Colonoscopy experiences - normal practice?

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi,

I had a first and hopefully last colonoscopy last week. It was extremely painful throughout - is this normal and should it have been continued if I was in such pain? Or was it up to me to make that call? - I wanted to get through it so braved through but as I was not sedated I'm having bad flashbacks of it now.

Also the endoscopist was pretty consistently ramming his hand up against my anus in a manner that was a little odd I felt. But I gave it teh benefit of the doubt that this is just what he needed to do to get the control he needed over the scope. That said, again because I'm having flashbacks of that too, having looked through Youtube videos, in all of them the endoscopists hand is nowehere near making full on contact with the patients anus. In a way I want to someone to say "yes that's normal" so I can just forget about it! It did feel odd intimate though I have to say :-/ Though to be honest its such a subjective thing that I'm sure i'll just have to accept it either way.. Would be interested to know peoples experiences and views of this.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi. It seems everyone has a slightly different experience of the procedure. Mine too was painful, and like you I had flashbacks - so much so that I didn't sleep at all for four nights after, and had to start taking herbal sleeping tablets for the first time in my life. It is an invasive procedure and I don't think enough is done to warn patients about the possible mental aftereffects. So no your experience wasn't unusual, although i couldn't comment on the hand ramming!
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    • Posted

      I couldn't agree more. There is a vaugueness of information at every point leading up to the procedure. This wasn't helpful in a keep your mind off it kind of way, it just meant I had a million questions in my mind and lots of worst case scenarios. Normally when i think worse case scenario things turn out to be so much better than expected. This was no one of those cases!
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  • Posted

    Perhaps, if it FELT 'odd', it WAS odd. We warn children of inappropriate approaches like this, don't we?

    A carefully worded and detailed letter, enquiring about your dubious experience could lead to any neccessary investigation in the hospital department. And clear the air for you, as you obviously have doubts...

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    • Posted

      I'm afraid this hospital is a little close to home - asin I work there! and I know the Dr who did it. This si a case of tough crap on me because if there was something untoward intended it would mean opening up a nightmare scenario for myself - its hard enough trying to get my health back without inviting a new stress into the equation. 
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  • Posted

    My experience was also very painful and the procedure was aborted half way through. I have had 3 different procedures and do not recall having the doctors hand anywhere near my anus. Where there other medical staff in the room?
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    • Posted

      Oh dear. All 3 replies saying similar things - and you have had 3 of these procedures? - were they all by different people? I don't know, i think it was definitely inappropriate. There is no doubt in fact. But I literally can't deal with any issues like this and I can just about sell it to myself that because of the drama around me being in such pain that perhaps he forgot himself and / or needed to take extra measures. I don't actually believe that of course. I doubt anything can excuse what he was doing - whether it was intended or not. I was in such pain I didn't even notice for ages. I'm the worst kind of person for this to happen to as I grew up in an abusive home and I'll just tell nyself it was my own fault or that I somehow asked for it! Hence my ability to stick this in a box and hope it eventually seals shut ;-/ Potentially seeing him on any given day at work won't help with that though!! :-/ How the hell am i supposed to go to my follow-ups!!??
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    • Posted

      Yes all 3 procedures were carried out by different doctor. 1 female 2 men. The shorts I wore we're very modest with just small gap in the back. I also recall at least one other person in the room. One always holding my hand another helping the doctor. I do hope you can get your head round this situation and I'm sure it's possible to insist that you don't have the same doctor if you need follow ups. I feel so sorry for you, as if it isn't bad enough to go through this awful procedure without having this treatment on top of it. There will be someone you can discuss. Your fears with if you feel up to it.
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  • Posted

     I am sorry if my suggestions made matters worse for you--of course I didn't intend that to happen.

     I feel so sad for you, knowing you have to encounter this guy at work. Please don't feel you are in any way to blame for what happened--you were in a vulnerable position, lying anxiously on an op. bed. And possibly what occurred may have been absolutely innocent--but how will you ever know without getting some support to confront the issue? 

    I admire your courage in writing in about this. Whistle-blowing is easier to advocate than to carry out.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Chris. I think if you start asking questions then you get answers. Its not your fault that you are telling the truth so don't be sorry!

      I'm feeling pretty disturbed about it now to be honest. I somehow had manged to fob it off as necessary but the more I think about - I remember it so clearly - the more I know it must have been inappropriate. What the hell ever motivates anyone to do something like that I can't fathom. Feeling vulnerable is an understatement - I had such anxiety abou the procedure as it was - largely because I am quite prudish about nudity and wary of being vulnerable and exposed like that. I felt such comfort and trust towards this doctor that I was able to go through with it. Like i say the pain was too much of a distraction in the end for me to care so much about being exposed or touched. But its afterwards when all is settled that things start to take perspective. The absolute worst thing about this is that I have severe trust issues as it is - so my main fear is that this one is going to mess me up even further. Not if I can help it.

