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What Happens During a Colonoscopy?

hand of a doctor holding a colonoscope

Most patients who are scheduled for a colonoscopy tend to worry about what the procedure is like and how much colonoscopy costs. Aside from worrying about the cost of colonoscopy, many also tend to fixate on what they can expect during the procedure.

Colonoscopies are an important procedure for detecting any issues in the large intestine. While it can be a bit nerve-wracking for some, it is a relatively simple procedure that is often done in a single visit. Here’s what you can expect when you undergo a colonoscopy procedure. 

Preparation: Before the procedure, you will be given instructions on how to prepare your bowel by taking a laxative or enema to ensure the colon is empty and clean. You will also need to follow a special diet for a few days before the procedure. This step is important because it allows the doctor to have a clear view of the large intestine during the procedure.

Sedation: You will be given medication through your vein (intravenous sedation) to help you relax and reduce discomfort during the procedure.

Insertion of the colonoscope: The doctor inserts the colonoscope through the anus and into the rectum. They then slowly advance the tube through the colon, using air or carbon dioxide to inflate the colon and make it easier to see.

Examination of the colon: As the colonoscope is advanced, the doctor examines the lining of the colon for any abnormalities. They may also take tissue samples (biopsies) or remove polyps using specialized tools.

Removal of the colonoscope: Once the doctor has examined the entire colon, they slowly withdraw the colonoscope while carefully examining the lining for any abnormalities.

Recovery: After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery area to rest and recover from the sedative. You may experience some mild cramping, bloating, or gas, but these usually go away within a few hours.

Colonoscopies are a safe and effective way to detect any potential issues in the large intestine. While the procedure can be a bit nerve-wracking, the preparation and procedure are relatively simple and are often done in a single visit. Additionally, the cost of colonoscopy is typically covered by insurance, so you won’t have to worry about any additional expenses.

What to Expect After a Colonoscopy

If you’ve recently undergone a colonoscopy, you might be wondering what to expect afterwards. While the procedure itself is relatively quick and painless, there are some after effects that you should be aware of.

First and foremost, it is important to note that you will need to rest in the recovery room for at least 30 minutes after the procedure. During this time, the medical team will be monitoring your vital signs and any discomfort you may be experiencing. Once they are satisfied that you are stable, you can resume your normal diet.

It is also common to experience some gas or cramping sensation after the procedure. This is the result of the air used during the procedure, and usually resolves quickly. Your doctor will also give you discharge instructions, which you should follow closely. For instance, if polyps were removed or if biopsies were taken, you may need to temporarily avoid certain medications such as blood-thinning agents.

It is worth noting that complications such as puncture of the colon or bleeding are very rare during colonoscopies. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor right away: fever, chills, severe abdominal pain, or prolonged or excessive rectal bleeding.


After a colonoscopy, you can expect to rest for at least 30 minutes in the recovery room and resume your normal diet. It is also normal to experience some gas or cramping, which should pass quickly. To ensure a safe and successful procedure, you should follow your doctor’s discharge instructions closely and contact them if you experience any concerning symptoms.

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