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FAQ's About Colonoscopy

1. Are there any videos about what to expect with a colonoscopy?

Yes. You can access a patient education videos about colonoscopy at the website for The American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE)


Please read the preparation instructions you received from the office carefully at least a few days before the examination. You will need to obtain the cleansing agent over the counter from the pharmacy unless your doctor called in a prescription only colon cleaning agent

2. Do I have to drink all of this solution to clean my colon?

Try your best to drink all of the solution. Remember that the purpose is to clean out your colon so once you start pooping clear liquid, then it means that you have done a good job. If there is still a lot of residue the doctor will not be able to see the lining very well.

3. What if I start vomiting while drinking the solution?

If you develop nausea or vomiting, stop the prep for a few minutes then resume the process. You can go slower and drink 1 glass every 30 minutes instead of every 15 minutes. Sip it slowly. Try walking around and distracting yourself a little bit while drinking it.

4. What about the medications I regularly take?

If you are taking blood thinners such as Coumadin, Pradaxa, Plavix, Brilinta, please talk to your prescribing doctor at least 1 week before your procedure. Please continue all medications unless your doctor tells you otherwise

5. How long does it take to move my bowels after the prep?

That varies from patient to patient and can be anything from a couple of minutes to several hours. Don’t worry. Try and complete the prep as instructed.

6. What if I ate breakfast the day before the examination?

If you had a light breakfast it is probably okay. Do not eat anything else for the rest of the day but keep up drinking plenty of fluids.

7. What are clear fluids?

Anything you can see through. Avoid, red and purple drinks. Consider clear broth, strain out the wontons from wonton soup. Jello, Apple Juice, Lemonade, Iced Tea, Sprite, Ginger Ale, Gatorade

8. I’m a small person, Isn’t this prep too much medication for me?

The preparation dosing has nothing to do with your size and/or weight but more based on the colon metabolism of an average patient.

9. Can I take an Uber or taxi home after the procedure.

No, you must have a responsible adult with you who will sign you out and drive you home after the procedure. If you do not arrive with a responsible adult, you will be cancelled and sent home.

10. Can I mix the Miralax with water?

You should always mix the Miralax with something that has flavor. Miralax can add some texture to the liquid, sort of like the way Crystal- Lite will. If you add it to water, you may become nauseous as the body interprets the texture as a contaminant because the liquid will still taste like water but will have a texture which is not the norm.

11. I had cramps after taking Dulcolax. Is this normal?

Yes it is normal. Dulcolax is designed to cause spasming of the intestines to help propel the contents forward in order to aid in the cleansing process.

12. I have my period, do I need to cancel my colonoscopy?

No, You do not need to cancel the colonoscopy for any procedure related reasons while you are menstruating. Cancelling may be a personal decision each woman may consider.

13. Do I really need to be at the center an hour before my actual exam time?

Yes, this time is used in order to complete insurance paperwork, change into appropriate patient attire and undergo a thorough evaluation by anesthesia prior to your procedure. Final approval regarding the safety of having your procedure is determined by your doctor and anesthesia during this time. Patients arriving late may be delayed or cancelled.

14. What happens if my prep is not effective?

If the prep is not taken completely and/or is not strong enough to fully cleanse your colon, the doctor may not be able to see the entire lining of your colon. Your procedure will then need to be rescheduled and a more extensive 2 day preparation administered to cleanse the colon.

15. Any other suggestions regarding the prep?

Choose a clear liquid with a flavor that you enjoy. Mix the miralax and the liquid in a container early on the prep day and refrigerate the solution. Shake the solution prior to pouring each glass. Put the solution back in the refrigerator between servings to keep it nice and cold. Don’t gulp down the prep too quickly as the volumes needed for your prep can cause nausea if you drink them too quickly.

16. I have chronic diarrhea. Can I take less prep then is written on the standard instructions?

No. Patients with diarrhea usually still require the same volumes of preparation to cleanse the walls of the colon as patients with normal bowel patterns.


17. Will I receive sedation?

Yes. You will receive “conscious sedation” with Propofol. An intravenous line will be placed and the anesthetist will administer medication to make you sleep through this. All preparation and clear liquids should be completed 5 hours before the test for anesthesia safety.

18. Do I need a pregnancy test?

You will need to produce urine for a pregnancy test at the center, if you are a menstruating woman

19. Why can’t I drive myself home after the procedure?

The sedatives used for the procedure can affect both your reflexes and more importantly your judgement. Getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle within 12 hours of sedation is dangerous and puts you and others on the road at risk for injury and or death. It is akin to driving while under the influence of alcohol


20. Should I cancel my colonoscopy and just do Cologuard?

This is a discussion that usually requires an office visit. The short answer is, No. Colonoscopy is by far the gold standard in colon cancer prevention as Cologuard is ineffective at detecting polyps. The act of removing polyps during colonoscopy is what has been proven to PREVENT colon cancer.

21. What is a polyp?

A polyp is a growth in the colon that can be precancerous.

22. Can you removed polyps during colonoscopy?

Yes. Most polyps are removable during colonoscopy. If the polyp is very large, located in a difficult are or is too flat, your doctor may not be able to remove it during a standard colonoscopy. In that situation you may need a more advanced colonoscopy or surgery.

23. If I have a fever can I still have the procedure done?

Usually No. Please contact your physician.

24. How many days do I need to take off from work?

You will need to take the day of the procedure off. The day before and after the procedure you will be able to work unless you do night shift work because you start drinking the prep at 6pm the evening before.

25. Is there anyone who should not have a colonoscopy?

If you are severely ill, very old, or pregnant, you should discuss whether you need a colonoscopy with your physician.

26. How long will the procedure take?

The procedure itself typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes. Expect to be at the Advanced Surgery Center of Long Island or at Mather Hospital for about 3 hours. This extended time allows for paper work, clinical evaluation by anesthesia staff, communication of results and adequate time to recover from anesthesia.