      I wonder who I could contact to ask about this in confidence so I can know for sure if there is a line that just should not be crossed, whether intended or not. I have been searching online and theres nothing about guidance around inappropriate contact in colonoscopies.

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  • Posted

    Ok so I dug deep into my memory, chatted to housemate who reminded me of my original perspective post procedure that had somehow been superceded by a darker one post youtube videos and forum queries, and I read a bit more into teh difficulties that can be encountered in colonoscopies. My memory was actually only of 1 minute of this full-on contact towads the mid to latter part of the procedure, but I somehow drew an assumption that because i was distracted by the pain that this level of contact must have been going on without my noticing up until then. Thinking now, that is an assumption based on nothing but fear and dark thoughts. Further, the minute that things were "full-on" was around the same time that he was trying to get up into the small intestine - my housemate pointed out to me that this could potentially be quite difficult, especially if the tube isn't long enough; I read about this further online and sure enough up to 30% of colonoscopies don't go to completion because the doc could not reach the end of the colon - never mind the small intestine! Also women are far harder to do a successful procedure on because their intestines loop more. And if a person is small of frame then it is even more difficult. Basically he was trying really hard at that particular juncture to do a good job and achieve the goal of reaching the small intestine, while not causing me any more pain, that was his focus, probably oblivious to the question of whether I might interpret the level of contact in one way or another. Because as the patient with no experience of these procedures everything is a sensitive personal issue. For the docs we are borderline inanimate objects / lumps of anatomy to be worked on. As I said it was a very dramtic procedure re the level of pain i was in and he was trying to make it go as painlessly as possible. I somehow between looking at Youtube and talking in Forums talked myself out of my original intuitive conlcusion that there was nothing untoward, and went all dark-side with my thoughts. I guess this stems from my own issues about being vulnerable and not trusting men. But we need to be careful not to transpose our own issues onto another person who is just trying to help us. I think he or a nurse could have communicated a bit on the potential for an expectation of "contact" but i guess in the moment you can't think of everything. I think if anything there should be greater care taken to talk to patients - whether its a designated nurse or whoever - about any potential issues they might have about their body to address any fears,inform of the patient of what to expect in relation to their fears and perhaps raise an awareness with the doc so that if there is an escalation of bodily contact that the patient does not misinterpret. They need to recognise that while they are very used to these things, we are no at all. And the degree of sensitivity between people is wide ranging. But I am glad to say I no longer think there was anything untoward and almost feel bad now for thinking that about someone who was trying to help me :-/  I don't think it was unreasonable of me to question it however and had I not I may have continued to think the wrong thing. Questioning things is good but we have to be careful abou the conclusions we jump to also as we are all human, doctors included apparently.
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  • Posted

    Sorry to hear anout your bad experoence.

    I've had 3 colonoscopies, all of them done without sedation by different colonoscopists at the same hospital, and none of them painful, just a lirttle uncomfortable at times. I don't believe the colonoscopist's hand should have entered your anus and it was irregular if that was the case. That certainly did not happen with me.If you feel the coloscopist was not doing his job properly I would make a complaint because it can only be a matter of time before that person makes a nig mistake.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ben, thanks for commenting. His hand didn't enter my anus - except when he stuck his finger in there at the start for the lube - another aspect I had heard some doctors do but was not warned about this either. Rather it was that his fist was kneading into my anus, like forcefully pressing into it - to the extent that my coccyx was tender the next day and still is 6 days later. Presumably this was to be taken as part of an attempt to shove the tube in further. I think I have tried to convince myself that he must have needed to do this but if im honest I have not come across one person or video or description on the internet to confirm this should ever happen. I have searched and searched. I have battled in the last 5 days to come to terms with it and try to see it as innocent but it just keeps flashing back on me in a bad light. I think at best he lost the run of himself - in a very strange way - and did not communicate that this might happen. But deep down I feel I was assaulted, at the very least physically, I dont want to comment about other interpretations I could make. Ive referred myself for counselling as I have pre-existing issues re abuse and this has made me unravel a bit. I have also requested to see occupational health though I dont think I'll give too much away to them. I dont even trust my friends to tell what deep down i know for fear of it gerting out - so i let on that they have convinced me this was likely normal. Because I was very confused in the days after - because I couldn't process what had happened. Id like to see anyone go through that and call it normal. But I would rather leave my job than become a person who was assaulted - in whichever way- by my colleague and doctor. I didnt ask for this. I dont want it. Id have an impossible time proving it even if I tried - yes there were others in the room but his hands were under the sheets so no witnesses either way. I was too stunned and confused and frankly acutely aware of being at his mercy re not just the pain but whether I got out of there with an intact bowel so I just lay there acutely aware of what was happening but said nothing. I basically froze. I dont think its gona go away anytime soon especially if I keep seeing him. As for what you say about him making a mistake - he is highly experienced. There was no mistake. At best bad habits. At worst, well..
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