Colonoscopy Risks and Complications

Having a Colonoscopy is an important procedure for your body. Not only does it show the doctor what’s going on, but it also allows them to find out what the problem is and take measures to fix it. However, the procedure has its own risks.


Having a colonoscopy is considered to be one of the most reliable and safe tests for colorectal cancer. However, the procedure is not without its complications. Fortunately, these complications are rare. If they do occur, they can be managed with antibiotics, intravenous fluids, or surgery.

When preparing for a colonoscopy, it is important to follow the prescribed steps. The right preparation can help patients have a positive experience and live longer, healthier life. In some cases, the preparation may require specific medications, such as anticoagulants or blood thinners.

In addition to following instructions, patients should avoid alcohol and drive for 24 hours after the procedure. They may also experience minor rectal bleeding after the procedure. It is also important to discuss allergies, medications, and health conditions with their physician before undergoing a colonoscopy.

Patients who are taking blood thinners should ask their doctor when they can start using these medications again. They should also discuss whether they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

In addition to medications, patients should also follow the recommended bowel preparation schedule. These instructions are provided in the appointment letter. The preparation may include a pill, flavored powder, or a drink that has a laxative action.

While drinking a gallon of polyethylene glycol solution is the most common preparation, many patients aren’t too keen on this. Taking split-dose bowel preparations has been shown to increase the efficacy of this preparation. In addition, a low-residue diet can speed up the clearing of the bowels.

Depending on the type of bowel cleansing agent you are using, the preparation may start working 30 minutes to an hour after the first dose. If you are having a problem with the preparation, you can ask your doctor to split the dose.

There are many factors that can impact bowel preparation, including the time of day and the age of the patient. Ideally, the preparation should begin four to six hours before the colonoscopy. Taking the preparation early has been shown to improve the accuracy of endoscopic treatment.

If a patient is taking medications for kidney or liver disease, they may require special bowel preparation. This may include the use of Simethicone, a product that is designed to reduce the number of gas bubbles in the intestine.


Having a colonoscopy is an excellent way to get a closer look at your digestive system. This procedure allows your doctor to spot any abnormal growths and polyps, and remove them before they turn into cancer.

A colonoscopy is usually performed under sedation on an outpatient basis. The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes. If you are taking blood clotting medications, you may need to stop them at least a day before the test.

You can expect to experience mild abdominal cramping after the procedure. You may also feel distension and a need to go to the bathroom. This is normal and should pass after a few hours.

Before the procedure, you should read the instructions carefully. They will tell you to drink a lot of fluids to help flush out your bowel. It is also important to avoid solid foods the day before the test. You should also plan to bring a companion to help you drive home.

If you have a history of polyps, you may need to have the test more frequently. You should also inform your doctor if you have had any previous surgeries. You should also discuss any allergies you have.

During the procedure, your doctor may take a tissue sample from your colon. This sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing. Your doctor may also remove a large polyp, which may cause some bleeding.

Generally, the procedure of colonoscopy is considered a safe procedure. There are very few complications. However, some patients may want to have the test done in a hospital. Others may choose to have it done in an outpatient setting.

It is important to remember that you cannot drive for at least three days after the procedure. You may also want to avoid taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for at least a week before the test.

You can also take some deep breaths before the procedure to help alleviate any abdominal cramping. You may also experience bloating. However, this is not a symptom of colon cancer. You should be able to return to a normal diet by the next day.


Despite the colonoscopy is an extremely common procedure performed in a variety of practice settings, there have been reports of complications from the procedure. The majority of complications from colonoscopy are self-limited. However, in some cases, an individual may require hospital admission or require surgery.

The most common complication associated with colonoscopy is an aspiration. It is possible to treat aspiration with intravenous fluid replacement. However, in some cases, the patient may require a blood transfusion.

The most serious complication associated with colonoscopy may be iatrogenic colonic perforation, which may occur due to mechanical forces against the colonic wall or an electrical injury. These perforations are usually treated by bed rest, but in some cases, surgery is required to repair the perforation.

The most common immediate cardiovascular complications are bradycardia and hypotension. These conditions are usually multifactorial and should be treated with antihypertensive drugs and intravenous replacement with crystalloid solutions.

Other minor complications include the splenic injury. This complication is less common than perforation or splenic rupture. Surgical repair is possible with endoscopic clips or sutures.

Postpolypectomy coagulation syndrome is a condition that can present with abdominal pain, leukocytosis, and fever. The coagulation can be corrected by electrocoagulation or repeated colonoscopy. However, patients who are taking anticoagulants may have an increased risk of bleeding.

The most important consideration in considering the complications of colonoscopy is the physician’s informed consent. This consent must explain the risks and benefits of colonoscopy, as well as the potential for complications. The risks of colonoscopy are usually low, but they must be within acceptable limits.

CDC’s newer Colorectal Cancer Control Program simplified the process of tracking complications. Practices participating in the program must use specialized software to generate procedure reports. The software requires data such as procedure indications, procedure completeness, comorbidity, and ASA category.

In addition, a program must report all medical complications that require hospitalization or emergency room visits. Programs must also report any complications that cause death. These complications are generally reported within 30 days of the procedure.

The CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Study Program (CRCSDP) examined clinical data from 3215 individuals undergoing screening colonoscopies in diverse practice settings. The study found that the rate of complications was 2.38 per 1000 colonoscopies, with the complication rate higher among older patients.


Typically, recovery from a colonoscopy takes less than a day. A colonoscopy is a procedure that checks the colon to determine the causes of gastrointestinal symptoms. It can also detect cancer.

The procedure typically lasts 30 minutes to an hour. During the procedure, a flexible hose is inserted into the patient’s body. It is then slowly drawn back through the small bowel. It may be used to clean the lining of the colon or to remove liquid stool. It is usually a very comfortable procedure.

After the procedure, the patient is given something to eat and rest. They may be given medicine to relax. In addition, a monitor will be set up to monitor vital signs. A nurse will be available for any questions.

Patients are usually given a ride home after the procedure. They will not be able to drive for a few hours. They should also not drive alone.

If you are having a colonoscopy with anesthesia, you should plan to have someone pick you up. You may be required to have an IV started before the procedure. You will also need to drink plenty of fluids after the test.

The anesthesia used for a colonoscopy may cause you to be bloated or flatulent for several hours. You may also have minor cramping. You should take rest, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a lot of healthy food.

If you have any questions about the procedure or the recovery process, you should ask your doctor. You may be given a prescription laxative before the procedure to help you pass your bowels.

After the procedure, you should ask your doctor about the pain you may be experiencing. If you experience pain, you should avoid bending over or straining. You may also have to avoid eating solid foods for a few days.

If you do not have a bowel movement for a week, ask your doctor about the possibility of passing gas. Bloating and discomfort can also be caused by air that is used in a colonoscopy. You should also take some deep breaths to help relax the abdominal muscles.

Health Sources:

Health A to Z. (n.d.).

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.).

Directory Health Topics. (n.d.).

Health A-Z. (2022, April 26). Verywell Health.

Harvard Health. (2015, November 17). Health A to Z.

Health Conditions A-Z Sitemap. (n.d.).

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman

Susan Silverman is a Healthy Home Remedies Writer for Home Remedy Lifestyle! With over 10 years of experience, I've helped countless people find natural solutions to their health problems. At Home Remedy Lifestyle, we believe that knowledge is power. I am dedicated to providing our readers with trustworthy, evidence-based information about home remedies and natural medical treatments. I love finding creative ways to live a healthy and holistic lifestyle on a budget! It is my hope to empower our readers to take control of their health!

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