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Painful colonoscopy

Having had many operations in the past plus chemotherapy I can say without any hesitation that my colonoscopy carried out at Nottingham City Hospital was the most painful experience I have ever endured. It was sheer agony throughout and even though I wrote to complain afterwards the only response was \"that I had the correct amount of sedative-3mg. of Midazolam and I did not complain at the time.\" If they treated animals in this manner they would be sued for cruelty.Finally my friend who lives in Bournemouth has had to colonoscopies in the past both done under general anaesthetic. So why can't every hospital offer this alternative?

448 Replies

  • Guest

    I was talking to a friend yesterday who has recently had the procedure and also said it was agony which really put me off. What makes me angry is that descriptions on websites by the \"experts\" say it is painless. Do they not listen? Is this why no-one has done anything about it? Why does one have to rely on a forum to get advice?

    I'm so sorry about your awful experience. Hope you feel better soon.

    • ruth88255 Guest

      Hi what a club. Colonoscopy club is . 

      On previous occasions some years ago Idid find a friend to be with me for a few hours and accepted sedation. Second occasion I requested more sedation which was granted.

      but hells bells.

      yesterday I had my third colonoscopy. I was prepared I was clean I was starving I was obedient in predations. Did my research.

      procedure might be uncomfortable. Liars. It is agony.

      the fools gave me a customer feedback form

      i filed it in negatively.

      i need to find the correct forum to change practice.

      i would never ever subject an animal to torture line this.

      humans must not be fibbed off with Entonox as a suitable alternative. It offered no relief. Within 5 or 6 minutes I was perspiring very heavily and wishing to die, ducking heavily on Entonox to no avail. Shocking. Very traumatic indeed.

      i am angry to have been mis,led. It is dishonest. Give the operator the procedure with NO sedation. Then things might change.

    • Florabunda Guest

      I have decided to cheat utterly. I never sedate and there is always just bearable pain. I don't "advise" this - but it's a risk I have taken successfully. 2 hours away from the colonoscopy I take 3x buscopan - total 30th (over the counter) . I take 2 x50gm Tramadol and, if I have them, 4mg value. I take it with a vodka tonic. Yep. I am a v large woman 100kgs+. It's a risk - and it's worked for me. And, no interactions, no visible sedation but no screaming either.

      My risk

  • Guest

    I just had a colonoscopy on Monday and, like you, I found it was absolute agony. I felt no pain when the scope went in or came out, but presumably the pain started once the scope reached the \"bends\". It was excrutiating....they had to give me more sedation, which didn't really help. I made rather a lot of noise, which I'm embarrassed about now, but I really couldn't help it. In contrast, my brother-in-law has had this procedure done four times and has never felt a thing. While I was waiting I heard a nurse comment to another patient that regarding the pain, it really depended who was on the other end of the scope. Perhaps this is the case. I was in for 25 minutes and they didn't find anything. I don't think I'll ever go back for another one.

    • michela91740 Guest

      I had exactly the same, I had been given sedation for an endoscopy which worked very well and I literally didn't feel or remember a thing.the start of my colonoscopy was fine, more sedation was given but about five minutes in it felt like I was being punched at every " bend "... The doctor said I had a very long and bendy colon for my size. I couldn't ask for him to stop to give me a rest from pain or to be given more sedation due to the numbing sprain in my throat from the endoscopy preventing me from doing anything but emitting sound. I think I screamed enough though, and was given more medication to no avail. It seemed to last forever!

      The nurse said my experience of pain was uncommon and most people only experience mild discomfort ?!, I'm glad to see I'm not just a wuss !

    • e mavis38 michela91740

      Hi, I had a colonoscopy done on Tuesday 5 September 2017 and asked for a General anaesthetic, I hadn't had one done for over 15 years when I told the doctor to stop what he was doing, I couldn't stand the pain, this was with NO sedation at all.

      I suffer badly with my bowel, but had been passing blood from November last year when my GP sent me straight away to the AMU department at the hospital, this was followed up with the camera into my stomach in January, then I had a CT scan on my bowel, but the consultant said the CT scan doesn't pick up anything below 2 cms so he asked me to have a colonoscopy, I told him the experiences that I had had in the past, about 3 and said that I would be wasting theirs and my time trying to have it done while I was awake, the first time I saw him he said I couldn't have a general anaesthetic but after having the CT scan he relented and said I could have a general anaesthetic, but I might have to wait about 9 months so I said I was willing to wait.

      Glad I did have it done, I had something called angiodysplasmia which are enlarge damaged blood vessels in the colon and mine were right by the appendix area which it appears is the most common place to have them.  There is no way I would have been able to have the scope put right to that area of the colon had I been awake.  I had the most brilliant treatment having it done, the anaesthetist came to see me when I was in recovery, he told me that he had put some Fentanyl into the drip feed while I was under so I am sure they were expecting me to be in bad pain when I woke up, I was in pain with wind for over an hour, but I was able to rub my tummy to help disperse

      the pain.

