The Most Important Questions to Ask Before a Colonoscopy: 5 Things to Go Over with Your Doctor
When it comes to colonoscopies, we all have the same goal: to get in and out in as painless (and fast) a manner as possible. Couple the desire to “just get it over with” with the fact that it can be intimidating to ask doctors questions, and it’s easy to see how so many of us end up walking into our colonoscopy without the information we need to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible. Today, then, we’re offering up the most important questions to ask before a colonoscopy. Because a spoonful of sugar may make the medicine go down—but we prefer a forkful of answers any day.
- How will I be sedated?
When it comes to questions to ask before a colonoscopy, understanding your anesthesiologist’s sedation method and the drugs she will use is super important. You’ll also want to communicate any allergies to medications and past experiences you’ve had with anesthesia (i.e. post-op nausea and vomiting). This will allow your doctor to help remedy the situation by administering anti-nausea meds or by allowing you to consume a presurgery drink to negate the effects of being administered heavy anesthesia drugs on an empty stomach.
- When do I need to arrive, and how long will the procedure take?
On average, a colonoscopy should take about 45 minutes—but you’ll likely be at the hospital or outpatient center for around four hours total to account for intake time and recovery upon waking. We recommend building out a clear timeline or schedule (this can be anything from a simple handwritten list to notes taken on your smartphone) beforehand. It’s always best to have things written down in single spot you can easily reference—because pre-procedure nerves can often frazzle even the most organized, on-top-of-it patient. Your timeline should clearly outline:
- When you need to start your prep liquid
- When you should have your colonoscopy prep liquid (and other presurgery drinks) completed by
- What time you need to arrive for your colonoscopy
- What time nurses will take you back for your colonoscopy
- What time the procedure is expected to be completed
(Psst…be sure to share this list with the person responsible for transporting you home. You shouldn’t drive for at least 10 hours after your colonoscopy.)
- How should I prepare for my colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy preparation methods and the laxatives you’re prescribed will vary from doctor to doctor—so it’s important to get a clear idea of what exactly you’ll be doing (and drinking or taking) to prepare. The colonoscopy prep process is often a dreaded one—so knowing what you’re getting into ahead of time can make all of the difference when it comes to feeling empowered and prepared to take on your colonoscopy prep. In addition to talking to your doctor, we recommend taking a look at our pro tips for getting through colonoscopy prep here! One major pro tip? Avoid fibrous foods and large meals before your prep.
- Can I drink clear fluids with my prep liquid?
As part of your list of questions to ask before a colonoscopy, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about clear liquids, and, specifically, about the right presurgery drink. Chasing your colonoscopy prep with a clear liquid is a great way to help the foul-tasting prep liquid go down smoother—but so many patients don’t know to ask their doctor about clear presurgery liquids in place of flavored water or sugary juices. We recommend asking your doctor about the ClearFast presurgery drink, as it provides medical-grade hydration (so it will combat the extreme dehydration that occurs as a result of the prep liquid and emptying your bowels for the procedure).
Plus, because it’s chock-full of nutrients and complex-carbs, ClearFast acts as a “liquid food” and nourishes you like food—but because it’s clear and colorless, it’s safe to drink up to two hours before surgery. The nourishment ClearFast provides in the form of complex carbs and nutrients greatly reduces your risk of post-op nausea and vomiting (which occurs as a result of being administered anesthesia meds on an empty stomach) and aids in the recovery and healing process. (You can learn more about the benefits of ClearFast for colonoscopy prep here.)
- Can I eat immediately afterward?
Last on our roundup of the most important questions to ask before a colonoscopy is a thing we’ve all been waiting for: food! After all of that foul-tasting prep liquid and your clear-liquid diet, you’ll likely be dreaming of burgers and fries (or whatever your guilty pleasure is) after you wake up from your colonoscopy. Unfortunately, though, most doctors will recommend you stick to foods that are gentle on your stomach for at least 24 hours after your procedure. You’ll want to avoid foods that are difficult to digest or that irritate your bowels (sorry, spice-lovers). Talk to your doctor ahead of time to develop a solid diet plan for the few days following your procedure—and be sure to grocery shop and prepare your house before you head to the hospital or outpatient center.
Overall, when it comes to questions to ask before a colonoscopy your goal should always be to empower yourself with the information you need to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible. If you’re ready for a more comfortable colonoscopy experience (and a faster recovery!), you can order your ClearFast PreOp Drink here—and don’t hesitate to reach out to the ClearFast team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions at all!