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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.
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