Q: Are there any side effects to the preparation medications?
A: Since the preparation works through flooding your intestines with liquid, some abdominal cramping and bloating may occur, as well as nausea and rare vomiting. This will resolve the day of your procedure. Occasional weakness may occur if you have not ingested sufficient fluid with this preparation. This can be remedied by increasing your fluid intake.
Q: How do I know if I am adequately prepped for the colonoscopy?
A: Your bowel movement should be watery in consistancy and the color is usually tinted yellow with natural digestive juices. Small flecks of brown or colored debris is not a problem as long as it is not thick or muddy in appearance.
Q: Will the preparation medication interfere with my other medications?
A: Most medications taken 1-2 hours before the beginning of the preparation should be adequately absorbed. Any sooner than 1 hour, the medication will most likely be washed away and not be completely absorbed.
Q: During the preparation, my bottom was a bit sore and irritated. Is there anything I can put on this?
A: Due to frequent liquid bowel movements, it is normal to experience some irritation. Aloe wet wipes or Desitin Oitment can be used as directed to help prevent or alleviate "sore bottom". These are over the counter products and do not require a prescription.
Q: Can I eat something the day of my procedure if it is scheduled late in the day?
A. There are two reasons that you may not eat solid food the day of or the day before your procedure.
First, there would not be enough time for your colon to be effectively cleansed by the prep. If you go through the effort to prep for the procedure and you are not cleansed thoroughly, your time and the physicians time would be in jest. It is also unsafe to proceed forward if your physician cannot physically see the lining of the colon as he progresses the scope. Second, since you will be sedated for your procedure, for safety reasons, it is recommended by the anesthesiologist that your stomach be empty of solid food for the entire day before your procedure and empty of liquids for 5 hours prior to your procedure.
Q: Will I feel any pain during or after the procedure?
A: Our anesthesiologists are specially trained to keep you appropriately and safely sedated during your procedure. You may have some "gas pains" or bloating after you awaken. This is from the gas used to inflate the bowel during the procedure. This is normal and to be expected. Some patients do not perceive this feeling to be painful, but just a bit uncomfortable until the gas passes or is re-absorbed into your system.
Q: Can I drive after my procedure?
A: The sedation used to keep you comfortable and sleepy during your procedure can remain chemically in your system for a period of time after you recover. For this reason, driving could be dangerous and it is the Pa Department of Health and Anesthesia's Society's recommmendation that NO driving occur for the remainder of the day of your procedure.
Q: What restrictions can I expect after my procedure?
A: Until the next morning, you should NOT drive, operate heavy/dangerous machinery, drink alcohol, or make important decisions. If you routinely take aspirin or other blood thinning agents, the restricting or resumption of these medications will be addressed following your procedure depending on what was found or what diagnostic/treatment procedures were performed.
Q: Do I need to take antibiotics before my procedure if I have an artificial heart valve or joint replacement?
A: As of May 2008, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy does not recommend prophylactic (preventitive) antibiotics for any routine (screening or therapuetic) colonoscopy or EGD (upper endoscopy) performed at The Endoscopy Center. This recommendation is approved by the American Heart Association as well.
Q: Do I need to stop my blood thinners (aspirin, Plavix, or Coumadin) prior to my procedure?
A: YOU DO NOT NEED TO STOP ASPIRIN OR PLAVIX prior to your procedure, however you may need to avoid taking them for a certain period of time AFTER your procedure depending on what was done during your exam (ie. biopsies or polp removal). Your doctor will inform you of this in your discharge instructions. If you take COUMADIN, you need to inform your prescribing doctor you will be undergoing an endoscopic procedure and obtain clearance to stop the Coumadin for a period of time before the procedure. If he/she feels your medical condition places you at high risk if you stop the coumadin, you may still proceed with the procedure, however if any therapeutics (polyp removal, biopsy) are needed, you will need to have the procedure repeated at a later date when you have been off your coumadin for a prescribed period of time (and possibly be on a differnet type of medication).