Are you scheduled for your first colonoscopy and have no idea what to expect after your procedure? We’re here to ease your concerns. 

Here at Imperial Digestive Health Specialists PLLC, our board-certified physician, Dr. Oforbuike Ewelukwa, walks you through what you can expect during the hours that follow your procedure so you can be fully prepared.

Here’s a nine-step guide to help you navigate the immediate aftermath of your first colonoscopy:

1. Waking up after the procedure

After the procedure, you’ll spend some time in our recovery area, where our medical staff will monitor your vital signs until you’re fully awake. You might experience some grogginess or drowsiness due to the sedation used during the colonoscopy. You can expect to be in the recovery room for about an hour. 

2. Discharge instructions

Before you’re released, we provide you with detailed discharge instructions, which include dietary guidelines, activity restrictions, and any medications you may need to take post-procedure.

3. Dietary restrictions

In the first few hours following your colonoscopy, it’s common to experience gas and bloating as your body expels residual air used during the procedure. To alleviate discomfort, stick to a light diet consisting of clear liquids like broth, juice, and water. Avoid heavy or greasy foods that may aggravate your stomach.

4. Hydration

Staying hydrated is a must after a colonoscopy, especially if you received intravenous fluids during the procedure. Drink plenty of water to replenish fluids lost during fasting and the bowel preparation process.

5. Resuming normal activities

While you may feel well enough to resume your usual activities within a few hours, we advise you to take it easy for the remainder of the day. Avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting to allow your body to recover fully.

6. Bowel movements

You may experience some changes in bowel habits following a colonoscopy, including minor bleeding or the passage of mucus. This is normal and should subside within a day or two. Contact our team immediately if you experience persistent bleeding or severe abdominal pain.

7. Side effects of sedation

The sedative medications used during the colonoscopy can cause lingering effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, or difficulty concentrating. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until the effects wear off completely.

8. Follow-up appointment

Dr. Ewelukwa may schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the results of your colonoscopy and any further recommendations for screening or treatment.

9. Monitoring for complications

While complications from a colonoscopy are rare, it’s essential to be vigilant for signs of potential issues like severe abdominal pain, fever, or rectal bleeding. Be sure to reach out to us if you experience any concerning symptoms.

The first 24 hours after a colonoscopy are a critical period for recovery and monitoring. By following our instructions and listening to your body, you can ensure a smooth post-procedure experience and maintain optimal digestive health in the long run.

To learn more about colonoscopies or to schedule an appointment, contact us at our practice in Katy, Texas, today.

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