What to Expect After a Colonoscopy

Posted By Author on November 20, 2023

While a colonoscopy is a routine procedure, first-time patients may feel some apprehension. To alleviate any uncertainty or unease, our GI specialists have shed some light on what to expect during and after a colonoscopy. Read on to learn more, then schedule your colon cancer screening at Charleston GI today! 

What to Expect During the Procedure 

A colonoscopy, or colon cancer screening, is a preventative procedure used to examine the large intestine (colon) and rectum.

A long, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end is inserted, giving your gastroenterologist a look inside the body, in real time. Because swollen, abnormal tissue or polyps can indicate colorectal cancer, they may be sampled during your colonoscopy.

The entire appointment typically lasts between two and two-and-a-half hours – from the moment you walk through our doors until we say good-bye. A sedative will be given to keep you comfortable and relaxed throughout, with the actual colonoscopy procedure only taking about 30 to 60 minutes. You’ll head to a recovery room next, where the effects of the sedative will wear off, usually within an hour. Because some effects may linger, we require patients to designate a family member or friend to drive them home.  

Here at Charleston GI, our patients report feeling completely back to normal soon after their colonoscopy – due to the minimal invasiveness of the procedure. You’ll be able to return to work and normal functions the next day, but we recommend taking it easy for the rest of the day while you fully recover from your colonoscopy. 

Guidelines for Colonoscopy Recovery at Home

Once you arrive back at home post-colonoscopy, take some time to relax. As you ease back into your normal activities, our board-certified gastroenterologists recommend following these simple tips.


  • Rest today and resume normal activities tomorrow.
  • Avoid heavy lifting or any type of intense physical activity.


  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids to replace those lost during bowel preparation.
  • Avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours.
  • Slowly progress from fluids to soft, easily digestible foods.


  • Avoid medications such as Advil or Motrin, especially if you had polyps removed.
  • Ask your Charleston GI doctor about resuming prescription medications.

What Can I Eat after a Colonoscopy? 

One common question involves a patient’s diet after a colonoscopy, with many asking which foods are safe to eat. To ease back into your normal diet and prevent any digestive tract discomfort, start by eating and drinking these foods and beverages:

  • Water
  • Drinks with electrolytes 
  • Fruit and vegetable juice
  • Saltine crackers
  • Soup
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Tender, fully cooked veggies
  • Canned fruit
  • Baked potatoes
  • White bread or toast

As a general rule for colonoscopy aftercare, the softer the food, the easier it is to digest!

Questions? Contact Charleston GI Today!

A colonoscopy is a simple yet incredibly effective way to detect colorectal cancer – which is why it is highly recommended for everyone 45 years old and over. Follow-up care is easy too, and our team is always available to address any questions or concerns. 

Here at Charleston GI, our board-certified gastroenterologists are experienced in treating a wide variety of conditions. Our Charleston GI doctors are not only equipped to provide relief but to provide the information needed to put patients at ease. We’ve also carefully designed our state-of-the-art facilities to maximize comfort, so you’ll feel right at home the moment you arrive.

We operate four convenient Charleston area locations, in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, and Carnes Crossroads. Charleston GI doctors are ready 5 days a week to offer you relief.

There’s no referral needed, so schedule a colonoscopy near you today with Charleston GI! 

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