Frequently Asked Questions About the Endoscopy Procedure

Common questions and answers about endoscopy.

What sort of information should I share with the physicians and nurse?
Your physician and nurse will need to know of any medications, major illnesses or allergies that you may have so that you can be given instructions about these prior to your exam. Drugs such as iron, aspirin, herbal supplements, anticoagulants (blood thinners) and insulin are examples of medications your health providers need to know about. You may be taking medication that may need to be stopped or adjusted for your examination.

Top of Page

How long will the procedure take? 
You can expect to be at the unit for up to two to three hours. This includes check-in, preprocedure preparation, the endoscopy procedure and recovery time.

Top of Page

Will my family be able to stay with me?
To protect the privacy of all our patients, we ask family and visitors to stay in the waiting area.

Top of Page

What should I wear or bring with me?
We encourage you to wear comfortable, casual clothing that is easy to remove. Please do not bring valuables (such as large amounts of cash or jewelry) with you. For registration purposes, you may want to bring a copy of your insurance card for verification. Please have a list of medications you are taking.

Top of Page

The colonoscopy laxative preparation tastes awful, why must I take it?
It is important to take the preparation as ordered by the physician to ensure a clean colon for a complete examination. It is essential that you take the medication as prescribed and follow the instructions carefully. When taking the Fleet phospho-soda prep, dilute half the contents of one phospho-soda package in a glass of cold water or a fizzy drink, like ginger ale. Take the other half of the prep six hours later. Please keep drinking lots of clear liquids and water during this time.

Top of Page

I am experiencing cramping and diarrhea after taking the prep. What do I do?  
This is normal. The preparation will cause you to have frequent bowel movements, and its effect may last up to six hours. You may experience some lightheadedness, weakness and nausea as well. Please make sure you drink plenty of fluids and water during this time. If you don’t have multiple bowel movements or diarrhea after taking the preparation, please call your doctor.

Top of Page

Why do I need a ride going home? 
You will be given sedation for the procedure. This may impair your ability to think clearly or react to situations. You will not be allowed to drive home because you are technically “under the influence” of drugs, which is against the law. You are to leave with a responsible adult, so you will arrive home safely.

Top of Page

Find a San Diego Gastroenterologist
To find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego gastroenterologist or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday 8 am to 6 pm.

For More Endoscopy Information
To find general health information about endoscopy, visit Digestive Disorders in Adult Health or read the Digestive Disorders News archive. 

The above information has been prepared by the Sharp Memorial Outpatient Pavilion team for patients in their unit.