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painful sigmoidoscopy

Had Sigmoidoscopy yesterday and would need to be dragged kicking and screaming before having another! The hospital staff were lovely, I was given an enema before the doctor came to speak to me about what he was about to do. He was very nice and reassuring so up to then, all was going well. Then I was taken to the treatment room where I was asked to lie on my left side on a bed which had sides on (to prevent escape ha ha) and the procedure started. Boy oh boy, the pain I experienced was terrible cramping all over my abdomen like I had never experienced before (even child birth wasn't as bad as this). The nurses kept reassuring me and asking me to take deep slow breaths but this did not help and eventually having been unable to cope with it anymore, the doctor agreed to stop but did take two biopsies. However, because it was too painful for me to allow him to go any further, he said he was 20cm short of where he wanted to see. Now heres the question. Why on earth don't they just put the patient under total sedation? This way no pain is caused to them, the doctor can look at the area he needs to see and all in all, every one happy. It seems a waste of time to me to put people through such agony when there is a simple solution. The doctor is unable to perform a full examination because it is too painful for the patient so its not cost effective, its cruel and its a waste of everyones time!

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  • Benny Blanco Benny Blanco

    Sedation doesnt stop the pain it just makes you too out of it to care. Usually a Sigmoidoscopy is not painful in the slightest smile

    • katherine02348 katherine02348 Benny Blanco

      I had a flexi sig on the NHS UK yesterday. Have had 3 kids, one with no pain releif at all as too fast and many operations. I would say that it is quite painful. With me they went to about 70 cms which I think is quite far and I was on the table for about 30 mins. I used gas and air which enabled me to cope. I think other people not used to pain would have cried out with pain. I had a polyp removed and this in itself does not hurt. I was commended for being brave. When I told the nurse before about some of the posts here she was not surprised, which alarmed me! She said it is the air pressure which hurts. 30 hours on I still have some pain. I could not fault my NHS hospital in Newcastle as I was taken into a ward, given tea and a sandwich and not allowed to leave till I felt Ok ish. I was there 3 hours. The pain is like IBS and quite bad at the moment. So if a nurse whose job it is to only to faciliate sigmoidocospies is not surprised at the posts here talking about excruicating pain, I think it is very painful for some people. The pain is like pressure and sharp, too.

    • sunbr sunbr Benny Blanco

      I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy earlier this week. Having come across this page while looking for more information about it, I was incredibly nervous going to the hospital as I was expecting it to be very painful. It wasn't at all, it was a bit uncomfortable, but I was sedated and fairly oblivious to it. I wanted to share this so that anyone else who stumbles across this page knows that it's not guaranteed to be painful!

    • a82019 a82019 sunbr

      Lucky you! I had this procedure this morning and asked for sedation, which was refused. I was told categorically it wasn't painful, which the majority wasn't. However it was hellishly uncomfortable and I am now in a lot of discomfort/mild pain.

    • joe10258 joe10258 a82019

      I had a sigmoidoscopy in 2000, and will NEVER have another or a colonoscopy.  Clearly barbaric.  I have no family history and no symptoms, so I will take my chances.  I am not only avoiding the torture, but the risks of perforation, dirty colonoscopes (as the scopes cannot be disinfected reliably, so it is risk equal to any unprotected anal penetration by a device that is used repeatedly among many people), memory issues related to medications used, rupture of the spleen (from looping), and the list goes on.  Since the procedures are done on an outpatient basis, and often the problems are discovered after the patients are discharged home, they are NEVER linked to the procedure.  The actual "untoward events" are actually far higher that the numbers claimed.  When propofol for total sedation is used, the doctors go VERY fast to complete more procedures which naturally increases the risk of perforation and splenic avulsons.

  • Guest Guest

    I have had this same experience - twice now. In ten years I'd hoped that things might have improved. The first time I was given an anaesthetic and the procedure was completed. Last week I could only have gas and air and despite being almost out of it on a high I could not stop screaming! I've never experienced pain like this in any other way.

    Anyone who thinks you could possibly be so out of it you don't care has obviously not experienced this pain.

    I feel really angry about it and may not return for the barium enema I'm told I must have now since they could not examine the full length required. It is absolutely disgraceful to treat people this way - nothing short of torture!

  • Guest Guest

    I went for a flexible sigmoidoscopy yesterday - it was at short notice ( I was offered a late cancellation). I hadn't time to receive the information about it so had looked up several articles online - all describing discomfort & cramps- but unfortunately I hadn't found this site.

    The nursing staff were lovely; the procedure worse than I'd ever imagined. I've had 4 children & managed with gas & air & breathing. I couldn't manage this at all.

    I think at the beginning of the procedure it was just very uncomfortable as expected but it then became very painful.

    When the scope wouldn't get round 1 of the corners ( though she didn't explain that at the time) she got me to move from my left side to right side & onto my back & then back onto my side and then they asked me to rate the pain on a scale of 1-10 (about 9 I reckoned - I really wasn't with it by then); took some of the air out (reducing the pain to about 6); said I was tachycardic and then I guess decided to give up. I had to stay in the recovery ward for a couple of hours - severe stomachpains & very nauseous. Finally got home & had to lie down for the rest of the day. Today I still feel unwell & am seriously concerned about the barium enema scheduled for 3 weeks time as all the medical staff told me that it would be worse than the flexible sigmoidoscopy.

    I think I would have felt the pain/feeling so ill was worthwhile if they'd managed to complete the procedure but to go through all of that & then only have a limited procedure carried out with the warning that you might have to come back again isn't good sad .

    The doctor also made me feel as though I was at fault in some way -I think her words afterwards were something on the lines that she'd been doing this for x years & this was the first time she'd only been able to do a limited procedure. I asked if sedation might have helped but she said not necessarily - so if they do the procedure again what are they going to give me?

