What you CANNOT do after colonoscopy

There are a few general tips gastroenterologists and their endoscopy centers typically provide to their patients for activities they can or cannot do the same day after undergoing a colonoscopy. This is a very brief overview of some of the more frequently asked questions relating to this topic.

Following your colonoscopy, your family member or friend will drive you home from the procedure. This leads into point #1: patients who undergo colonoscopy should NOT drive a vehicle or operate machinery. The usual recommendation is to return home and stay there for the remainder of the day. Though time estimates can vary slightly, doctors usually recommend at least 8 to 12 hours of rest. Point #2, related to the first item, is to AVOID risky activities such as yardwork, weight lifting, swimming, or any other strenuous activity. Point #3 recommends that all patients who are recovering from a colonoscopy avoid signing legal documents or making major decisions of any kind. Recall that screening colonoscopy involves use of anesthesia, which impairs decision-making. Point #4 Do not drink alcohol for the remainder of the day. Avoid any sedatives or medications which can make you sleepy or confused. Any specific medications should be cleared by your doctor in the recovery area. When in doubt, ASK the doctor! Remember, no question is too small.

A great rule-of-thumb: Stay safe, and give yourself the rest of the day off! Generally speaking, patients may return to usual activities the day after their colonoscopy (i.e. if your colonoscopy was on a Monday, return to normal activities on Tuesday). Your doctor may make different recommendations, depending on your specific circumstances. Be sure to ask your doctor about any other limitations when you are in the recovery area. I always recommend that the family member or close friend Good luck!

Photo by Nicolas Cool.

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