Frequently Asked Questions

Patients Who are Going to Have a Colonoscopy or Upper Endoscopy

Do I need to take my dentures out?

For a colonoscopy. you may leave your dentures in if you normally sleep with them in.For an upper endoscopy, you will be asked to take out your dentures right before the procedure.

Can I have my colonoscopy if I am having my period?

Yes.  If you are wearing a tampon, you will need to remove it prior to the procedure.

Do I need to remove my hearing aids?

You will be lying on your left side, so for comfort you will either turn off your left hearing aid or remove it prior to your procedure.

Can I take my regular medications the morning of my procedure?

You may take your regular cardiac, blood pressure and seizure medications unless specifically instructed not to.  You must take them at least 2 hours before your procedure with a small sip of water.  

If you are on medications for Diabetes, contact your primary care doctor for recommendations on any adjustments to your medications.

Hold all other medications unless specifically instructed to take.  If you are unsure please consult with your doctor at 518-831-1500.

Do I need to finish the prep if my BMs are clear?

Yes, it is very important to finish the prep in order to have the cleanest bowel which will result in a better exam.

I finished the prep and I’m not going clear. What should I do?

Call the on call doctor at 518-831-1500 for further instructions.

I finished the prep and have not had a BM. What should I do?

Wait 2 hours after finishing your prep and if you have not moved your bowels or feel that you are not adequately cleaned out, call the on call doctor at 518-831-1500 for further instructions.  

The prep is making me vomit. What should I do?

Stop drinking the prep and let your stomach settle for 30 minutes.  You may find that sucking on some hard lemon drop candy helps to settle your stomach.  After 30 minutes, begin to drink the prep again but drink it slower; do not try to drink it straight down.  You can drink each glass over a 15 minute period.  If you continue to vomit, stop and call the on call doctor at 518-831-1500 for further instructions. 

What can I mix with my bowel prep?

Non-red and purple Gatorade/Powerade, clear juices like white cranberry, white grape juice, apple juice, Crystal Light.

What should I not mix with my bowel prep?

Carbonated beverages, red and purple dyed drinks, alcohol, milk, non-clear liquids.

Why can I not mix my bowel prep in red or purple dye colors?

The artificial dyes are not broken down.  So when you are cleansing for a colonoscopy the fluid that is left over can resemble blood and cause confusion during your colonoscopy.  This is similar with purple dyes but also is very dark and can block visualization of your colonoscopy.

Why is my bowel preparation split into two doses?

This is done primarily for two reasons:

1.       The first being that most patients have difficulty with drinking all the volume at one sitting. 

2.       The other reason is related to visualization of your colon tissue.  Typically if the patient drinks all the preparation at once the night before the body starts to make new stool as a majority of your stool is cells that your body has sloughed off.  Therefore as the night goes on and the next morning your body is beginning to make stool and this starts to cover the colonic mucosa interfering with your provider’s evaluation during the colonoscopy.

How long can I expect to be there for my procedure day?

A typical procedure is scheduled for 30 minutes.  But there is time then for pre-procedure assessment by anesthesia and recovery time.  A typical procedure day can last 2 to 2.5 hours from arrival to discharge home.

Can my driver leave and come back?

Yes, but please make sure that your driver is by their phone and not too far.  We typically will call your ride as you are arriving into recovery.  You do require a minimum of 30 minutes of recovery so please make sure that they are able to get to the endoscopy center within 30 minutes.

Do I really need someone to stay with me for 24 hours after the procedure?

Yes, this is very important for the safety of the patient.

Should I abstain from alcohol and recreational drugs?

Yes.  It can be very dangerous when mixing recreational drugs and alcohol with any type of sedation.  Alcohol should be abstained the day before and day of your procedure.

My instructions state to avoid iron containing medications. Should I avoid iron containing foods?

No, this is not necessary.

Your instructions state not to eat nuts or seeds. Can I eat peanut butter, drink almond milk or have tomato sauce?

- Yes you can have peanut butter, but it must be creamy.

- Yes you can have almond or any “nut” milk as this is highly filtered.

- Tomato sauce is ok as long as there is no tomato skins in the sauce, realizing that the day before your procedure you should be on a clear liquid diet and therefore tomato sauce is not allowed.

I forgot to change my diet this morning to clear liquids and ate a solid breakfast. What should I do?

Change to your clear liquid diet immediately.  Drink lots of clear fluids for the remainder of the day.  You do not need to cancel.

When can I drive after my procedure? If my procedure is in the late afternoon can I go to work in the morning?

No matter what time your procedure is performed, all patients can drive the following morning after they wake up.

Will there be a separate bill/copay from anesthesia for their services for my procedure, from Saratoga Hospital/Ellis hospital for their pathology services?

Unfortunately with the vast number of insurances plans that all have different deductibles, co-pays and fees it is best to call your insurance company directly to get this answer.

I have a cold. Can I still come in for my procedure?

MAYBE.  You should call and reschedule if you have a fever, a productive cough, any difficulty breathing or if you feel very ill.  If you have already recovered and still have a lingering cough, it is usually okay to proceed with the procedure but there is a higher risk of complications.  It is best to proceed when your cough has completely resolved.

I take Xanax/Valium/Ativan/Klonopin for anxiety. Can I still take these before I come in for my procedure?

Yes.  Take your usual dose as prescribed 3 hours prior to the procedure time. But please make sure the provider and nurses know that you took these medications as it is important for the sedating provider to be aware of everything you have taken the day of the procedure.

When can I expect to have a bowel movement after finishing my preparation?

Everyone responds differently to preparation.  You may start having bowel movements while still drinking the preparation, shortly after finishing the first half, or after completely finishing the preparation.  Once bowel movements starts you will continue to go with each bowel movement getting clearer each time until you see only clear to yellowish fluid output.  PLEASE FINISH ALL PREPARTION as if the preparation is not good enough there is a risk of the procedure getting canceled or the  follow up colonoscopy may be at a closer interval due to incomplete visualization of the colonic mucosa.

What will I feel like after my procedure?

Recover is relatively quick but dependent on the duration of sedation and procedure.  You should recover from sedation fairly quickly and feel unsteady at first.  You CAN NOT drive, operate machinery, or make any legal decisions until the following day.   Typically after the procedure you will have some gas left over that is expected to cause some minor bloating or abdominal discomfort for a short period.  There may still be some watery bowel movements throughout the day and will usually take several days for you to start having a solid bowel movement.

During my colonoscopy preparation my hemorrhoids are flaring, what can I do?

You may use typical over-the-counter remedies like Preparation-H, Hydrocortisone cream/ointment or Tucks medicated pads.  You may also prep you perianal skin prior to the colonic preparation with Vaseline, Destin, or zinc oxide creams (diaper rash cream).