  • Jane1962 Jane1962

    Hi Everyone,

    I had one after having 2 colonoscopies, for which I had sedation and didn't feel much pain at all, but these where performed at a different hospital. When I moved I had to go to a different hospital and when I got the appointment I thought it was funny that I didn't have to have any stuff beforehand to empty my bowel like before and when I got to the hospital I found it was for a flexible sigmoidascope. the staff didn't even give me an enema and the pain was dreadful - had a fan on me as I kept getting panicy and afterwards I felt so bloated and could have f***ed and blown myself home on the wind!!! Thankfully I was discharged and have not had to had anything else done.

    I think they should give some form of pain relief as not everyone is the same and this can be a very painful experience and also not a pleasant thing to go see a dr about in the first place.

    Hope they do something about it soon for all you sufferers out there.

    Jane

    • Dor Dor Jane1962

      Nothing seems to have improved as I had the nightmare of having a flexible sigmoidoscopy yesterday and it was excrutiatingly painful.  The staff were busy and barely 10 minutes following the procedure and a cup of tea and toast I was pushed to get dressed and leave although I was still in extreme pain.  I got dressed in the loo and let go of masses of wind but also had diarrhoea.  The nurse came over 3 times while I was in the loo to ask what I was doing and shouted that I had

      diarrhoea.  "Are you dressed you"? she shouted through the door and I said yes but was so upset as the pain was awful.  I had to finish my cup of tea in the waiting room before I left as they were so busy and did not care about how I was.  I may need more investigations but I know a barium enema is not so painful, just messy and would have that anytime over this. 

  • vali1 vali1

    I havehad a flexible sigmoidoscopy 2 days ago, in an NHS hospital. The main reason to have it was to examine my haemorrhoids. I had no sedation however when the surgeon saw my prolapsed haemorrhoids, he applied an anaesthetic gel. The procedure itself was more painful than I had anticipated. The air they used to inflate my colon and the liquid they used at some point to rinse it created a tremendous pressure that I’ve felt in my lower abdomen, it brought me into tears at some point. The unpleasant experience was not improved by some inappropriate and idiotic comments made by a second man who was sitting in the procedure room with no apparent purpose other than to chat to the surgeon who was carrying out the procedure. At some point the man said to the surgeon “you look like having too much fun there... this looks like some kind of prostitution”. I didn’t hear any reply to those comments. The nurse was decent and encouraged me to breathe deeply and stay relaxed.

    Although I expected to have my haemorrhoids banded during the procedure, I didn’t notice the surgeon doing any of that. Everyone was preparing to leave behaving in the typical mood one has in the end of a working day. As I was pulled out of the procedure room in the trolley I’ve asked the nurse if it was normal to still feel abdominal pressure and pain. She answered affirmatively and said that I needed to “pass wind”. The next moment she left me in the hands of a man who continued to roll me to the changing room and then he left hesitantly after giving me an uncertain look. With my colon filled with the air and the liquid that was introduced during the procedure, I went to the toilet and did what the nurse had advised me to do. Once I had that done, I felt much better. Some minutes later a nurse brought me some papers with the sigmoidoscopy results and asked me to call a phone number to arrange an appointment. Looking at the results I was surprised to read: “Intermittent bleeding and fourth degree haemorrhoids noted. Too swollen and painful for banding.” This explained why the surgeon ended the procedure without any haemorrhoid treatment, which was the main point of the sigmoidoscopy.

    The most pain for me though was only about to begin, 15-20 minutes after the procedure when the local anaesthetic faded away. Seemingly the surgeon couldn’t avoid hurting my prolapsed haemorrhoids while operating the device during the sigmoidoscopy. The stingy pain persists to the present moment as I type this, two days after the procedure. Last night I mostly didn’t sleep because of the pain.

    Yesterday I’ve called for the next appointment which unfortunately couldn’t have been arranged sooner than mid March that’s in a month and a half time. I am frustrated to have to wait so long and right now in a great deal of pain. I also have a job interview to attend in a week and I feel anxious not to miss it due to my pain, I can hardly walk right now.

    If you have to do a sigmoidoscopy, I wish you the best of luck. It will be rather unpleasant but you’ll be fine immediately afterwards. If you are in a similar with me unlucky position to need haemorrhoids treatment, then I deeply empathise with you and I wish you get the right treatment for you and get the best results in the end.

  • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor

    Hi,

    Anybody who says this procedure is just uncomfortable, clearly hs never had one done.

    I have had two, the first one around 3 years ago, was so painful that I literally screamed for him to stop, the doctor kept saying he knows its not nice, but he just had to get around the top bend in my colon and needed more air. By tis point I was digging my fingernails so hard into the poor nurses hand and sweat ws running down my face and chest, I was at the point of complete collapse, in fact I would go so far as saying that for anybody who had a heart condition, this was enough to cause them to have a heart attack.

    There is no exaggeration here, it is the worst pain I have ever endured and cannot imagine why patients are not put out for this procedure,

    ~Worst of all last year My GP said I had to have another one done as conditon getting worse, I told her NO but she assured me that this time it wouldnt be so bad as only the very lower portion would need air to expand it. WELL IT WAS HELL FOR THE SECOND TIME... and the worse thing was IT WAS THE SAME Massocistic doctor performing it.... again he made me feel I was a baby, and this time I shouted to him, had he had one of these procedures performed, he said no.. and I told him he then didnt have a clue.

    I still have the same problens but I would NEVER EVER GO THROUGH THIS PROCEURE AGAIN. and pity anybody who everhas to....

    • andrea7412 andrea7412 NHS Survivor

      "Anybody who says this procedure is just uncomfortable, clearly hs never had one done."

      This is very dishonest to say. How can you dismiss the experience of others so easily and claim to be the only one who deserves to be believed? You are among the few who find this test painful. Do not generalize your own experience. 

