First Time Colonoscopy Experience

Posted , 7 users are following.

I know there are a few of these posts on here but I am sure everyones experience of these is different so thought I would give some thoughts on my experience that hopefully someone might find useful.

Quick bit of background - had an uncomfortable feeling under left rib and constipation etc for around 9 months. GP suspects IBS but I kind of convinced myself it was something a lot more serious. Had chest xray, ultrasound, bloods etc which found nothing so next thing was a colonoscopy. Think GP and hospital were slightly reluctant with my age (33) etc not suggesting it was likely to be bowel cancer etc but was something I felt I had to do in order to put my mind at rest even though I was slightly reluctant.

With regards to the procedure the first thing I would say from my personal experience is that it was a far better experience than I was expecting. Obviously it is very daunting especially if you have never had anything similar and I had read a few bad experiences online but I would say to anyone about to have one of these that the expectation of what it is going to be like is far far worse than the reality.

I think the prep worries people nearly as much as the procedure but again I didn't find this too bad. I had to stop eating solids at lunch the day before and have a light lunch then have a sachet of Sodium Picosulphate at 4pm. This was fine, was just a single glass and tasted ok just kind of an orangy citrus flavour. For me this invoked a solid bowel movement about 30 mins after taking.

Then had to take my first sachet of Klean Prep at 6pm which you have to mix with 1 litre of water. Read a lot of tips about how to make this manageable like adding cordial to it. I didn't do that as sometimes I think that can make things taste even worse. The taste isn't great, kind of a plasticy kind of taste but I am able to down a drink quite quickly so if you can get a big glass of it down in one quick go then you don't taste it much and it takes about 3 big glasses to get the full lot down. I read somewhere about chilling it in the fridge to make it easier to drink which I think did definitely help.

This got things going pretty quickly. Within half an hour of finishing the litre I was in the bathroom and having a bit of a mixture of watery and solid bowel movements which eventually became watery and lasted for around an hour or so. Again had read some tips beforehand about having some wet wipes etc which helped and some people recommended putting some Vasaline on your backside to avoid soreness etc - I went with some Sudocrem instead which definitely helped. Also made sure I drank a load of water to keep hydrated and drank some Green tea and Lucozade too for the rest of the night to try stave off the urge to eat!

Then had to have the second pack of Klean Prep at 8am the next morning which was pretty much the same although by this time bowel movements were pretty much just clear liquid. Given that one of my symptoms has been a lot of constipation I actually in a peverse way enjoyed the preparation!

With regards to the procedure I chose the Gas and Air option rather than the sedation. I have never had too much wrong with me or had many operations but would say I have a decent pain tolerance and just didn't want the hassle of feeling drowsy or sick from the sedation afterwards.

Really pleased I went with that choice and the info the nurse gave me berforehand about each option was really helpful in making the choice.

Only issue I had with the gas and air was that having not having had it before I took a load in to start with and nearly passed out so didn't actually have any more after that.

Have to say whilst obviously not a great experience the actual procedure wasn't that bad or uncomfortable bar a couple of bits where it went round some corners and you just got a bit of a feeling of bad stomach ache but like I say just no way as bad as you would expect it to be when you think about what is actually happening!

Took about 30 mins I think for the actual procedure and afterwards was given a cup of tea and some biscuits and was then free to go home straight away - another advantage of not having the sedation.

Had a bit of stomach discomfort afterwards which again just felt like a bit of tummy ache but other than that have been fine and obviously a big bonus was it not showing up anything untoward.

Hope that helps put anyone experiencing this for the first time at ease a little bit. I know people will probably have had bad experiences etc but just want to emphasise to people that I think generally this is something that you just expect to be far worse than it actually is and I would just recommend to people to just try not to worry so much about it if you can.

Would also just like to say that the doctor and nurses I dealt with for mine were absolutely top drawer and really helped to put my mind at ease - the NHS gets a lot of stick but there are definitely some great people that work in it.

0 likes, 11 replies

Report / Delete

11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, I have had a number of colonoscopies with the last one excrutiatingly painful.  Possible the worst acute pain I've ever suffered in my life.  Others have had similar experiences after earlier 'scopes that were perfectly acceptable (nobody would choose to have a colonoscopy!).  I have always had pethedine and midazolam - a stong opiate painkiller and a sedative but even that was not effective on the last occasion.  I have never been offered gas and air.
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Appreciate it isn't the same for everyone Tom as I acknowledged. I was incredibly worried about mine and whilst obviously not a nice experience I was just pleasently surprised that it wasn't as bad as I had expected and just wanted to make people aware that it maybe isn't always the really horrendous experience you maybe expect.
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi

    i take my hat off to you, after reading so many negative posts (mine included) you actually volunteered to have a colonoscopy.  But because you were so worried you decided to bite the bullet and go for it.  If all the scans you have had plus the colonoscopy hasn't found anything serious,  I am sure you are OK. Obviously something is causing your discomfort and I am sure It will now be treated.  Good luck to you, you seem very sensible, and I hope you will soon continue to. Enjoy good health.

    Margaret

     

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks Margaret. I was certainly reluctant to go for it but just felt it was something I needed to do in order to put my mind at rest as I think the worry of what it could possibly be was probably not helping how I felt. You just read so many stories of people ignoring symptoms and sometimes if it is something serious that delay can prove costly. Even though my GP was fairly confident it would come back clear I just felt that all other options had been exhausted and based on the fact I just havent felt 100% for nearly 12 months I just felt it was something I needed to do and whilst there is a slight frustration that in it coming back clear I am not really any further forward in getting to the bottom of things it is obviously a big weight off my mind and another thing to kind of tick off and rule out for the doctor etc. I would say to anyone that whilst a doctor is probably usually right, if you don't feel right then just keep pushing to take things further as if nothing else it will at least put your mind at ease.
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Have they found a reason for youir symptoms?
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Derek, no not as yet unfortunately. Need to book in an appointment with my doctor again now I have had the colonoscopy and see where to go from here. Slightly frustrating that I am no further forward but of course thankful it came back clear.
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Yes, some good and some bad experiences as you said. Mine was ok. It was a routine check about a year after emergency bowel cancer surgery and I had never had one before. The blockage was found from a CT scan and they didn't waste time getting me into theatre! I was more worried about whether they would remember that a lot of my bowel was missing. Silly, I know! All ok so far and another routine scan next week. Here's hoping. Best wishes and good health! 
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hi.

    Glad your colonoscopy procedure was ok as have been all 3 that I have had so far. I am curious as to what you mean by the 'Gas And Air' option. I also had my colonoscopies without sedation. and they pump air into your colon, but they have to do that anyway to inflate it slightly so that the endoscope can pass through it more easily with less risk of damaging the colon wall.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I was given the option of sedation or just access to Gas and Air / Nitrous Oxide & Oxygen like women have in child birth, footballers get when they break their leg etc where I could just have a puff on that via a mouthpiece if it got too uncomfortable. Obviously separate to the air they pump in etc.
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I had my first colonoscopy a couple of days ago, just with gas and air, no sedation. It was awful!! I have never been in so much pain in my life, the gas and air did nothing to relieve the pain, it just made me feel sick and almost pass out after the procedure!! 

    I was diagnosed with crohns so will have yo have more colonoscopies in the future, but I am demanding sedation! I can't go through it without sedation again!! 

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Sorry to hear your procedure wasn't as smooth Flopsy20, think the responses on here highlight how different things are for each individual.

      Hope any future ones go more smoothly, sounds like sedation is the way forward for you - I suppose looking for positives at least you have tried the Gas and Air option and now know it isn't for you.

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up