Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in the US. Having regular screenings beginning at age 50 can reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
A colonoscopy is an important tool to screen for colorectal cancer and is routinely recommended for adults age 50 and older. Your doctor may recommend a colonoscopy if you experience other problems, including:
How to prepare
The colon must be entirely clean to guarantee a good view and allow your doctor to see the walls of the colon. You will need to pick up a prescription drink from your pharmacy and take it following the instructions from your doctor. Please read all of the directions a week in advance. It is important to follow the directions that you received from the physician, not the directions on the bottle. Directions are available here:
The preparation will cause you to go the bathroom a lot. You may not eat solid food the day before the procedure. You should drink as much clear liquid as possible. It is important to avoid fluids with red dyes because they can be confused with blood in the colon.
Examples of clear liquids include: water, broth, gelatin, sports drinks (without red dye), coffee or tea WITHOUT milk, and juice without pulp.
On the day of your test, please bring a list of medications that you are taking. Blood-thinning medications (Coumadin®, Ticlid, Plavix, Persantine®, Aggrenox, Lovenox®, Xarelto, Pradaxa®, and aspirin) are commonly stopped 5 days prior to your procedure. It is very important that you call your prescribing physician for instructions, well in advance of your colonoscopy.
One week before the test: Do not take fiber supplements, iron supplements, herbal medicines, NSAIDS (for example, Aleve®, naprosyn, Motrin®, ibuprofen), and medications that stop diarrhea.
If you are diabetic: Call the doctor who monitors your blood sugar levels. Your diabetic medicines may need to be adjusted because you will not be eating solid food the day before your test.
What to bring
- You will need a responsible adult to drive you home and speak with the doctor after the procedure
- Your medication list
- Items that may bring you comfort when you are anxious. We are happy to play music that you bring. We are very supportive of alternative therapies. We can arrange the use of essential oils or allow you to listen to your own personal music device with ear buds.
- Please do not wear your jewelry; it will have to be removed for the procedure.
What to expect the day of the procedure
You must have a responsible adult present. The procedure cannot begin until your ride home has been arranged. Public transportation is not allowed unless you have a responsible adult with you. This is to be sure that you are safe at home after having had a sedative.
Your scheduled arrival time is approximately 1 hour before the test. This time will be used to review your medical history, check your blood pressure, heart rhythm, temperature, oxygen level and start your intravenous line.
You will be expected to remove all jewelry and piercings before changing into a patient gown.
You will then be taken to the procedure room where you will speak with the doctor about your test. The sedation will be given through your intravenous line and will make you feel sleepy and relaxed.
After your procedure, you will wake up in the recovery area. We will invite your driver to be with you. We encourage you to have your responsible adult present when the doctor speaks with you. The medications that we give may cause you to be forgetful and understanding the doctor’s follow up directions is important. The doctor will also send a copy of your exam results to your primary care physician. You will be in the endoscopy unit for about 2 hours.
What to expect after the procedure
You may feel some cramping and mild bloating – this should get better by the evening. We recommend avoiding spicy and fatty foods right after your examination. Otherwise, you can restart your normal diet.
You will not be able to drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery, or make important decisions for 24 hours following your procedure. If you live alone, it is recommended that you have someone check on you at home several times during the day.
We want to ensure that you have a successful colonoscopy. Please call us with any questions at 802.747.1766.
You can also call the physician’s office directly:
- Dr. Janik or Dr. Williams: 802.786.1400
- Dr. Conway, Dr. Cromie or Dr. Jimmo: 802.775.1903