Home » For Patients » Care Instructions

Care Instructions

Following your arrival at home, please lie down for the first two hours.
Then follow these after surgery or a colonoscopy care instructions to make your recovery period at home more comfortable:

Remove Dressing
After two hours it is safe to remove the pressure dressing.  You can do this by first removing the tape first and any of the dressing that falls off.  If it isn’t too uncomfortable, leave the rest of the dressing in place for another 30 minutes before removing.  If you are having trouble removing the dressing try soaking it in water first.  After removal of the dressing, you may begin sitz baths immediately.  Read more about sitz baths here.

Schedule A Follow Up Appointment
If you have not already made a a follow up appointment, call the office as soon as possible at (804)-288-7077 or toll free at (800)-222-1014 ext. 4348, and schedule an appointment for no more than 10-14 days from the date of your surgery.

Can I Take Tylenol or Advil After A Colonoscopy?
Yes, if something is needed for pain after a colonoscopy you may take any non-prescription pain medication followed by a sitz bath and 30 minutes rest.

For some procedures something stronger may be needed and your doctor will prescribe the correct pain medication.  If you are experiencing issues with pain please call our office for a prescription.

What To Eat And Drinkavocado spinach salad close up in bowl
Eat a balanced, high fiber diet consisting of meat, fish, poultry, whole grain cereals and breads, leafy green vegetables, fruits (cooked and fresh), and non-citrus fruit juices such as apple, grape, tomato, V-8, cranberry or cranapple juice.

Avoid foods that supply calories but very little bulk or are sweet. These foods are what we refer to as white foods.  For example include:  white bread, spaghetti, pasta, cakes, white rice, white potatoes, sugar in any form, and foods made with white flour which include pies, cakes, donuts and gravies.

Bleeding
There will likely be some bleeding with stools until entirely healed. This may continue as long as six weeks and is usually easily controlled by merely lying down. However, if bleeding continues it can usually be stopped by applying continuous pressure to the bleeding point for 15 minutes while lying down. If bleeding is profuse or continuous, contact us.

Sitz Baths
After your surgery we recommend a sitz bath at least 3 times a day with no more than 6 a day for 20-30 minutes.

To make a sitz bath, place 4-6 inches of water in a tub or special sitz bath tub.  You may find a small portable sitz bath that fits on your toilet seat is more convenient and comfortable and sitting on folded towels can also make the sitz bath more comfortable.  If you have dry skin, adding bath oil to the water is acceptable.

Stool Softeners
Take a stool softener twice a day, once after breakfast and again after dinner.

If you are on a diet, or wish to limit your food intake, you may take the stool softener 15-30 minutes before your meal to lessen your appetite. Thoroughly mix 1 rounded teaspoon, or one packet, in a half glass of water or fruit juice.  It will mix best in a shaker or blender.  Drink the mixture quickly before it thickens and becomes difficult to drink. Follow each dose with a full glass of water.

Any one of the following stool softeners may be used:

  • Konsyl -this is tasteless, sugarless and mixes easily. It will not change the flavor of any juice in which it is mixed. It is useful for diabetics.
  • Hydrocil Instant -like Konsyl, contains no sugar and is useful for diabetics.
  • Metamucil is sweetened but does not fizz. Instant Metamucil is lightly flavored and does fizz.

There are many other non-stimulant stool softeners your pharmacist can suggest others to you.  Do not take any stimulant laxatives. 

The goal is to have stools that are soft but formed.  The right mix of stool softener will help you avoid both diarrhea and constipation.  Should you have more than 2 bowel movements a day, reduce the stool softener dose to once a day. Should you have diarrhea, please call our office at 804-249-2465.

Are Stool Softeners Safe?
Stool softeners like the ones mentioned above are safe.  In fact, these can be taken for constipation, daily if necessary, for the rest of your life. You cannot become dependent upon them or develop a tolerance to them.  Just make sure the softener is one that can be mixed with water and not in the pill form which are not considered safe and are not recommended.

Constipation
Should you have trouble with constipation, you may take Milkinol, 1 tablespoon mid-morning and mid-evening. If constipation persists, you may take a Fleet® enema or a warm, tap water enema using 1 quart of water.  If you have any doubt as to safety or how to do this, please call our office first.

If bowel movements are painful, take your pain medicine and sit in a warm tub of water 15 -30 minutes before you attempt the bowel movement.

After the bowel movement, clean by sitting in a warm tub of water and swirling the warm water in the rectal area.  Some people prefer to use a hand-held shower with a steady or pulsating stream.  Just be sure sure to adjust the pressure low enough so that it doesn’t hurt.  This can be done before or after your sitz bath.

Sitting Down
Do not sit any more than necessary the day after surgery – 15 to 30 minutes is long enough at one time.  Do not do heavy lifting or work in a squatting position for 3-4 days. If you must lift something, bend down on one knee, keeping your back straight and upright, and lift the object off to one side of you.

You should try and return to normal activities as soon as possible. If you are engaged in an everyday activity and become tired or sore you should stop right away.  Get some rest then try again it when you feel better.  For the first few days everyday activities include getting dressed, or going up and down stairs.  Golf games and lawn mowing go beyond what we would consider an everyday activity.

At all times, day and night, wear a small piece of absorbent cotton, fluffed up, and tucked as high up in the rectal opening as you can comfortably wear it. This is to keep the normal drainage off the skin. Change the cotton when it becomes moist or uncomfortable. Do not use cotton balls, use absorbent cotton that comes in a roll. Vaseline® and anesthetic ointments (such as Nupercainal® ointment or cream and Americaine® ointment) may be used. Your pharmacist can advise you in selecting one. We suggest Nupercainal® ointment. Do not use any soap. It may make you itch. If something other than plain water is needed for cleansing, use CAM® lotion or Balneol®. No prescription is needed. Apply it with the finger and rinse off with water or blot off with toilet tissue.

Should something unusual occur at home, do not hesitate to call our office (804)-288-7077 or toll free (800)-222-1014 ext. 4348.