      My consultant did say that he couldn't give me a general anaesthetic every time I needed it done, but when I see him next, I will tell him that there is no way I could have this procedure done if I was awake, I was under the anaesthetic for a full hour.

      don't know if its my age why they gave me the general anaesthetic, I will be 79 in November and what I had comes with age.

      So there is ways it can be done if they think you merit it, pain free.

      Hope someone reading this finds it helpful..

    • craig84609 e mavis38

      I am surprised that they would even consider doing a full colonoscopy without sedation of some type. I would never allow it in my case. My doctor wouldn't even touch me until I was out, do to the past bad experiences that I had, even under sedation. This time I was heavily sedated and don't remember anything. Some people can handle the test without sedation, but many can't and it doesn't pay to have to do it again because the test couldn't be completed due to pain. So I can't understand why some doctors would even suggest doing it without. I had a sigmoid done and I was heavily sedated with that as well. I will not let them insert the scope unless I am out. In my case I will never have one without. It makes it much more pleasant, because the whole thing is unpleasant, so why not make it better.

    • Aitch71 e mavis38

      Thank you so much for your post. So glad to hear I’m not alone. I had an excruciating colonoscopy yesterday. I was screaming and had to beg the doctor to stop, which he did after only about 2 minutes.

      I had opted for no sedation but the doctor advised me to because of the notes on a previous examination which stated I had struggled. So I had sedation and it did nothing at all. I have given birth, had gallstones and subsequent gallbladder surgery, had root canal work but none of that hurt as much as yesterday’s procedure. 

      On on top of that, I suffer from chronic diarrhoea, which is aggravated by not taking daily loperamide and not eating - 2 of the things I had to do to prepare for the colonoscopy. At 8pm after the procedure, I was still having watery/bile motions. Clearly this process is not for me! 

      My concern now is that my notes will read that I am a bit of baby, when in fact it felt like I was inflamed and I was being disembowelled! 😢

  • Guest

    My wife has had two colonoscopies at the same hospital. Both were terminated part way through because she was crying out in pain. Her distress was despite having had substantial doses of midazolam (5mg.) and fentanyl (150micrograms).

    Recently she had occasion to get copies of her hospital notes because she needed them for treatment of an unrelated condition. Imagine our surprise and disbelief when we saw the examining doctor's reports of the two colonoscopies which said \"well tolerated\" and \"the patient tolerated the procedure well\". Those words are completely misleading and the true picture was very different.

    So beware - next time a health professional tells you that sedated colonoscopy is \"well tolerated\" that certainly doesn't mean what most of us would think it to mean.

    Needless to say my wife has since declined the invitation for a third examination!

  • Guest

    Level of pain does seem to depend on who's on the other end of the scope. I have had 4 colonoscopies, 3 by my Consultant who is happens to be lead endoscopist at the hospital, they were uncomfortable but not agony and I was always back to normal next day, however the last one, 3 weeks ago was a different story. It was done by an ederly Dr who I have never seen before, he was dithering about beforehand and during the procedure kept asking the nurse were abouts she thought the scope was !!! He was definately being a bit rough and although I had Pethadine and Midazolam it didn't seem to do much this time. It was a week before I felt I was over it. I shall have words with my Consultant next time I see him and will only have my next one done if I know he will be doing the driving ! :?

  • Guest

    Jillian, you certainly must know a lot about pain from past experiences.

    I have had 9 colonoscopies including a perforation of the colon during no. 2. which led to an emergency operation when they sliced me open to repair the damage, in a hurry!

    The first 7 were not too painful, the 8th was very painful and the 9th was extremely painful. Why? Well, I have been studying this subject and have been in correspondence with my consultant. It appears that someone in the system has got the wind up about deaths arising from sedations during colonoscopies among the elderly. The British Society of Gerentologists website has a lot to say about it.

    However, no one says anything about patient welfare, and I believe that is influenced by cost! The costs of drugs and anaesthetist for deep sedations and general anaesthetics. You won't get a general anaesthetic on the NHS for a colonoscopy, but you will if they poke a hole in your colon while they are having a look.

  • Guest

    I had a Colonoscopy today and I'm afraid to report it VERY much hurt - not agony but at moments not far off (especially when they went round the bends)! I appear to be immune to the effects of Midazolam and Pethidine (even though I was given a high amount IV). I was wide awake all the way through and straight after could leave the hospital and walked the 3 miles home! I think this is unusual though so [b:16b3019684]don't worry cause 99 per cent of people cannot feel a thing and say it was a breeze [/b:16b3019684](probably cause the sedation works)! I was just unlucky I guess but assumed this procedure would be 'a walk in the park' so had no fear whatsoever before (how wrong was I). I went to a top private London hospital so I could call the shots but in future (I pray there will not be another time) I will be asking for a full General Anesthetic - or a virtual colonoscopy. I was lucky cause they found nothing and although I still feel traumatized - I am very grateful I had the colonoscopy. Having you bowel removed later due to missed cancer (maybe even loosing your life) would be a lot more traumatic and puts this all into context. Remember 99 per cent of people feel and remember nothing.


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