How Will I Feel After Colonoscopy


A colonoscopy is a medical procedure in which a doctor looks inside a patient's rectum and colon using an instrument known as a colonoscope or scope. The results of a colonoscopy may reveal inflamed and swollen tissue, ulcers, cancer and polyps. 

When it comes to getting a colonoscopy, there is a lot of anxiety and concern. 

The results of a colonoscopy might not be as unpleasant as you think. This advice should help you take care of yourself after your colonoscopy and know what to do if there's a problem.

Immediate post colonoscopy experience

Recovery room stay

After your colonoscopy has been performed, you'll be told if any growths (better known as polyps) have been removed. After that, you'll be sent to the recovery room where you'll be monitored until you're ready to go home1.

Feeling drowsy and groggy

You will remain in recovery following the procedure until the sedative medication wears off enough to leave for home. You will probably still feel groggy or tired, so you can't drive yourself home. Unless someone is there to take you home, your doctor will not discharge you. You may still feel tired and groggy, so you should avoiddriving or using any machinary until the next day.1

Mild abdominal discomfort

Although some abdominal pain or discomfort following a colonoscopy is not rare, majority of the time a colonoscopy does not result in serious pain or discomfort.2

Passing of gas

Due to the air that was injected into the intestines during the colonoscopy, you can feel gassy or bloated for some time following the procedure. As you let out the air, you should start to feel better. Within 30 to 60 minutes, you should feel back to normal.2

First few hours post colonoscopy

Eating and drinking

If you want to eat when you get home, eat light meals. Eat things that are easy to digest, such as3

  • Crackers
  • Chicken
  • Bread
  • Soup
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Fish

Post-colonoscopy, the following foods should be eaten less,3  

  • Onions
  • Beans
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chocolate
  • Spicy foods

These foods can make you feel gassy and bloated..

You can possibly resume eating regular meals the day following the procedure. Continue eating light meals if you still struggle to pass gas and still feel bloated.3

Resuming normal activities

Soon after your colonoscopy, you'll begin to feel more like yourself once more. In fact, the majority of patients are ready to resume their regular activities within 24 hours.4

Discharge instructions

The medications you were given may affect your overall memory and thinking capacity

Therefore, it is not safe for you to drive or make your way home unassisted.4 

First few days post colonoscopy

In the days following the surgery, you might not have a bowel movement. You might also detect a small amount of blood in your first bowel movement. This may be typical and not cause for concern. Your doctor should be contacted, if you are passing huge clumps/clots of blood, the bleeding looks severe, or it lasts longer than a day.3

If you get severe abdominal pain, dizziness or a temperature of more than 37°C, you should see a doctor.3

You could feel a little fatigued and uneasy in the first few days following a colonoscopy, so allow yourself to relax. Until the doctor gives the all-clear, avoid intense activities like lifting heavy object or exercising.3

First few weeks post colonoscopy

Within two to three weeks of your colonoscopy, you should get a letter or phone call containing your results. Your doctor should also receive a copy of your test results. If after three weeks you have not heard anything, contact your doctor Depending on what was discovered during the procedure, your doctor may discuss recommendations with you during this session and may also refer you to a specialist.1

It's normal to feel anxious and afraid before a colonoscopy, but it's important that you know the results. A colonoscopy typically reveals nothing to be concerned about but if you're anxious about your results, talking to someone can be helpful.1


A colonoscopy is  used for prevention, treatment, and diagnostic purposes.. After a few days, most people can bounce back from a colonoscopy. However, if you're still experiencing symptoms, you should see a doctor.  


  1. NHS. Colonoscopy - What happens on the day [Internet]. 2019 [cited 2023 Apr 6]. Available from:
  2. Colonoscopy - NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. [accessed 17 Jun 2023] Available from:
  3. Kryla E. Information for patients and families [Internet]. 2019 Jun [cited 2023 Apr 6]. Available from:
  4. Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. Colonoscopy - Aftercare [Internet]. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. 2022 [cited 2023 Apr 6]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Hana Hailu

Master's degree, Brain Science, University of Glasgow

Hana Hailu is an accomplished academic with a strong foundation in the field of brain science and pharmacology. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Brain Science from the prestigious University of Glasgow (2021-2022). Prior to this, Hana earned her Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Applied Pharmacology from Queen Margaret University, where she studied from September 2017 to September 2021. With her deep knowledge and dedication, Hana is poised to make significant contributions to the world of neuroscience and pharmacology.

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