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May5 May5

Colonoscopy Without Sedation

I am writing this in the hope of reassuring a person that is preparing for a colonoscopy.

I am a woman in my mid thirties and have had a colonoscopy today without sedation and although offered, did not need the gas and air in the end either. The whole bowel was scoped.

I would best describe, the additional air, being put into the bowel to iron out the creases, as the scope goes a discomfort type of pain that rises in intensity then lowers, that passed after about 10 seconds of beginning (I think that's how long gas and air takes to work). This discomfort/pain happened two or three times throughout.

I had two polyps removed. It was possible to watch on the 'tv' screen but I didn't opt for that.

(The NHS Endoscopist and the Nurse which I conversed with about the procedure itself and many other things throughout the procedure were fantastic).

96 Replies

  • May5 May5

    I should also mention I watched on the tv screen for some of the procedure which was interesting to see but not when the polyps were removed.

  • jeanlyon jeanlyon

    I;m glad yours was OK - mine was not. The pain was indescribable and even the sedation made no difference.

    • elizabeth62526 elizabeth62526 jeanlyon

      Thank you jeanlyon. The same here. I had mine done yesterday. I am 62, and i opted for no sedation, but gas and air if i decided during the proceedure. I was in extreme pain from the first few minutes, and had to have the gas and air. My pain threshold is quite high, as i have had 4 children, and also had my leg crushed in a car crash 2 years ago, so i think i know something about pain. 

      Everything i had read, and been told, only ever mentioned " discomfort" and so i wasn't prepared for severe pain. Even with the gas and air, i was holding tightly to the nurse's hand for the first 10/15 minutes.

      I was told afterwards that everyone reacts differently, but i heard the comments of 2 different patients leaving after the proceedure, saying how painful it was, and they had been given the sedation/pain relief. 

      So ,... please be prepared !! I was not.

  • robaddi robaddi

    Had my colonoscopy a few years ago-and agreed to have the colonoscopy without sedation because I couldn't arrange for anyone to take me home afterwards-this is necessary if you are receiving sedation or anaesthesia.

    The pain I experienced was awful and after a few minutes I had to ask the consultant to stop-at that point I was clammy, sweating profusely and I could see from the pulse oxymetry monitor that my pulse rate was 160 BPM and felt I was going to pass out..

    Having been a nurse in acute care settings for over 25 years I knew that all of these indications were not normal however I had the presence of mind to halt the procedure when feeling unwell-the endoscopist and attending nurse seemed unconcerned and I believe would have carried on with the procedure.

    My point would be that however well meaning people might be in relating a positive experience of colonoscopy without sedation, everyone's experience will be different. I personally would not advise anyone to go ahead with the procedure without pain relief or sedation-healthcare professionals do not offer these on a whim but for good reason.

    Following my own experience I was offered a follow up appointment for colonoscopy where I received midazolam sedation and pethedine pain relief-I remember nothing else after this until the endoscopist gave me a tap on the shoulder to tell me the procedure was finished( about twenty minutes later).I was relaxed with no pain/discomfort.

    This time I was able to get a family member to come collect me afterwards.

  • michele25572 michele25572

    I am 54 and just this morning had my first colonoscopy without sedation, the only thing you need to be brave for is the prep and drinking the Movi Prep. The procedure was a piece of cake. The doctor expalined everything he was going to do and It was not painful at all. If you have ever had an enema it felt like expansion bloating and releasing thats it. There was one turn that was a little uncomfortable but basically in one breath it was over. In my opinion there is no need to have sedation for this. My advice is that during the prep you drink alot of water in between, and while you are waiting for your next run to the toilet you put a hot pad or hot water bottle on your belly. It was very soothing. When I got home I massaged my belly passed some gas and was good as new. Took a nap with my hot pad and now I am back at work in just a few hours. No reason to support the drug companies. Find a doctor that will work with you and enjoy watching your colon on the big screen. I was very lucky all clear and healthy.

