This page gives you information on care following your colonoscopy/flexible sigmoidoscopy.


The medications used for sedation can remain in the body for at least 24 hours, gradually wearing off.

It is therefore very important that a capable adult is available to take you home and stay with you for the next 24 hours.

It is also important that for the next 24 hours you follow the advice below:

  • You should not drive or ride a bicycle as your reflexes and judgement will be impaired.
  • Sedation can make you unsteady on your feet. Please be careful on stairs and have someone with you if you feel unsteady.
  • Your judgement may be affected so do not make any important decisions or sign any legal documents.
  • Be careful if using social media.
  • You should not return to work, look after dependents, cook or operate machinery.
  • You should not drink any alcohol or take sleeping tablets.

When can you eat and drink?

You can eat and drink normally after discharge; although we do recommend a lighter diet for today.


You can take your usual prescribed medications when they are next due unless otherwise stated by the Endoscopist or discharging nurse. For blood thinning medications (anticoagulants) separate advice will be given.

After effects

You may experience the following:

  • A bloated, windy feeling – moving around may help to relieve this.
  • If we have removed a polyp, you may bleed slightly after the procedure; this is not unusual.

What happens next?

  • A report will be sent to your GP.
  • The results of the test and any specimens taken are sent directly to your GP. This can take up to 5 weeks.
  • If a consultant follow up is needed you will receive an appointment letter in the post.
  • If a repeat procedure is needed your medical notes will be reviewed by an Endoscopist before you are due to attend.
  • This is because the criteria for repeating procedures may change or be altered as National Guidelines are reviewed and updated. If it is felt that your procedure is no longer required we will send you a letter in the post.

A member of the nursing team will have explained to you what has been done today and any further tests that you may need.

When to seek advice

Serious side effects are rare. However, if any of the following occur within 48 hours after your colonoscopy/flexible sigmoidoscopy please contact the Endoscopy Unit where you had your procedure.

  • Severe pain in the neck, chest or abdomen
  • Bleeding from the bowel (bottom) or passing black tarry stools
  • Abdominal pain and/or bloating
  • High temperature (fever) or you feel generally unwell.
  • Disorientation (feeling lost or confused)

If you have been given Buscopan® to relax your bowel during the procedure please seek urgent medical advice if you experience any of the following:

  • Painful red eye with loss of vision.
  • Blurred, misty or foggy vision.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Unable to pass urine.

If you have any concerns please contact one of the following for advice:

  • Endoscopy Unit where you were seen
  • GP
  • NHS 111

If you think you require immediate medical attention, please phone 999 or go to your nearest Accident & Emergency Department.

Contact information

Endoscopy Unit

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

Tel: 0300 422 8222

Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Cheltenham General Hospital

Tel: 0300 422 3370

Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Cirencester Hospital

Tel: 0300 421 6200

Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Stroud Hospital

Tel: 0300 421 8073

Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Between 6:00pm and 8:00am you should contact the:

Gloucestershire Hospitals Switchboard

Tel: 0300 422 2222

When prompted ask for the operator. Ask the operator to contact the Site Management Team. The operator will then contact a Senior Nurse who will be able to advise you.


To help the Endoscopy Department understand what is important to you and how we can improve our service, we would appreciate if you would take the time to complete a feedback survey.

All responses will be anonymous and any information provided will be used sensitively and stored securely.

To access the survey, please click the link below:

Alternatively, if you would prefer to scan a QR code, this is available within the PDF document at the bottom of this page.

Printable version of this page

Discharge advice following a sedated colonoscopy_flexible sigmoidoscopy GHPI1516_11_22 Department: Colorectal Review due: August 2024 PDF, 167.3 KB, 4 pages
Reference number GHPI1516_11_22
Department Colorectal
Review due August 2024