A colonoscopy is most often done by a gastroenterologist -- a physician who is skilled in the use of the colonoscope and specializes in digestive disease. The gastroenterologist will give detailed instructions on how to prepare for a colonoscopy in the days prior to the test. Most patients will need to use a combination of fasting, medications, and/or enemas in order to clear the colon of any stool. The colon must be clear of fecal matter so that the doctor may carefully observe the walls of the colon and look for any signs of disease.
Most often, patients are sedated during a colonoscopy, and are given fluids and medications intravenously. Because of the sedation, you'll need someone to drive you home. You will be instructed on any restrictions you'll have after the test, and any symptoms that should be reported to your physician.
In most cases, you can return to normal activity the day after the procedure. The results of the test, and any biopsies taken, should be available in a few days. You may need to make an appointment with your doctor to meet and go over any findings.