Help! First Colonoscopy scheduled, Suffer from White Jacket Syndrome!

Posted , 5 users are following.

Any advice is appreciated.

I suffer from an extreme anxiety to hospitals, doctors, and medical procedures.

I don't think I can go through the procedure. I am so scared.

The whole procedure from beginning to end causes me extreme anxiety and fear. I know this is all in my head but I can';t seem to change my thoughts or feelings.

Has anyone else been through this? Any advice?

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    hi i also dreaded my first, but it is really not as bad as you think the worrst for me was the drink and sitting on the loo for ages , as i live alone i couldnt opt for the sedative just gas and air and i was surprised how well it went ok it was more uncomfortable than painful but if i have to have another i will opt for gas and air again, they found 3 polyps that they removed,. honestly i know there are alot of scare stories but i really found it ok apart from the laxative drink . i really thought i would never get off the toilet !! anyway good luck hope all goes well for you.

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  • Posted

    Hi Christine.

    I am just like you in the fact that I have been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder and suffer severe health anxiety, which includes a real fear of any sort of doctor and hospital procedure or treatment. Like you also I dreaded my first Colonoscopy to the point I wanted to cancel, I don't know where I got the strength to go through with it, but I think the need to know why I was suffering with bouts of rectal bleeding was the main driving force for going through with it.

    I've now had two colonoscopies in the last few years and although they are unpleasant procedures, they are not anywhere near as bad as imagined. The worst part for sure is the bowel preparation, it's is an unpleasant, messy, draining experience. Having to have numerous bowel movements until you are passing water can make you feel really tired, quite nauseous and a bit sore, but it's not a terrible experience, just very uncomfortable. As for the colonoscopy itself, as long as you opt for sedation which I do recommend, it ends up being a breeze compared to the bowel prep. I was so relaxed I was able to chat to the doctor and nurse throughout, and actually watched most of the procedure on the TV screen, it was fascinating to see my insides, probably because of the sedative. Out of all of it the part that hurt most of the whole procedure was having the Canula for the sedative put into my hand.

    There are plenty of horror stories broadcast on the internet, but people only tend to mention bad experiences more than they do good ones, for every bad experience you read I'm sure there are hundreds, probably thousands that have had good experiences, but they never get mentioned because people are just glad to have had it done and got it out the way.

    If I can go through it twice, I'm sure you can do it, it really won't be as bad as your fears are telling you. It's half a day or so of almost constant trips to the toilet, followed by about an hours prep for the procedure, then followed by 15 to 20 minutes of actual colonoscopy, it's not a great deal of time to have to endure to get answers you need. All the best and I hope you find the strength within yourself to go through with it.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

      The anxiety and fear that I have for medical procedures is over whelming and all consuming. My appetite has decreased and my sleep is almost non existent and I tremble constantly . There has been one day when I couldn't get out of bed.

      My friend is going to take me to the hospital this week to try and desensitize me. We are going to find out where we have to go for the procedure and hopefully talk to someone. This alone will make me get light headed and make me very anxious.

      My friends just don't understand the debilitating anxiety I go through. I'm trying so hard to go through with the exam. There are a few moments when i think I can do it but for the most part I just want to run. I am "stuck" right now and can't move forward till this is behind me.

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    • Posted

      Getting your friend to take you to the hospital to try and overcome some fears and anxieties is a good idea, also have you thought of giving the department a call before hand and seeing if the is a nurse or doctor you can talk to about the procedure, that way you can explain, and they will be able to see themselves, your fears and anxieties and reassure you as best as they can. I did that for my first one and the consultant said to me that in the almost 5 years he had been doing these procedures, not one had complications, and he had done well over a thousand.

      If you opt for sedative, which I recommend, then it will help a great deal, although you will need a friend or relative with you. You'll either be so tired from being drained and the lack of sleep you get from going through the bowel prep that you will fall asleep during the procedure, which is what happened to me on my first colonoscopy, or you will feel so relaxed that you are able to what the whole procedure on the screen, which happened to me on my second one. The sedative really does calm you down so much, it's just a shame it's only administered just before the procedure. Before you know it, it will be all over and you'll be in recovery, and you might even get a very welcome sandwich, which is much needed after not eating for 12 to 18 hours!

      As I said before, the bowel prep is the worst part for definite, it's not a nice experience at all, and if you can make it through that then the rest is easy in comparison. One word of advice, I'm not sure what bowel prep medication you will be getting, I had something called Picolax for both my colonoscopies and from what I've heard it is much easier to use than Moviprep, which is the other commonly used bowel prep medication. You might get something totally different, but if you can try to get Picolax, just make sure you make it and chill it before you drink it, it gets rather hot when you mix it with water and it's not nice to drink that way, much better chilled, and has a pleasant taste too. I also recommend that you have toilet wipes on hand as well as some Vaseline, it gets messy and apply the Vaseline from the start, it'll help prevent getting sore too much, oh and a good book or tablet loaded with you favorite films or TV shows is a good idea, you'll be in the toilet quite a bit and it can get boring.

      I do hope some of this advice helps as I know what it is like to be faced with this when suffering with severe anxiety, but as I said before, if I can do it then I'm sure you can. All the best and I really hope it goes well for you, which I'm sure it will.

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    • Posted

      I DID IT!!!!

      With the help of my two friends, Xanax, CBD Oil and YOU!!!

      NONE of the entire procedure was that bad. Only going to the bathroom was a little sore but I did what you said with the Vaseline and it worked!!!

      My doctor found two polyps, a hemorrhoid (caused by childbirth) and that I have Diverticulitis.

      She said the polyps have to be sent out for exam and she would get back to me probably next week. Now I have to wait for the results if they are cancer or precancerous. She also wants me to get a colonoscopy every three years and tell my sisters and brothers what was found and to ask them about the results of their colonoscopies. This causes me a little anxiety but I have faith that everything will be okay.

      I can't thank you enough for your kindness and support.

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    • Posted

      Good on you Christine, well done.

      Now you know you can face future colonoscopies without too much fear and anxiety. Just glad I was able to help you out, I know only too well the fears you were going through, and there is nothing worse than having to face events like this without support and reassurance.

      I hope your results come back fine and all the best for the future!!!

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