further questions regarding a colonoscopy.