  • sarebear35 sarebear35

    I had this done yesterday under sedation......what can I say it was very very painful.....because I was sedated I did not really know what was happening but I can tell you now I felt the pain...on a scale of 1-10 I would say it is 8-9. Today my insides feel very sore and achy... I am not sure whether this is normal or not has any one else had symptoms the next day?

  • helen202 helen202

    Ok, it really isn't that bad. I had a rigid sig at my doctors which was much more uncomfortable that the flexi sig. After reading these posts, I was concerned about the procedure as I am a total wimp when it comes to anything. It is standard to be given gas and air which is brilliant, this total relaxes you. It isn't great when they blow air in, but this is because it makes you want to go to the toilet, this passes and a few deep breathes on the gas and air and you are fine. It was over in 10 minutes, which sounds like a lot but it isn't when you are out of it on gas and air. I had two polyps removed and went home after a sandwich and a cup of tea afterwards. Seriously it really isn't painful, it just makes you have a real urge to go to the toilet, which passes. Personally having a blood test or injection is much worse.

    • Tootsie roll Tootsie roll helen202

      I had a ridgid sigmoidoscopy this am, and after reading all these posts, I was so scared. I didn't sleep all night and cried all morning. I have a low pain tolerance, and I was scared, but I also knew that I had to bite the bullet and go through with the procedure. Anyway, I was given nothing drug wise, and I was fortunate to have a gentle Dr. I layed on my left side, they inserted some spreader, (not comfortable) blew in some air, I concentrated on breathing, which really helped, and they inserted the scope, did their thing and there was only mild pain and cramping. I have had worse period cramps than this. It was a walk in the park, and I am the biggest wimp going. In 10-15 it was done and I was freaking out about nothing! I have endured a double contrast barium enema, and that was super painful. So please don't be afraid. Everyone has different experiences and they are not all bad

    • Dor Dor Tootsie roll

      Hi you were fortunate with a rigid sigmoidoscopy but it only goes into the rectum not further up like the flexible. The pain with the flexible comes with the bends in the colon further up and believe me it is excruciating! Sedation did nothing for me and gas and air was no option at my hospital, also I since found out that my condition of diverticulitis makes the procedure even more painful and would opt to be knocked out if I need a flexible sig or colonoscopy (also very painful) in future.

      I think you were really fortunate to get the rigid sigmoidoscopy.

    • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor Dor

      Hi, I didnt have a rigid one, I had the flexible one and it was hell.

      If you can find any hospital that will Knock you out as you call it for a signoidoscopy you will be lucky,  I havent heard of one that does this, at best in a very very few sedation may be given but anyone who has had this says it does not alleviate the pain.l

       

    • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor Dor

      Hi again,

      Nowhere in my post have I ever said I had a rigid sigmoidoscopy,  mine went around the bends and I never had gas and air or sedation,   I would NEVER HAVE ANOTEHR,  HAD TWO AND THEY WERE EQUALLY AS BAD....

      I think the only way one may get knocked out - is to have this done privately at around £2000 but even then I am not sure they actually knock you out as you call it.

    • Dor Dor NHS Survivor

      Hi I replied to someone called Tootsie roll about HER rigid sigmoidoscopy.NHS Survivor I am really sorry you had such a difficult and distressing time with the flexible one as I did. I live in Scotland and a friend is a scope nurse who advised that should I need another I can get it with a short acting aneasthetic which allows you to be unaware when the procedure is being done.  It is not advertised as everyone would want it. It is the only way I would let anyone near me with a scope! I think areas differ.

    • Dor Dor NHS Survivor

      It looks as if it well to Toostie Roll 5 hours ago.  There must be an error with the web page as there is nothing on a reply from me to you on this site except to say I had replied to the person named Tootsie roll..  I would not have replied to you as I did not see it on the page. I am sorry for the misunderstanding.  We have both had very painful procedures.

    • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor Tootsie roll

      I had to comment on your post as I would hate people to listen to your description as a walk in the park for these procedures.   If yous was, indeed you were one of the very FEW  lucky one. but for the majority of us, it is the worst  pain ever.

      Also I read that people are being offered SEDATION and Gas and Air,  Well I quizzed my GP after the first EXCRUTIATING one i had done as to could I get this done anywhere to be offered this and she said no, that the people carryhing out these procedures always claim they are a little uncomfortable for nothing more.

      Absolute Rubbish,   I had to endure a second one of these and was telling him to stop that I couldnt take any more,  I was dripping with sweat,  the nurse was holding my hand and my fingernails were digging in.   It reached a point when I demanded he STOP, and at that point he did.    If only these doctors  who carry out these things, actually had to experience it themselves,  I KNOW they would be more sympathetic.

      AFter the procedures,  I had to drive home,  was never warned of the terrible pain that came in spasms folllowing this, and 4 times I had to slam brakes on as was bent double,   I got home and my husband thought I had been in an accident as was bent over to try and help pain, the only relief I got was to bend and lie my chest flat on the kitchen table and stay in this position.  It took a long time before I could move properly again.

      Please.... anyone having to go through this, please believe that there are only a few who claim it was painless and just a bit uncomfortable,  but the majority of us would rather give birth to baby elephant than go through it again.

      I just wish someone had warned me.    I had to have a third done recently, but I refused,  I said no way.... and they did a CT colonoscopy, still with air, but was indeed 'a walk in the park' compared to the TORTURE I experience twice at the hands of the Sadist of a Dr. who preformed it.

  • sally201 sally201

    I had flexi sig today, after 2 home births (2nd baby nearly 10lb) with no need for pain relief I was not prepared for how horrible this would feel. I was okay at first, relaxed, but I think I may have been more tricky (maybe anatomically?) than some patients as 20 minutes after starting they hadn't even got as far as they eventually wanted to, with trying to get around the 'loops'. It got more uncomfortable as it went along, then it just felt so bad and I had to take the Entonox I was offered. The staff were wonderful, I wasn't scared of the procedure at all and was very keen to see it on the screen, but my flexi sig had to be abandoned because shortly after starting Entonox I almost passed out with the feeling/pain and my saturations dropped and they gave me oxygen for about half an hour.

