Colonoscopy procedure is it painful

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having read all the horror stories concerning extremely painful colonoscopy procedures I would like to reassure people that the procedure for me at any rate wasn't nearly so awful as I had expected having read the reports of others. I had a full colonoscopy privately with an experienced gastronomic enterologist a couple of days ago and although it was uncomfortable it wasn't  an unpleasant experience. The consultant gave me the sedative and pain relief which appeared to knock me out and I only woke up when I was asked to lay from my left side to my back. This was towards the end of the procedure as I was aware then of the instrument being gradually withdrawn from my bowel. I really felt the procedure had only taken about 10 minutes when in fact it had actually taken around 40 mins. I was told my bowel was long and tortuous but the sedative had clearly put me to sleep through most of the procedure. The colonoscopy showed a good clear bowel with a few minor piles  war the rectum. I can honestly say the reassurance and comforting knowledge that the bowel is healthy far out weighs any discomfort from the procedure which given the correct dose of sedative should be bearable. 

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  • Posted

    I think there are two lessons from your story. For most people, the procedure is as you describe it. It has been for me too on each occasion. For a small minority of people it is vile. Naturally on a site like this their accounts probably feature more disproportionately because if you had an uneventful time, you may well not bother to write in about it. That is why your report is so useful. The minority who do have a bad time are unlucky for a variety of reasons: it can be the shape of the bowel, the nature of the condition they have, or, let's face it, medical incompetence. Ability to move the colonoscope through the bowel is not a gift you are born with and, like everything, some are better at it than others. Sometimes the reaction of the medics to those who have a horrible time is incredibly bad as if these patients are being unreasonable or making it up. That is rubbish! They are just the same as people who have an uneventful experience except they have a bad experience. Oddly, I find colonoscopy ok but I find the routine manual examination into the rectal area incredibly painful so the truth is that we are all different and we all have our quirks. I think it is worth making sure you get a good specialist - I save up and have it privately so I can choose my consultant. No holiday for that year and sometimes a loan! If the condition you have (like inflammation) makes it painful or you have an odd bowel shape or you react badly to sedation, that is where we are medically at the moment, and you have to make a choice about whether to have a colonoscopy or not. I think this site is very helpful for everyone and your story is a greatly encouraging one and is what happens to most people. For those who have a less good time, I think the support of all of us is very helpful together with some ideas and we can help people to be prepared to stand up to the small minority of medics who for some reason did not pay attention during their training to "bedside manner".

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  • Posted

    A good experience depends on many things. 1st, the doctor doing the exam. Has to be good at it and good at the sedating his or her patients. 2nd, we are all wired differently, so while some only experience mild disscomfort others have horrible pain and you don't really know until you are on the table and the pain medicine starts to wear off, but by then it is too late. I have had many of these tests and if the pain medicine wears off most of my doctors just gave me more, problem solved. I had two doctors that were bad at this and thanks to them I endured a lot of pain against my will. The best way to gaurd against a bad experience is to interview your doctor. Ask them what happens if the medicine starts to wear off? Will they give you more? Make sure that you hand write any and all of your instructions of how you expect it to go on the consent form. I write that if I wake and indicate that I am in pain they are to stop the test and provide more medicine before they are able to continue or if the doctor doesn't want to give me more then the scope needs to be taken out and the exam stopped. I will never suffer again due to a doctor being uncaring of his or her patients comfort. It is next to impossible to get good exam results from someone writhing around in pain like I did and it increases the chace of punturing the bowel. Most people will not have the issues I had, but why not protect one's self by writing it on the consent. After all I am giving consent for the exam, but not for torture. 

