Yale Health

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Colonoscopy?

It is an exam of the large intestine that uses a thin, flexible tube called a "colonoscope." While under conscious sedation, the tube is passed into the rectum and transmits images to a TV screen.  This test allows the doctor to look inside the large intestine from the lowest part (the rectum) all the way to the opening to the small intestine.

What is a Sigmoidoscopy?

It is an exam of the sigmoid colon with a shorter flexible tube. This procedure is less invasive than the colonoscopy.

What is an Upper Endoscopy?

It is an exam of the upper gastrointestinal system (the esophagus/stomach and upper intestines). While under conscious sedation, a scope is passed through the esophagus and transmits images to a TV screen.

How do I prepare for a procedure?

Instructions to prepare for the procedure will be sent to you by mail (or click the name of the document to access online upper endoscopy prep instructions, colonoscopy prep instructions or sigmoidoscopy prep instructions.)

Make arrangements for a family member or friend to pick you up at the Endoscopy Suite after your procedure.  Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm. The medication given during the procedure may cause drowsiness, making it unsafe for you to drive home or take public transportation alone.

What do I do the day of the procedure?

Do not eat or drink anything on the day of your scheduled procedure. If you are taking medications, take them with a sip of water unless directed otherwise.  Please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment.

What should I do if I have pain, bleeding or black stools after the procedure?

Please call your primary care clinician.