    Afterwards I was pretty uncomfortable with loads of gas and right shoulder pain which took a couple of good 'releases' before it reduced.

    I'm glad it was easy for some people but if I have to have it repeated (due to it not being completed) I will take the conscious sedation!

  • Cococat Cococat

    I am so happy to have read these posts. I had a flexi sig a couple of days ago. They told me they don't use sedation because it's not a painful procedure. WRONG! I was absolutely horrified. The pumping in of the air was the worst thing. It was like I was giving birth to a stomach full of broken glass. I nearly wrenched the nurse's hand off! They told me to look at the screen and tried to get me to take an interest, but I was concentrating on just staying alive!. Never will I have another! They found a polyp, so I'm having a colonoscopy tomorrow, but that doesn't fase me cos I've had one of those before and they sedate you. Why the hell they can't give you at least gas and air for a sig, God only knows. I left thinking there must be something dreadfully wrong with me because normally this is a 'painless procedure'. Now I know I'm not alone.

  • n54889 n54889 Guest

    I WANT EVERYONE WHO IS GOING TO HAVE THIS TO KNOW THE TRUTH.  I HAD ONE DONE THIS MORNING.  I WAS ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED, HAVING READ ALL THE 'PAINFUL' COMMENTS, I WAS EXPECTING IT TO BE AWFUL.  I WAS WORRIED IT WOULD GIVE ME HEART ATTACK, THAT IT WOULD PERFORATE BOWEL.  THESE THINGS JUST NEVER HAPPEN.  BUT I WAS WORRIED ABOUT PAIN.  IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE, NOT PAINFUL.  THE MAIN REASON IT FEELS UNCOMFORTABLE IS BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS.  I PROMISE YOU, IT'S NOT PAINFUL AND YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS.  WHEN I SAW PEOPLE ON THESE FORUMS A FEW WEEKS AGO SAYING THE SAME AS ME - THATS IT'S NOT PAINFUL - I DID NOT BELIEVE THEM, THINKING THEY WERE ONLY BEING NICE.  SO PLEASE BELIEVE ME SINCERELY.  THIS DOES NOT HURT.  IT FEELS WEIRD.  FUNNY STRANGE WEIRD.  YOU CAN SEE YOUR BOWELS ON SCREEN, WHICH IS SUPER INTERESTING.  THE WEIRDEST PART WAS THE ENEMA WHICH WASN'T EVEN THAT S***TY TO BE HONEST (PARDON THE PUN), WHICH JUST FELT CHALLENGING TO HOLD YOUR GUTS FOR A FEW MINUTES.  AGAIN, NOT PAINFUL.  BUT THE PROCEDURE ITSELF IT TOTALLY WORTH IT.  I WAS TOLD I DIDN'T NEED IT, AND I PUSHED FOR IT ANYWAY.  A FEW DAYS BEFORE IT, I STARTED SAYING 'SHOULD I CANCEL IT?  I'M SCARED!' BUT IT TAKES LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES AND I PROMISE YOU, YOU WALK AWAY WITH TOTAL PEACE OF MIND.  NOT JUST THAT YOU'RE FINE, BUT THAT FOR TEN YEARS YOU'RE FINE.  IT IS PRICELESS.  REMEMBER THE VAST MAJORITY HAVING THESE TESTS HAVE NOTHING WRONG AND IT IS PRECAUTION.  TOTALLY WORTH IT FOR THE PEACE OF MIND.  MORE INTERESTING THAN SCARY, IT'S A VERY INTERESTING EXPERIENCE.  YOU LAY DOWN ON LEFT, AND SURGEON SAYS 'ARE YOU READY?' AND JUST STICKS SOMETHING UP YOUR BUTT.  IT'S COOL.  IMAGINE YOU LIKE TAKING IT THAT WAY (IF YOU'RE INTO THAT) AND IT'S PRETTY ENJOYABLE.  THEN JUST KEEP LAUGHING.  IMAGINE YOU'RE KIM KARDASHIAN.  SERIOUSLY WHEN YOU ARE HAVING IT DONE, JUST IMAGINE YOU ARE LYING THERE AND YOU ARE HAVING A RAY-J-OSCOPY.  BUT SERIOUSLY GUYS AND GIRLS... PLEASE DO NOT EVER HAVE A SLEEPLESS NIGHT.  THIS IS TOTALLY A FASCINATING EXPERIENCE, NOT AT ALL PAINFUL, AND THE PEACE OF MIND AFTER IS SUCH A GREAT FEELING.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL, WISHING YOU ALL GOOD HEALTH.  REMEMBER, IF ANYTHING IN ANYONE IS EVER FOUND YOU ARE IN THE VERY BEST PLACE!!!  BUT VERY VERY VERY RARELY IS ANYTHING USUALLY FOUND.  PEACE OF MIND IS A GREAT THING, AND IT STOPS ANXIETY WHICH IS THE CAUSE OF MANY PROBLEMS.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

    • Dor Dor n54889

      You were very lucky, as the majority posted here and me had a shocking experience when having this procedure performed.  Even with sedation I was in excrutiating pain.  I had no biopsies or haemorrhoid removal but the Specialist nurse was rough and heavy handed and performed it really fast which I think made it worse.  I seriously think a short lasting anaesthetic ought to be given to avoid patient distress.

    • TheLifeOfBrian TheLifeOfBrian n54889

      Hi, I'm really glad you shared your experience and hope it does offer people peace of mind.

      However, it's unfair to 'promise' people that it will not hurt. The only promise you can make is that it did not hurt YOU.

      Imagine the most traumatic experience of your life.

      Now imagine someone dismissing it by saying it's not true.