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    • Posted

      I appreciate what you say and the fact that your experiences in terms of the perception of pain may have been awful for you, however most of the complaints about the painful nature of this procedure appear to come from men. Maybe women who have undergone painful childbirth have a higher threshold of pain. Experienced gastro enterologists are undertaking these procedures many many times a week, they know exactly what they are doing and should be able to administer the correct amount of sedative and pain relief to accommodate the vast majority of patients. After all the bowl does not have nerve endings and the discomfort arises from the pumping of air into the bowls. Some patients may have particular bowl conditions also such as chrohns or uc which can excacerbate the discomfort also. However I really feel that the excessive complaints about how horrific a colonoscopy procedure is , is not helpful to most people seeking reassurance and the vast majority of procedures are relatively ok

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  • Posted

    I just had my first one yesterday. I was sedated with Versed. One second I was in the exam room, wondering when I would feel the sedative kick in, the next minute a nurse was waking me in the recovery room. She gave me a drink, got my clothes, checked my vitals, removed the ID. I got dressed. Doc came in for a 2 minute chat and I was out the door 15 minutes after waking up. Very gassy after, uncomfortable gas pressure but not really that painful. The pressure was gone in about 3-4 hours.
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    • Posted

      While what I have to say doesn't have to do with the colonoscopy itself, but the prep. I'm 25 and I have to get a colonoscopy Monday due to bad lower stomach pain which GI thinks is just IBS but my first time meeting with him was yesterday and he wants to do a colonoscopy because my father passed from colon cancer. So where my worry sets in is with the prep. Having so called ibs, I'm worried that the prep will hurt my stomach. You know, the sharp and crippling pain.. have you had that expiernece at all?

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    • Posted

      I had IBS for years and the laxative they give you doesn't give you crippling pains do don't worry. It's a nuisance because you have to go to the loo such a lot but it's pretty painless. Have done Vaseline or Germaloids and Wet Wipes so you don't get sore. I have the tetchiest gut in history but I don't get pain from this - bit of gas discomfort afterwards so don't get worried.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so so very much! I've been so worried but you really did help ease my mind about It, especially since you seem to know exsctly what pain I'm taking about. Thank you again smile

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  • Posted

    I have realized that is also dependent on the doctors approach. My current doctor was really respectful of the fact that I have had so many bad experiences, that she went out of her way to make sure that I didn't have another one. I was given Propofol and it works well, now it was the most painful drug I have ever experienced. It felt like someone hitting me in the arm with a bat, but when they noticed that it was hurting me they put a hot pack on my arm and that helped a lot. I told the doctor I didn't want any biopsies done and she suggested that we do, but she wasn't going to force me to have them. She said they would only take two, so I said ok. She also said I am not going to even touch you or expose your back side until you tell me it is ok to start. So we waited about a minute until I was out, then I woke up in recovery. As long as you have a doctor that is respectful of your body and comfort then things should go well. In my case I had some careless doctors that were in a hurry, so I suffered as a result. The only pain I felt was the Propofol and after the test my pelvic floor muscles were in a painful state of spasm. So I kept saying that my butt hurt, oh well you can't have everything. The point that I am trying to make is there are many people that find these tests painful, so we can't generalize and say it is not painful to anyone, so no one needs pain control. As the patient each person needs to decide if they want to brave it or have sedation. I will always choose sedation, because I know that I find these tests painful and there is really no need to suffer. If you have a doctor that is pushing you to do something you are not ok with, then I would get a new doctor. Mine was very respectful of what I had been through and was determined to make sure I didn't have a bad experience. I am glad, as now I have a doctor that I can continue to see for my disease. Remember, the choice of having sedation or not is up to the patient in this case. One needs to decide what is right for them.

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  • Posted

    While what I have to say doesn't have to do with the colonoscopy itself, but the prep. I'm 25 and I have to get a colonoscopy Monday due to bad lower stomach pain which GI thinks is just IBS but my first time meeting with him was yesterday and he wants to do a colonoscopy because my father passed from colon cancer. So where my worry sets in is with the prep. Having so called ibs, I'm worried that the prep will hurt my stomsch. You know, the sharp and crippling pain.. have you had that expiernece at all?

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