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Preparing for an Endoscopy

What to Expect Before the Procedure

Your provider will give you information about preparing for your procedure, including instructions for eating and drinking, for taking your regular medications, and for your preparation prescription. Ask your provider if you have questions leading up to your procedure.

Download colonoscopy preparation instructions in English, Russian, or Spanish.

Routine Medications

Be sure to check with your doctor about taking any medication the day of your exam. This includes over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. You may be advised by your doctor to stop taking any blood thinners such as: aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), naprosyn (Alleve), coumadin, plavix, or vitamin E several days before your exam. Please bring to your exam a list of all medications that you take, including the dosage and the reason why you take them.

The Day of Your Procedure

After registering at the hospital front desk, you will be brought to a private admitting room where a specially trained nurse will review your medical history and ask you to sign any necessary paperwork. You will then change into an endoscopy gown and the nurse will record your vital signs and start your IV. The admission process takes approximately 20-30 minutes. Your family will be able to be with you during this part of the process.

What to Expect During the Procedure

Your procedure nurse will meet you in the admitting room, where they will re-identify you and briefly review your record. Your nurse will then transport you to the procedure room, and staff will direct your family to the waiting room.

The nurse and GI (gastrointestinal) tech will help position you for your exam, including connecting you to equipment that will allow them to monitor your vital signs during your procedure. You will be able to speak to your doctor and ask any last minute questions. Your nurse or anesthetist will then administer the medicines through your IV that will make you sleepy.

Most patients sleep during their endoscopy procedures. The goal with any type of sedation is to keep the patient safe and comfortable. Procedure times vary based on complexity; for example, a colonoscopy generally takes between 15-20 minutes; other procedures may take as long as 1 hour.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Your recovery process will take between 30-45 minutes.

Your procedure nurse will transport you to the recovery area, and your family will be called in to be with you while you wake up. When you are awake enough, we will review the results of your exam and any other instructions with you and your family. We will give you something to drink and remove your IV, and you will be ready to dress and be discharged.

After Procedure Restrictions

In most cases, patients are permitted to resume their usual diet and medications immediately unless specifically indicated in your discharge instructions.

Restrictions include:

  • If a polyp was removed, your doctor may advise holding blood thinners such as: aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), naprosyn (Alleve), coumadin, plavix, or vitamin E several days to prevent bleeding.
  • In the 24 hours following your procedure, you should not drive or drink alcohol. You must be discharged with a person who will drive you home and assure your well-being after arriving home. This restriction is especially important for elderly patients and those with significant medical histories, such as diabetes and cardiac conditions.
  • You are also advised not to engage in any activities that require mental acuity or good coordination, such as: sports, legal decisions, or power tool use.

Please note: If you experience any “gas” discomfort after the exam, know that it is normal. Air is used to dilate the bowel during the exam. If you are uncomfortable, you may try applying a heating pad to your stomach and/or walking around.

If you have any questions after your procedure, please ask your health care provider.