      I really appreciate that this procedure was not painful for YOU and I am glad about that. However for some people it is really very painful and what they need is the TRUTH that some people find it painful and therefore they should consider ways to avoid experiencing that for themselves.

      Also, this procedure takes around twenty minutes and, from the start of the movieprep, more like 13 hours, so that is also misleading.

      Wishing you continued good health x

    • cheryl63691 cheryl63691 n54889

      I think everyone is different and should keep an open mind if having to have one.

      my attitude is that anything that invasive is likely to be uncomfortable but I have to agree with most of the posts to say mine was painful.

      i thought I had a high tolerance to pain as I have had pancreatitis so this flexible sigmoidoscopy was a surprise.

      although overall quite a quick procedure,the pain came from me when they put the air in and probed further which was at the end of the test.

      fortunatley everything is fine for me,but you need to acknowledge that if there are problems there is likely to be pain!

      the trapped wind afterwards was painful too....be prepared for that everyone...and buy yourself a kite!

    • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor n54889

      I am quite shocked by your statements here,  and hope that you realise that your experience is the exception and not the norm.

      These procedures are terriblly painful for majority of the people who have to endure them, and I just hope that anyone haveing to go through this, and reading your post is not lulled into a false sence  of security.

      These procedures should NEVER be carried out without being knocked out, the pain is horrendous to the point of some people almost fainting.

      I have to have Endoscopies every years down my throat and they would not dream of doing this unless we were 'out of it' and the same should happen the other end.   

      Heaven forbid i am every diagnosed with a serious suspected disease of the colon,  because there is no way in the world that I would go through this procedure again,  I would cause all the trouble I could to be heard that patients need to be allowed to have this done under the same method as via the mouth to the stomach,  I know nothing much of that but we can still follow orders i.e. to swallow when needed to get the tube down etc.

      The flexi Sigmoid tests are EXTREMELY DISTRESSING AND PAINFUL, and I would hate anyone not to realise that its only the few that claim just discomfort.

    • joe10258 joe10258 n54889

      People know what they themselves are feeling.  Perhaps YOU felt no pain, but that doesn't necessarily translate to no one else will either.

      I mean, I live in the US, and bicycled cross country.  Twice.  But I don't believe that everybody can do the same.

      I had a flex sigmoidoscopy some 15 years ago, and I KNOW that I will never have another sigmoidoscopy nor a colonoscopy.  Luckily I have no family history of such cancer, no issues that prompt me seek such attention, and a lifestyle that is pretty healthy (little meat, physically active, etc.).  Yes, I will take my chances, but life is a risk.  I accept that.

    • joe10258 joe10258 n54889

      Well, frankly, I have NO idea what was used to perform a sigmoidoscopy on me.  My imagination tells me that they shoved a small rodent with sharp little claws up there.  That little rodent then spent the next several hours scurrying around and around and around and around.  Until it could FINALLY find its way out.  Totally painless???   Read those last couple of sentences again, and just imagine it happening to you.  Not everyone has the same sensation, but that is honestly what it felt like to me. 

      If that is not painful for you, then that's fine, but I will take my chances and totally avoid anything like that happening to me.

    • andrea7412 andrea7412 Dor

      "You were very lucky, as the majority posted here and me had a shocking experience"

      The fact that the majority of people who post HERE describe a painful experience does not mean that sigmoidoscopy is a painful procedure, in general. It isn't indeed. People are more prone to talk about their bad experiences than the good ones. What really annoys me about this forum is that it seems you enjoy scaring people. 

    • erick96818 erick96818 n54889

      Hello,

      Reading all these post are very frightening! I'm due for a sigmoidoscopy next week, and I'm terrified! I suffer from extreme anxiety . I have been experiencing pain in my rectum for about a year , giving the impression of possible a fissure or hemorroids. I want to feel positive that it'll be ok . This is the reason I'm responding to your post . I'm aware that people's tolerance of pain varies . I'm very scared but I have to do this . I'm really hoping based on your experience that mine as well , will be a good one .

    • TheLifeOfBrian TheLifeOfBrian erick96818

      Hi Erik

      even though I found it painful, I know two friends who say it wasn't painful at all.

      However, if I had to have it done again, I would refuse the movieprep and ask for an enema as I think that, in itself, is a terrible experience which left me in pain, and I would definitely ask for sedation.

      Good luck, and let us know how you get on

    • jane06268 jane06268 n54889

      just read your article im due for a flexi sig today 6pm in regard too ibs and bloated stomach, all blood tests normal, stool test ulcerated colitis and chrons, no passing blood no pain,but  i have got so wound up til i read this, i was seriously thinking, of heading for the nearest train track(mh problems)i just hope to god its not cancer,bit at ease after reading this thanks

    • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor n54889

      Your experience was defo not the norm.... entries like yours mislead patients who are due to go for these,  majority of people including myself who undergo these dont think its at all funny,  are in EXCRUTIATING pain and say to themselves never again. 

      So please before you spout on as you have, you are lulling people into false security..... You were just a lucky one seemingly but most intestines of normal people go through quite awful pain, compared by many as worse than child birth.

       

    • andy 62876 andy 62876 jane06268

      Hi Jane, I had my flexi in January after months of weird and inexplicable symptoms linked to IBS. I'd had bloating, cramps, noises in the night etc beforehand but this bout came on like a train crash but also presented new worrying symptons like a sense of fullness in the back passage. I am prone to health anxiety and googling myself into terminal illness and worried myself sick about cancer. Your stool test suggests all your sysymptoms are totally explicable by what they've found already. All I can say is that I've had two endoscopies and a sigmoidoscopy and each time been amazed at how symptoms have almost magically cleared up once I've been reassured nothing is wrong (for the first endo strong antacids also helped!) My point is, I think our brain and anxiety does have a strong hold on body symptoms....IBS can erupt from time to time but the anxiety it causes fuels the symptoms.

