What can I expect after my colonoscopy?

Knowing what to expect after a colonoscopy can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.

How will I feel after the colonoscopy?

You might feel drowsy from the sedative and pain medications. You may have mild temporary abdominal cramping and pass the gas that was inserted during the procedure. To reduce discomfort, take slow deep breaths to relax your abdominal muscles. Your doctor will treat your pain as needed. Tell your doctor if your pain is not well controlled by medication.

When can I go home?

You will be discharged home when you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable. This generally takes less than an hour, depending on the type of sedation you have. 

You cannot drive for about 24 hours and will need a ride home because you may still be drowsy. It is a good idea for someone to stay with you for the first day or so.

When should I call my doctor?

It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after a colonoscopy. Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments. Call your doctor or seek immediate medical care if you have:

  • Bleeding
  • Fever (you should not have any fever after a minor testing procedure)
  • Pain that is not controlled by your pain medication