    • Sonne Sonne michele25572

      What horrible advice!  Ok its your opinion but don't tell someone its not necessary.  Its a disgusting barbaric procedure to begin with unless you're into that type of thing.  I've never had one and never will, but for those that do, use the sedationand have no memory of being voluntarily molested

    • JeremiahJohnson JeremiahJohnson Sonne

      Wow... I have that exact same fear... I know exactly how your feeling and your saying this out of anger, trust me I know. I have a colonoscopy appointment tomorrow and I'm already p****d at the thought of forfeiting all my rights and control of my body, and that the medical team is free to do what ever they please to my body whether it being raped, purposely or carelessly damaging my stomach or even sabatoging it, leaving instruments inside, or to taking pleasure in having full control of my body. I know feel so angry right now. And I don't trust people in general especially those who are put in such a position of power over the patient. Because as humans, we are more likely to abuse that kind of power. And I hate the thought of someone taking advantage of their patients when their "versed"

  • TG1964 TG1964 May5

    I had a colonoscopy recently with sedation on the advice of two nurses and the consultant. The prep with no food and laxatives was much better than I anticipated as I had eaten lightly two days before. I was advised that I could watch the procedure on the screen but can only remember having the needle put in my arm and then waking up back in a room when it was all over. I honestly cannot remember feeling anything or talking to anyone so cannot say if it was painful or not.  I was advised that the drug used makes you forget (similar to the 'date rape' drug). In a way it is good that I don't remember, but in another, I wanted to be 'conscious' as I'm not sure if I was completely 'out' or not. Maybe I was talking to the team and moving when asked etc but I really can't remember. I felt a bit strange and only thought about this when I got home and wish I knew. Has anyone else experienced this?

  • Flopsy20 Flopsy20 May5

    I had a colonoscopy a couple of days ago without sedation, just with gas and air. It was horrific, I was in so much pain I could barely cope and when I took the gas and air it made me feel spaced out and sick. 

    They found evidence of crohns with nodules and inflammation present so maybe with the colon already inflamed, was why it hurt so much.

    i had several biopsies taken to find out how far the crohns had spread, and that may be why I am still in pain a couple of days later. 

    My advice to anyone in the future is to demand sedation, there is no way I can go through a colonoscopy again without it!!

    • bencooper bencooper Flopsy20

      I agree. The one I remember due to inadequate sedation was agony and had to be stopped. The ones I don't remember were fine. (Probably agony too! ). I have inflammation of the bowel too.

      Drug us.

    • vic23489 vic23489 Flopsy20

      Same here! If there EVER is a next time... I’ll definitely go for sedation. Which I firmly believe, should always be a clinical recommendation for this vital procedure.

      Health Complications aside, sedation  it is by far, the most distress lessening option.

       It is probably a NHS Cost reduction policy to offer a colonoscopy procedure without sedation?

      Personally, do not recommend that anyone takes the chance on being just comfortable with just gas and air. It spaces you out to a point where you lose your control on what’s actually being done to you.  I found the whole process disturbing – even though I am quite used to severe pain, owing to 17 years of ongoing Chronic back pain.

      I also represent PALS in another NHS field so I know full-well How to listen to patients concerns. That’s why a forum like this is SO important. Patients really need to feel empowered.

      As a patient you ALWAYS have the right to say NO - and that right should always be respected.

      This forum is Brilliant - just wish I’d come here before I made crucial decisions about a clinical procedure I knew little about.  In conclusion I’d add that on NO account be TOO afraid to ask searching question about what’s going to done to YOUR body. Again, that’s your intrinsic right. Good Luck – and never be Afraid to Ask.

    • rsteinbach90 rsteinbach90 vic23489

      I would go on to say that the patient should be given the full right to have sedation and pain relieve, full anaesthesia, or neither for a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.   We as patients should never be afraid to ask for options and if option you want is not given then be able to go to another place that does have that option.  The patient has the right to say NO!  I believe everyone should have the right to the inviolability of their physical body when capable of consent.

    • JeremiahJohnson JeremiahJohnson vic23489

      You my friend are a person who not only takes patient's concerns but actually truly care about the patient's well being, not because that is part of the job, but because in your heart you actually do care and strive to make it who you are as a representative in the medical field. All medical staff should be required to grow in this type of mentality, as in they have to be able to prove that they actually and honestly care


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