    • joe10258 joe10258 andrea7412

      No, I do not enjoy scaring people.  But I think that doctors enjoy lying to people after what I experienced.  Some have pain, and some do not have pain.  But being dishonest about the possibility of pain deters me from ever agreeing to a procedure like this, especially when I have no symptoms other than age.

  • TheLifeOfBrian TheLifeOfBrian Guest

    Hi

    firstly, on reading through the replies here I think it's worth noting that to say that this procedure *is* or *is not* painful is nonsense. All anyone can do is post their own experience and hope that others will show respect and not be dismissive.

    For those whose sigmoidoscopies went well, I am really very pleased for you and, given that all of the leaflets and advice is that the procedure isn't painful, it certainly gives hope that anyone else waiting for this shouldn't have anything to worry about smile

    When I was told I needed this I was asked during my consultation if I wanted sedation. As I was being repeatedly told that the procedure isn't painful, I declined.

    Two lovely ladies that I work with have both had it done and neither experienced any pain whatsoever, which made me feel really confident about the procedure being simple and pain free.

    I had read up on forums and could see that some people experienced pain and, I'll be honest, I thought the posters were drama queens and maybe a bit of crank, because I was so assured that it was painless. Which makes my posting this difficult, because I am sure some people reading it will think I am a drama queen or a bit of a crank!

    On the day of the procedure I walked down to the room with a nurse and, again, was offered sedation, which I refused. Why would anyone need sedation for a pain free procedure?

    The nurse then said that they would give me gas & air. It was at this point I realised that, despite all assurances to the contrary, this procedure was not going to a walk in the park.

    I have given birth twice and pride myself in the fact that my son was born in two hours and my daughter in one hour- and that's from the START of labour. Yes, it was painful, but I coped on gas & air, so I don't count myself a person with a low pain threshold or someone who likes to create a drama where one doesn't exist.

    To be offered gas & air was confusing.

    However, the nurse told me to take ten breaths on the gas & air before the consultant was even ready to begin. The consultant 'corrected' her and said I needed to take at least fifteen breaths before he began.

    Despite the fact I was feeling confident that the procedure would be painless and despite the fact I was high on gas & air, this was extremely painful. Enough to make me cry and cry out. At one point the consultant paused until I could stop crying out.

    I don't know what the cause of the pain was. The pain was not for the whole twenty minutes, but at certain points, so I don't know if it was he hit a bend in the bowel or what, but it hurt like hell.

    I am more upset that it hurt after being assured it would not, and the girls I work with insist that they did not have sedation and they had no pain. The only difference that they seem to have in their procedure is that they were on a moving table that tilted and I was not. I don’t know if that makes such a marked difference in the reduction of pain experienced, but surely if it did then the powers that be would have cottoned on to that and we’d all have magical tilty tables.

    Another important thing to note is the hell of the movieprep. I started to drink this at 5pm as instructed and, going by the leaflet, expected it all to be over by 11pm. However, the ‘movement’ began at around 8pm didn’t end until around 5:30am, meaning I had no sleep at all. By 11pm it was like shards of glass ripping me open and I was bleeding, so for 6 ½ hours I was in a lot of pain every time I went to the loo. THIS you are not warned about. On the day of the procedure another lady was having the same thing done, but she hadn’t taken her movieprep (not her fault) so the hospital gave her an enema, which was all over in an hour. I wish I had been given the choice of an enema rather than having to go through so much with the movieprep.

    From the start of taking the movieprep, which is also a thick salty vile thing to drink that makes you baulk, to the moment the scope was removed was the worst and most traumatic experience of my life- and that includes childbirth.

    I am upset with myself I feel there is something mentally wrong with me to experience such extreme pain where other people have had none. I have asked the nurse why I felt such pain, but the answer that ‘everyone is different’ is hardly satisfactory.

    The reason I am posting this is so that anyone reading this BEFORE their procedure makes the ‘safe’ choice and accepts sedation, and for anyone reading AFTER a painful procedure to know that you’re not alone and others have felt the same pain.

    • Dor Dor TheLifeOfBrian

      I am so sorry to hear someone else had a diabolical situation with flexible sigmoidoscopy.  If it is any consolation I had an enema at home before the procedure and at the hospital I had sedation and was still in absolute agony!  I have been advised recently that it can depend on what bowel condition they find which is crucial to the level of pain.  I have diverticular disease which I knew before the procedure but had no idea that this is one of the conditions which can cause extreme pain.  Had I known this prior to having the sigmoidoscopy I would have asked for sedation which knocks a person out during the awful procedure which has scarred me considerably.  The staff can give strong sedation but the recovery time mucks up the schedule of patients to get through in the day.  So basically at my local hospital numbers of patients through the system is more important than individual patient care.  I was rushed out of the building even though I had diarrhoea after the procudure and was told to get a cup of tea from the cafe!  The cramps were awful after but the worse thing was the actual sigmoidoscopy and apparently it should be stopped if the patient is in extereme pain.  The sedation I had was so little it would not have touched a mouse let alone me and there was no gas and air.  The nurse at my side was lovely but the specialist nurse who did the procedure did not care about me and barely said anything except to tell me where the diverticuli were, which I did not care about one iota as the pain was like a knife twisting inside me.  No way with I have any bowel examination without being knocked out in future.  I too felt a woose taking sedation but I would have asked for heavy duty stuff had I known how bad it would be.  "Life of Brian" in no way were you a woose and neither was I or the others who have posted nightmare scenarios. This is a dreadful procedure for many and if your GP has an idea of your condition they should warn you before having this barbaric procedure performed and as in my case request to be given stronger sedation which makes you unaware of the whole thing - as it can be done!  I hope you are now well and nothing too serious was found, if anything that is the only blessing.  In this day and age patient comfort should come first over hospital targets.

