WellSpan Home
Banner _Doctors Hand

WellSpan Digestive Health Specialists

Digestive Health FAQs

Digestive Health FAQs

What is a gastroenterologist?

A gastroenterologist is a doctor of medicine specially trained and certified to diagnose, treat, and prevent diseases of the digestive system including the bowel, pancreas and liver.

Education and training include:
College - four years
Medical school - four years
Specialized in-hospital training - at least three years of general internal medicine, plus two or more years of specialized training in gastroenterology.

Do I need to be referred by my primary care physician?

No, If your insurance permits, you may refer yourself to WellSpan Digestive Health Specialists.

What if I can't make it to my appointment?

If you are unable to keep an appointment, please notify our office 24 hours in advance. For all procedures, please notify us 3 business days in advance so that we may use that time for other patients.

What conditions do you treat?

We treat all diseases of the digestive system. Click on the link below for the most common conditions that we treat at WellSpan Digestive Health Specialists.

What kind of procedures and diagnostic tests do you perform?

WellSpan Digestive Health Specialists perform a variety of procedures and tests to help diagnose and treat digestive disorders.

Screening Colonoscopy FAQs

How will I know if I need a screening colonoscopy?

Colon cancer is the 2nd leading cancer killer in the United States.

More than 50,000 deaths occur each year in the US due to colon cancer. Over 150,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed each year.
More than 1 in 5 persons over age 50 have colon polyps, the leading cause of colon cancer.

If you're over 50 - no matter how healthy you feel - you should get a screening colonoscopy. Anyone whose mother, father, sibling, or child had colon cancer should get a screening colonoscopy.

Must I be seen at WellSpan Digestive Health Specialists prior to my procedure?

Not necessarily. If you are between the ages of 50 – 75 and are in general good health the procedure may be able to be scheduled with just a phone call to WellSpan Digestive Health Specialists.

Must I have a driver to take me home after my procedure?

Yes, because you will have received sedative medications. You must have a driver accompany you and escort you home. You cannot take public transportation by yourself.

Can my escort drop me off and than pick me up after my procedure?

We prefer that that your escort remains at the endoscopy center the entire time. If your escort is unable to remain onsite, we require a number by which we can contact them to verify your ride.

How long will my procedure take?

Plan to spend 2 ½ hours at the facility. You should arrive one hour before your scheduled procedure time. Your colonoscopy will take approximately 30 minutes and an upper endoscopy will take approximately 15-30 minutes. On average, patients are observed for 30-60 minutes (this can take longer depending on how well the patient is recovering) after their procedure. After you had had something to drink, have been able to sit up, have stable vital signs, and are able to ambulate unassisted, you and your escort will be free to leave.

How soon can I eat after my procedure?

You can eat and drink normally afterwards, although we recommend starting with a light meal and advancing your diet as tolerated.

Can I go back to work after my procedure?

No. Due to the anesthesia you will be receiving you should not work or drive after your procedure. You may return to work the following day provided that your physician has not recommended otherwise.

Would you like to see a procedure?

View a video of a colonoscopy.

Colon Prep FAQs

Is there any way I can make this taste any better?

You can try sucking on hard candy. You can rinse your mouth with water or a mouthwash. Do no eat or drink anything while you are drinking the solution. Try drinking the solution with a straw.

Why avoid red liquids?

The red color can persist in the colon and potentially look like blood.

I feel like vomiting and don’t think that I can drink any more. What do I do?

It is important that you continue to drink the solution if at all possible. Without a clean bowel, the doctor will not be able to see the inside of your colon to complete the examination. If you experience nausea, wait 15 minutes to allow your stomach to empty and resume drinking slowly. If you do vomit, wait 45 minutes and begin drinking the solution again. Try sipping the solution with a straw.

What do I do if I cannot keep the solution down?
Wait 45 minutes and begin drinking the solution again. Try sipping the solution with a straw. If vomiting persists, please call the doctor on call.

I drank a lot of the solution and I have not gone to the bathroom yet. What should I do?

Keep drinking. Most people have a bowel movement about an hour after starting the prep. Some patients may take 2 hours or longer.

I am taking the prep and now have loose watery stools. Do I still need the rest of the prep?

Yes, you may have solid stool higher in the colon that needs to be eliminated.

I already have diarrhea before taking the prep, do I still have to take the prep?

Yes, you must take the prep as directed by your physician. Your colon is approximately 6 feet long. The entire colon must be emptied for your physician to see the colon clearly.

I see yellow color in the toilet bowl and a few flecks. What do I do?

If you have finished the entire solution or if your last bowel movements were clear enough that you were able to see the bottom of the toilet, you should be fine.

My bottom is so sore. What can I do?

When cleaning the area, avoid rubbing, gently pat with a wet washcloth or moist baby wipes. You may also apply Vaseline.

Can I drink alcoholic beverages?

Do not drink any alcoholic beverages prior to your procedure since they can cause dehydration.

Can I chew gum or suck candy?

Yes, but nothing with soft centers or red color. Please avoid sugarless or artificially sweetened products.

Can I brush my teeth?


Can I wear my dentures?

Yes, you may wear your dentures to the Endoscopy Suite. However, you may be asked to remove them depending on the procedure that you are having.

I have been instructed not to take anti-inflammatory medications or blood thinners several days before the procedure. What can I take for headaches and pain relief?

You may take Tylenol.

Can I have the colonoscopy done if I have my menstrual period?

Yes, the procedure can still be performed. We ask that you use a tampon if possible (not absolutely necessary).

Why do I have to stop taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications and blood thinners?

Some medications (prescription and over-the-counter) can reduce the body’s ability to form blood clots and taking these before a colonoscopy procedure may increase your risk of bleeding if a polyp needs to be removed. The decision to stop any medication is always based on an estimate of the risk of having a significant medical problem during the short time that you are off them compared to the risk of bleeding complications from the procedure. It is very important that you speak with your physician if you are taking Coumadin, Plavix or aspirin/ecotrin for a specific medical problem.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.