Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy Same Day | My experience

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I have just had both today and after spending so much time researching forums beforehand I told my consultant I was a nervous wreck. He told me I would be absolutely fine and to make sure I post back to say so and reassure others.

With a suspected hiatal hernia and family history of polyps in the colon I thought it might be a good idea to get both endoscopy and colonoscopy done and out of the way before I emigrate next month.  I've been putting it off for years as I heard horror stories about both. 

I'm pleased to say my experience was nowhere near as bad as what I heard so I am here to share my experience for those about to go through it. 

2 days before procedure

Started my low fibre diet consisting of rice krispies for breakfast and dinner, jacket potato with tuna and cheese for lunch (left the skin off the jacket begrudgingly!)

1 day before procedure

Rice krispies for breakfast, jacket potato with tuna and cheese for lunch (left the skin off the jacket again). A couple of after eight chocolate mints in the afternoon and lots of water.

Left work early at 2pm so I could start my Picolax bowel prep in comfort. Took my first sachet at 3pm. Took a few stirs to dissolve fully in half a cup of water. It went down easy in a few gulps and tasted a bit like fizzy lemsip. I braced myself for the volcanic eruption that was due any minute, but it didn't come.  Drank a litre of water and a robinsons fruit drink. 1 hour later nothing. 2 hours later nothing.  I really wanted something to happen before my 2nd sachet which I wa prescribed to take at 5pm. 3 hours later a few growls in my left side, but nothing uncomfortable.

Then at 7pm I decided to just send myself to the toilet for a wee. I decided to strain a little and with that the first gush came out. It was quite civilised and not too messy. I can only describe it as a rush of thick carrot soup. Wet wipes and vaseline at the ready with every movement!

As I had drank so much water, I needed to urinate often so with each trip to the loo I'd strain a little and repeat the above. Probably 5 times on the hour until I went to sleep at midnight. I woke up at 1am, repeat then slept straight through until 7am.

Day of procedure

I woke up actually feeling quite excited that I was finally getting over it. With every routine thing I did (ie. shower, make up, leave the flat) I kept saying to myself "next time i do ..... it will have been over." I wore leggings and a loose tshirt as I was warned of bloating afterwards.

I didnt drink anything in the morning and was mostly looking forward to a tea and toast after the procedure as i'd been fasting since 2pm the day before.

I arrived at the hospital (Lister Hospital in Chelsea) and within a few minutes the nurse came to give me my wrist band, ask routine questions, and get me to sign the consent form.

I then got undressed and changed into a backless gown and 'modesty' shorts. She then checked my blood pressure and sugar levels (I think) a clip on the tip of my finger. She then tried to insert the canula into my right arm but she was coming up against resistance, so she tried my left and it was the same. I've been told before my blood is quite thick so she said she would leave it for the consultant to inject. 

The Procedure (Endoscopy first - followed by colonoscopy)

I was wheeled into the room where it would all happen. My consultant quickly found a vein in my left arm and then inserted the canula with ease. It didnt hurt, he just did it with such speed and confidence I was more surprised than in pain.  He then left the room and I had 2 nurses getting me ready for the procedures. The first administered the throat spray, which for me was the worst part of the entire process. It tastes like banana so it didnt make me gag. But I didnt read enough about it on the forums so I had no expectations of the sensation. She asked me to open wide and breath in, the she sprayed three times. I swallowed and then repeated it again. She then told me to just concentrate on breathing and try not to over swallow. Meanwhile, nurse 2 was placing the oxygen mask over my nose. Not the big mask that covers the whole nose, just one with two small tubes that are placed under your nose. 

I started panicking as all I wanted to do was keep swallowing and i had a major phobia of gagging, but i was losing the sensation in my throat, it felt tight and dry, and there was no saliva to swallow anyway. I grabbed one of the nurses' hand for comfort and at that point they must have administered the sedatives as I dont remember the consultant coming back in or any of the endoscopy.  


I was given a perfect cocktail of Fentanyl 75 ug and Midazolam 4mg. They are part of the valium family.

I must have napped for half an hour as the procedure started 11am and finished by 11:45. I didnt feel/recall anything, and was totally unconscious for the endoscopy and the first entry of the colonoscopy. I woke up at 11:30 and my bed had been turned around for the colonoscopy. I remember feeling great and thinking ooo I'm up so now I can watch a bit of my colon on the screen. I was aware of the camera in my colon but it was not uncomfortable at all, even when they pulled it out.

After the procedure

I was wheeled back in to the recovery room at 11:45 and by then the throat spray had worn off. I felt absolutely fine and ready for my tea and toast. No side effects or nausea. My friend picked me up and I took her out for lunch to say thank you. I then made my own way home on the underground at about 2pm did a bit of work from home and here I am, writing away.

Just remember you are more likely to hear about the horror stories on forums. It's actually not that bad. The worst parts were the fasting, bowel prep and throat spray. 


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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Well, I don't know why you were so scared anyway. Horror strories will always be found. You have to look at global statistics and global stats say that these procedures are extremly safe.

