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Myth Vs. Fact: Time How Long Does It Take to Get a Colonoscopy?

Rachel Morrell

Myth Vs. Fact: Time How Long Does It Take to Get a Colonoscopy?

“I had to starve myself for days before my colonoscopy.”

“I had to take a week off work.”

“The procedure took all day.”

Let’s admit it. Everyone likes an embellished story. Exaggerations are part of what make stories so memorable and funny, except when it comes to colonoscopy stories. When colonoscopy prep and procedure details are stretched, exaggerated or inflated, it creates problematic colonoscopy myths. Because colon cancer is preventable with routine colonoscopies, it’s important to spread accurate information about colonoscopy prep and procedure time. Colonoscopy myths could make the difference in someone choosing a life-saving colonoscopy or avoiding the procedure because of fear.

Let’s examine each colonoscopy myth and apply some truth:

“I had to starve myself for days before my colonoscopy.”

Most gastroenterologists still advise patients to follow a liquid diet on the day before their colonoscopy, but there is no need to starve! You can drink clear liquids such as soda, tea, juices, lemonade, flavored water, coffee (without cream) or broth. You can also have popsicles, Jell-O, Italian ice or anything that dissolves into a clear liquid. Just make sure to avoid anything purple or red. Your fast will last one full day. After your procedure, you can eat as you please.

“I had to take a week off work.”

Nope. That is just not true. You will have to take one day off work, and that is the day of your procedure. You can still go to work on your fast day because you will not be consuming the preparation laxative until that evening. After your procedure, you’ll need a caregiver to drive you home so you can rest. You can go to work the following morning.

“The procedure took all day.”

Plan on 2 to 3 hours from check-in to discharge. Be assured that your GI surgery center will not keep you longer than needed and will send you home as soon as possible.

If you’re having trouble separating fact from fiction, check out our video series, Keeping Up with the Kolonoscopy, a documentary about John Grant’s colonoscopy journey. This video series gives an in-depth, up-close-and-personal true account of colonoscopy preparation and procedure. If you know of someone who may benefit from this 5-part series, send them the link, or encourage them to browse our video library for more Colonoscopy Mythbusters!

Related Articles:

The Steps of a Colonoscopy: It’s as Easy as 1-2-3!
Keeping Up with the Kolonoscopy
What Does a Quality Colonoscopy Mean?
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