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What to do After a Colonoscopy

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Updated: August 18, 2006


Did you know that after a colonoscopy, you're supposed to restrict certain activities, watch out for certain symptoms, and avoid taking some medications if you've had a polyp removed? After-colonoscopy recommendations vary from patient to patient, so make sure you follow your doctor's instructions to the letter. These are simply general guidelines so people who haven't had a colonoscopy, can get an idea of what's involved in after-colonoscopy care.

Restrict Certain Activities After a Colonoscopy

You will probably be asked to refrain from driving (or operating heavy machinery) until the day after your colonoscopy. Then, unless otherwise instructed, you should be able to return to normal activity. This includes eating and drinking like normal. However, you may be asked to avoid drinking alcohol until 24 hours after the colonoscopy.

Be on the Lookout for Certain Symptoms After a Colonoscopy

Immediately call your doctor if, within 24 hours of the colonoscopy, you have chills or fever, rectal bleeding (more than a tablespoon), swelling or redness at your IV site, or severe abdominal pain or bloating. (Mild abdominal pain and bloating is expected after a colonoscopy.)

More Restrictions for Polyps

If polyps were removed, you may be asked to alter your activities for seven days after the colonoscopy. For example, don't take blood thinners, limit travel, don't lift more than five pounds, and don't go running. Basically, baby yourself or let yourself be babied.
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