Any medical procedure can seem scary and can cause a lot of stress if you don’t have all the information. People often just want to get it over with as quickly as possible, so they avoid asking any questions. At the same time, some feel embarrassed to make any inquiries. This shouldn’t be the case. For instance, if your doctor wants you to get a colonoscopy, the first thing that will pop into your head will probably be that you have cancer. But that’s rarely the case. So, it’s best to ask your doctor all you need to know about colonoscopies before freaking out. Here are some essential questions to ask your doctor before a colonoscopy.

Q.1 One of the essential questions to ask your doctor before a colonoscopy is: what’s the aim of the procedure?

Before getting into more details, you should first understand a colonoscopy. Namely, it is used to examine the lining of your large intestine for pre-cancerous lesions or signs of cancer. But it can also detect other colon or rectum conditions. Therefore, colonoscopies are not only used for screening for colorectal cancer.

Q.2 What does a colonoscopy entail?

It’s scary to hear that you must undergo a medical procedure. That’s why one of the essential questions to ask your doctor before a colonoscopy is: what does it entail? Once you know the answer, you’ll be able to relax, as it’s a fairly simple procedure.

The doctor will use a very thin and flexible tube with a tiny camera and light at the end. This tube will pass through your colon and will enable the doctor to visually detect any abnormalities. If there are any, the doctor can introduce special instruments into the tube to remove polyps or take samples.

Q.3 What is a colon polyp?

You shouldn’t feel embarrassed if you don’t understand the medical jargon. After all, you’re not a specialist, just a patient. Thus, nobody will judge you if you ask questions like: what is a colon polyp? Being well-informed will help relieve the panic you might be feeling.

To answer your question, a colon polyp is an abnormal growth on the lining of your colon. The majority of them are harmless, but some can lead in time to colon cancer. That’s why preventive screening is so important. Moreover, if you don’t have complex polyps, which are larger or located in difficult areas, the doctor can remove them during the colonoscopy. This will reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Q.4 Will I be sedated?

Don’t worry; colonoscopies are not painful. You will receive conscious sedation to relieve pain or discomfort and help you relax. Still, you have to talk with the anesthesiologist before the procedure to incur about the sedation drugs they will use. During this discussion, you have to share with them if you’ve experienced any bad reactions to sedation or medications. As a result, the specialist will be able to adjust the sedation accordingly.

Q.5 Do I have to stop taking my medication?

This is something that you have to discuss with your doctor. Most medications don’t interfere with colonoscopy. However, some do. For example, blood-thinning or anti-coagulant medications must be interrupted or adjusted before the colonoscopy. Even insulin should be adjusted or changed. Nevertheless, you should never make these decisions without consulting your doctor first.

One of the essential questions to ask your doctor before a colonoscopy is whether you should stop taking your medication.

A person organizing their medication.

Q.6 How should I prepare for the procedure?

Your doctor will probably give you all the details anyway. But make sure you ask for clarification if you have any doubts. The success of the colonoscopy depends on how clean your colon is on the date of the procedure. Any remaining residue can obstruct the camera’s view. So, in order to clean your colon, your doctor will likely prescribe you a special diet accompanied by a laxative and an enema.

Q.6 When can I go home?

Of course, nobody enjoys spending time in the hospital. Therefore, being concerned about how much time you’ll have to stay in it is normal. But don’t worry. You don’t have to spend the night there. The procedure can take up to a maximum of one hour.

Nevertheless, you’ll probably spend 2-3 extra hours in the hospital with all the waiting, preparations, and recovery. And make sure you have somebody to drive you home afterward since you won’t be able to.

Q.7 When can I eat?

Since you’ll probably have to prepare for the procedure for a few days, you’ll likely crave a rich meal afterward. Unfortunately, you won’t be allowed to eat that juicy burger you’re dreaming about immediately after the colonoscopy. You should eat light for at least 24 hours. So, you should avoid high-fat and spicy foods. Make sure you plan your meals and go shopping before the procedure.

A bowl of soup.

Make sure you eat light for at least 24 hours after the colonoscopy.


Q.8 When can I resume my routine?

You shouldn’t worry about taking too much time off work. You don’t need more than a day off, which is for the day of the colonoscopy. Of course, this applies if your job doesn’t involve doing strenuous activities.

Since this procedure is not highly invasive, you’ll be able to resume your routine the day after. Nevertheless, it would be best if you took it easy for the next few days. If it’s impossible to delay certain tasks, you should ask for help. For example, the specialists from advise you to hire movers if you need to lift heavy items and move them or take them to storage.

A woman relaxing on her couch.

Take it easy for a couple of days and avoid strenuous activities.

Q.9 What are the risks?

Colonoscopies are very safe. However, just like any other medical procedure, they have some potential risks. These can include bleeding after the removal of polyps, puncture or perforation of the rectum or colon wall, and a bad reaction to sedation. But don’t worry; these issues can be remedied.


You shouldn’t panic the moment your doctor mentions a colonoscopy. This is a preventive measure that can save your life. Even though all medical procedures are scary, this one is relatively safe. In any case, these essential questions to ask your doctor before a colonoscopy will help put your mind at ease. So, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to ask them.

Ready to schedule your Colonoscopy in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati?  Tri-State Gastroenterology Associates is a physician-owned and independent practice founded in 1982. Our team of Top Doctors, nurses, and medical assistants live in this community and care for this community. We serve patients living in the Tri-State Area and are in the network with most insurance plans.

It is our mission “To provide compassionate, high quality, cost-effective care to patients with gastrointestinal related problems.”