    • Dor Dor TheLifeOfBrian

      Thank you.  I hope neither of us nor others have to go through this in pain again.  At least we are now forewarned as to what to expect and request to be knocked out if we require this or a colonoscopy in future.

      Many best wishes, Dor x 

    • andy 62876 andy 62876 TheLifeOfBrian

      Sorry to hear that, but your experience is not typical. I'd also point out that a lot of people come onto these forums looking for a bit of reassurance about a necessary procedure they are worried about, and may go away reading posts like this feeling like they want to back out - something that in a tiny minority of cases may be the difference in finding something early when its treatable.

      People from the UK also visit this forum and sedation is not an option commonly offered through the NHS - I wasn't even offered gas or air,  and in honesty would not have really needed it.

      Please try to think of the impact long stories of angst might have.

    • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor andy 62876

      YOU WERE JUST VERY LUCKY,  BY POSTING COMENTS LIKE YOU HAVE YOU ARE NOT BEING REALISTIC AS TO THE MAJORITY OF PATIENTS THAT UNDERGO THIS.

      AS A WOMAN I HAVE HAD TO HAVE THIS PROCEDURE 3 TIMES NOW AND CAN SAY WORSE THAN CHILDBIRTH.

      I WAS BEGGING THE DOCTOR TO STOP AS WAS DRIPPING WITH SWEAT AT THE PAIN I HAD TO ENDURE.

      I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT THESE DOCTORS WHO PERFORM THESE TESTS HVE TO FIRST UNDERGO ONE THEMSELVES AND MAYBE THEN THEY WOULD BE MORE RECEPTIVE TO WHAT THEY ARE PUTTING PEOPLE THROUGH, AS MOST OF US HAVE NORMAL BOWELS AND SUFFER A GOOD DEAL AT THIS PROCEDURE.

      SO ANYONE GOING,,, NATURALLY I HOPE YOU ARE IN THE MINORITY OF PATIENTS WHO CAN STAND IT, BUT ALSO BE AWARE YOU PROBABLY WONT BE AND BE LIKE THE REMAINDER OF US NORMAL BOWELLED PEOPLE.....

    • jane06268 jane06268 catgirlshirl.

      Ihad mine done last night 6pm got so upset waiting for this appointment,had it done at nnuh in the uk,took less than ten minutes,offered entonox, didnt need it,bit uncomfotable when they blow in the gas, all that worry for nothing had a flexi sig,watched it all on camera, self enema, 2 hrs before i left for hospital, mine was quick, pain free,and everything came back negative.stomach scan tomorrow,in regards to ibs and bloating.sorry to hear your experience,dont know why that happened. xx

    • joe10258 joe10258 andy 62876

      I can only imagine that andy would prefer to be lied to and be told that no one has any discomfort.  I basically went in for this procedure relaxed and not anticipating anything of discomfort.  Now that I have been lied to, I have no reason to trust any doctor's word.

  • mucklebones mucklebones Guest

    I went for a sigmoidoscopy this morning, I was looking forward to the lead role in my own movie, being told it was possible for some minimal discomfort I had hoped to watch the lot. After about 2 minutes I was shouting for the gas and air, I had some acute bends which did not help but jeeebas I was not expecting that sort of pain. It was really unbearable. I managed with gas and air but there were still some moments of excrutiating pain. Hopefully never again.

    • TheLifeOfBrian TheLifeOfBrian mucklebones

      Sorry to hear about another painful one sad

      Hope they didn't find anything to worry about and you'll never have to go through it again.

      Thanks for sharing your experience, because I really do think it helps others to know they're not alone- or hopefully warn others who are about to have it so they make the wise choice of being sedated.

    • mucklebones mucklebones TheLifeOfBrian

      Thankfully all was normal, although unfortunately the pain I am experiencing is still unexplained. 

      The lady did say that women do tend to have more acute bends which can make it more painful but I also found the position on the bed might have not helped, perhaps lying flatter might have made it easier. I dont know, but I would definitely opt for that if I ever had to experience it again but I would also request gas and air from the word go :D

    • TheLifeOfBrian TheLifeOfBrian mucklebones

      Glad all was normal (though if you're like me, you'll be thinking 'I put myself through that hell for nothing?!' lol)

      Two ladies I know have had it done and said it was pain free. The only difference they have stated is that they were on a bed that tilted throughout the procedure.

      You would think that if a tilty bed made so much difference, everyone would have that, so I don't know if it's just coincidence.

    • NHS Survivor NHS Survivor TheLifeOfBrian

      Think you may find that these two ladies in fact had barium enemas,  I have had both, signoidoscopy and the barium ones, and barium does have one on a tilting table,  to put it crudely a tube is inserted into the rectum and white liquid is pumped into the bowell,  it is by no means as excrutiating as he sigmoidoscopies are.   I was tilted in many different positions allowing the stuff to completely fill my bowell for xrays, a little air only is let in, unlike the torturous Sigmoidoscopies.

  • Rickyhardo Rickyhardo Guest

     I went through a Sigmoidoscopy as a follow up to a colonoscopy where some polyps were nipped off and one large one in my anus removed.

    The colonoscopy wasn't too bad except when they went around the bends or pumped too much air in.  I had no gas etc due to my COPD, but am sure they used some local cream.  The worse part was the previous evenings preparation, having to drink 2 litres of a wallpaper paste type preparation that tasted of orange.  After first mouthful I said this ain't so bad but was gagging after half a glass.

    With the Sigmoidoscopy, a month and a half later, the preparation was just an enema an hour before one set off.  WARNING, give yourself a couple of hours.  I was in the middle of changing into surgery gown when my bowels opened out of the blue (and into the brown).  A very humbling and humiliating feeling but the guy who helped me clean up was a champion.  I even needed to dash into the loo as I was entering the procedure room.  Cut a long story short, the investigation only hurt a bit and then when the camera initially entered. They only had a butcher about 12 inches in and declared me clear and free of polyps.