    I was on a gastroscopy last week. my sixth. (I'm 25 now). Had one colonoscopy at the age of 20. All without sedation. Colonoscopy was little bit nasty but still OK. 

    Gastroscopy is like a piece of cacke but as it goes depper you will experience more discomfort which is natural because you don't want foreign things too deep in your system and then your body rejects them by expressing some kind of pain.


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  • Posted

    I only had the midalazm that's it nothing else and it was totally ineffective on me.

    However it sounds like you had it as an inpatient - my endoscopy was done via outpatient so own clothes etc and only 3mg of midazalam.

    When I had my colonoscopy and endoscopy together I was like you in a gown and that time

    I had way more drugs and don't remember a thing it was bliss!

    When I went in for the endoscopy on its own I had profol which worked great didn't remember a thing.

    So it depends on the situation tbh and the drugs given

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  • Posted

    Before any procedure I tell them anesthesia always makes me nauseous. I have woke up a couple times nauseous. It sucks. Rather they give me something so it doesn't happen. It won't hurt you but will help. Had a operation in November. Anesthesiologist ignored my warning. I woke up so nauseous. Spent 3 hours in recovery fighting it. The shots they gave me there didn't work. Finally they made the anesthesiologist come down so I could tell him he was wrong. He gave me a pill. In 45 minutes I felt great. I had a Gastroscopy couple weeks ago. They loaded me up with fentanyl, 200 mcg in divided doses, 10 mg versed , so you don't remember any of it, in divided doses and 4 mg zofran to prevent nausea. He filled my mouth up with cetacaine. Had me gargle and swallow it to numb my throat. Woke up felt great.

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  • Posted

    I'm glad you had such a good experience. However, the Lister is a private hospital, and people having these procedures don't always have such a comfortable experience - though some NHS hospitals do their best to make things as good as possible.

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    • Posted

      Reminds me of my gastroscopy in a public hospital in Belgium. I had sedation, but only a half-dose because I was over 65. All it did was suppress my higher centres, which might have made me able to cooperate, while leaving me in fight-or-flight mode and fighting for my life (as I saw it). Took 6 people to hold me down. Worst 20 minutes of my life!
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  • Posted

    As I always say, a small amount of people can do no sedation and it be relatively pain/stress free. Most either have a terrible experience or have the sedative and then it is over and done with, without them knowing a thing.

    Sedative is not anesthetic.

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    • Posted

      Fentanyl is actually a opioid often used as a anesthesia. I wasn't even given the option of awake or not. I would have chose asleep anyways. Lol.

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    • Posted

      Yes, but it's used in a much lower dose than for a GA, combined with other drugs like benzos, to produce so-called "conscious sedation".

      I've seen this kind of sedation in use as a nurse. Patients actually remain awake - sometimes totally so - but in an altered state, which means they briefly crash out once the discomfort of the intervention is over, and wake with absolutely no memory of what happened. It's quite bizarre. They sometimes struggle quite violently during procedures, especially upper endoscopy, and have to be restrained, but come out of it with complete amnesia believing they were asleep the whole time.

      I was one of the ones on whom it didn't work, and had the misfortune to come out of it remembering the whole thing.

      I actually think the whole concept is faulty from a philosophical point of view. It relies on the idea that if a patient doesn't remember something then it's the same as if they were unconscious. By extension, if they don't remember being distressed during the procedure and having to be held down, then it's as if that didn't happen. But it's very traumatic for those of on whom the drugs don't work, as staff can't tell who'll remember the whole thing and who won't, so continue the procedure forcibly anyway. I'm actually surprised no one has brought an assault charge by now.

      But then the much more serious situation of inadequate anaesthesia during operations when the patient had been given a paralysing drug continued for about 30 years before anyone did anything about it. During all that time, the very few patients who experienced all the agony and psychological trauma of surgery wide awake, and relying on being ventilated because they couldn't breathe, were simply told they'd dreamed the whole thing. It was, of course, known that their memories were real, but the medical profession refused to admit it. I was told as a student nurse at a major university hospital in the mid-60s that if I ever admitted this to to a patient, I'd be instantly dismissed and never allowed to continue my training elsewhere. It wasn't till around the late 80s that the problem was finally addressed, and measures put in place to ensure it never happened again.

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    • Posted

      I was given, Fentanyl 50 ug, Midazolam 3 mg and Xylocaine 100 mg.

      Not sure how that compares to the average sedation, it was enough to knock me out.

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    • Posted

      Stuff kicked my butt. I slept good the afternoon before got up to eat before midnight. Layed back down slept before getting back up to get ready to be at the hospital at 10:30am. They started IV and doc was running late. Didn't get in til almost 1pm. Was scheduled for 11:30. I couldn't wake up. Finally did. They sent me home. I ate. Slept rest of the day and all night. Next 2 days I bet I wasn't awake 6 hours a day. Slept the rest. I would get up, be awake a hour or two, fall asleep. Lol. Wife said I talked to the doc and everything. I remember nothing.

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