    Thank you HGH and our fantastic NHS.

    Those of us living in the UK are so fortunate.

  • Julesybear Julesybear Guest

    Hi internet friend - I too had a flexi sig today at an NHS Hospital, I won't lie the pain was bad, sweat was pouring off me and my pulse was 140+, they offered entonox but I wanted to stay in full control to say no, I asked him to pause twice - which he did, but it is certainly the worst pain I have ever experienced and I take pain well, he found a polyp and described my abdominal pain as "probable IBS" I think the pure truth here is it's CHEAPER for a known excruciating procedure to go without proper pain relief, it goes against the patient charter - I would advise anyone to demand proper analgesia minimal - sedation purely makes you drowsy enough to give consent and not care - this is NOT proper decent, or right, I am angry that in 2014 this barbaric behaviour exists - every consultant should go through one of these to realise - this is not to scare anyone - you will get through it but unless we try to change things - they won't change - childbirth much less painful 

    • denise88392 denise88392 Julesybear

      I had a flexi sig yesterday and would rather give birth to twins! I've had three children and only ever needed gas and air before So thought I could cope with  the pain. I Had gas and air but it didn't touch the pain! And watching it on the monitor was like watching a horror movie! I Was told I had extensive diverticulitis and thought this was the reason it was so painful but after reading these posts it's obviously the norm to treat people like this and is cost effective not to sedate them, I'm angry that the Nhs can get away with this. My brother in law in the USA said this procedure should be painless. But they do pay for their health care.

  • Julesybear Julesybear Guest

    Hi internet friend - I too had a flexi sig today at an NHS Hospital, I won't lie the pain was bad, sweat was pouring off me and my pulse was 140+, they offered entonox but I wanted to stay in full control to say no, I asked him to pause twice - which he did, but it is certainly the worst pain I have ever experienced and I take pain well, he found a polyp and described my abdominal pain as "probable IBS" I think the pure truth here is it's CHEAPER for a known excruciating procedure to go without proper pain relief, it goes against the patient charter - I would advise anyone to demand proper analgesia minimal - sedation purely makes you drowsy enough to give consent and not care - this is NOT proper decent, or right, I am angry that in 2014 this barbaric behaviour exists - every consultant should go through one of these to realise - this is not to scare anyone - you will get through it but unless we try to change things - they won't change - childbirth much less painful 

  • brooke22 brooke22 Guest

    I suffered with a lot of pain too. I was told 'slight discomfort' which is a complete understatement!! They said it may be more painful for me because I have a small build. I was told before that I would be able to have gas and air, yet when I requested some form of pain killers the doctor refused. Luckily, when the pain became physically unbarable, he said he had seen all that he needed to see as I have proctitis (Only inflammation of the first six inches of the colon).

    I would definitely agree and say that they should sedate people for this procedure. Does it differ in different hospitals? A relative of mine said she had the option of a general. Unfair!!

  • helen1606 helen1606 Guest

    Have you had a sigmoidoscopy Benny?  I have, and it was excruciating to the point where I was on the verge of passing out.  The experience is different for everybody, so what might not be painful to you is extremely painful for someone else.

    • Mintcake Mintcake helen1606

      I've had a sigmoidoscopy today ...wasn't too anxious as had been reassured it would not be painful. Oh my...it was!! I'm not sure why it is painful for some and not others. The nurse persuaded me not to have sedation and as I have also been through childbirth ( with no pain relief) I thought I would manage a bit of discomfort. This was more than discomfort! So, if you are reading this before having this done, just be prepared that it may be painful for you too. 

  • jeanie58 jeanie58 Guest

    Really sympathetic to all who have had a bad experience. Just had flexi sigmoidoscopy 2 days ago and really traumatised by it. The Moviprep was so disgusting and distressing to try to force it down.Cramps and horribly painful bloating so bad I couldn't sit down because I couldn't bend in the middle! the instructions are total rubbish and it was obvious that if you follow their timing you will be on the loo half the night. I started 2 hours earlier ,3pm, and still not able to go to bed until nearly 1.00am. On the day the nurses were lovely but I insisted on sedation and really glad i did. Wouldn't let them start until I felt OK. Even so very uncomfortable and painful. Have not felt comfortable since. Abdomen is tender, eating sets off crampy griping pains so have only eaten very small meals since. Whenever I eat i feel as if I need the loo only for it to be little tiny watery bits or just wind. Doesn't seem to be improving. I feel much worse than before I had it.Never having anything like this again. The only thing I can say to everyone who has had a really horrific experience is that you should PLEASE COMPLAIN. No one should be "persuaded" not to have sedation and then suffer dreadfully. No one should have to be screaming in pain and having to abandon a test that they need. Staff should do better than this. If no one complains nothing will change. Go to the Patient Advisory and Liason service ( PALS). Every hospital has one or just write to the Chief Executive. If enough patients complain then the way theydo things will have to change.

    • denise88392 denise88392 jeanie58

      I felt traumatised by this procedure aswell which I had to go thro yesterday. At least with child birth you get something at the end of it! I will definitely be complaining about this as no one should have to put up with that amount of pain in this day and age. It's obviously a cheaper option to do just offer gas an air which is useless and there's no recovery time which means that they can cram more patients in!! I'm disgusted and angry as my brother in the USA said it should be a painless procedure!!

       

  • illingn illingn Guest

    I had a sigmoidoscopy today and had a couple of polyps removed.  Yesterday, I read this dicussion which put the fear of god into me until I got down to Guest (in UPPERCASE)!  I stopped reading after that.

    Actually, it wans't that bad.  There were a couple of agonising moments when we had to get around a bed, but a tug on the gas and air and gritting of the teeth were all it took.  The doctor seemed to know exactly when I was going to feel the pain so that helped.

    Anyway, it's an old thread and I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this, but if you are, don't worry, it may be not so bad for you!

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