Very painful Sigmoidoscopy

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I had a very painful flexible Sigmoidoscopy yesterday . I was offered gas and air no help at all . 5 years ago I had a colonoscopy with sedation not a problem . I had to stop the Sigmoidoscopy as I could not stand the pain after 10 mins . Never again unless I can have sedation . I now have to back to see the surgeon as it was not completed . Has anyone had this problem , and what happened next . NHS 

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  • Posted

    I had a very painful sigmoidoscopy about 15 yrs ago.  No sedation as it was not seen as needed.  I am in the US.  After it was done and the doctor left the room, the attending nurse that I definitely should have been sedated.

    It was done just for screening at age 50.  I will never go back for another or for a colonoscopy as I don't trust what doctors say.  Luckily, I have no family history of such cancers, and none of the risk factors.   I'll take my chances.  And if anyone tells me I should, then I will just respond that they "should" also have a very active lifestyle, maintain a proper weight, ate lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, to reduce his risk as well.

    I did have a negative Cologuard some 2 yrs ago, though, and that is very accurate (even colonoscopies have a "miss" rate of 12-19% of polyps according to NIH studies).

    I can empathize (and sympathize as I have been through the same!!) with the pain.  Of course, the doctors say it may be just a bit "uncomfortable." 

    Some defend the doctors by saying that it is OK to lie to just get patients in regardless, but what about those like me who basically now TOTALLY mistrust what doctors say without my own research.

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  • Posted

    Hi there.  I had a very painful sigmoidoscopy 2 yrs ago and like you, I had to tell the doctor to stop after about 5 mins as the pain was excruciating.  i thought I would be ok after giving birth to my kids over the years.  I was told that sedation was not needed as it was a minor procedure.  Anyway the test being incomplete, the hospital then sent me an appointment for a colonoscopy which I obviously called and cancelled.  I am now just going to take my chances, never again will I go back for either a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy unless they start doing the procedure by putting patients out completely.  I do sympathise with you though as at the back of your mind there is still the niggling little worry that something might be amiss but at least I am still here 2 yrs later, so fingers crossed.   Hope things go OK for you
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  • Posted

    Hi Catgirlshirt. I am sorry you experienced the awful pain that happens to most people who have a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure. I had sedation and frankly it made no difference to the pain and although screaming for the Practioner Nurse to stop she did not. It was a nightmare and if I was you I would ask for a colonoscopy scan which does not involve probes going into your rectum.  It is a good alternative but it cannot remove and polyps if that is required. I was also told by a scope nurse friend that if you have problems they can sedate you enough so that you are not conscious of having the procedure - ask your doc or specialist. It may depend on where you are located though.
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    • Posted

      Hi thanks for your reply, sounds like u had a nasty experience like me . I live in derbyshire , not sure what I am going to have gone waiting now for letter from my surgeon . Don't think I could go through that again unless I was knocked out . 
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  • Posted

    Hi there again, I too live in Derbyshire and when I had mine 2 yrs ago I had it done at Queens Hospital in Burton on Trent.  As I said in my previous message there is no way I will go back for either a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy unless they knock me out.  I will just take my chances
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  • Posted

    I had a flexible sig yesterday. I was petrified for days before, worrying about it. I worried about the home enema - would I mess that up etc., plus, the blurb that came with the appointment indicated that some people might experience some 'discomfort' during the procedure, and that Entinox (Gas and Air) could be made available upon request. Since I had a hysteroscopy (scope inside the uterus) carried out a year ago at another hospital (Oldham Royal) that left me traumatised - no sedation or gas offered whilst they hoovered out several polyps - I would go for the Sig determined to have the Entinox. After all, Entinox alone had seen me through two natural births in the past - surely it would help with the Sig?

    Firstly, the home enema. I managed to administer OK. It was awkward but not difficult. It took about half an hour before I felt the need to use the toilet. And I went three times in quick succession. A bit of a shock to the system (palpitations and seat) but my bowels were certainly emptied.

    Now on to the hospital, the staff at Rochdale Infirmary were great. Very understanding. I was instructed to start using the Entinox as soon as I got on the table and they didn't start the procedure until I was pretty high on the Gas. I found the initial rectal digital exam to be totally painless, as was the first part of the procedure. But within minutes the 'discomfort' outlined in the blurb (and the pre-procedural chat with staff) turned into something I would describe as severe discomfort i.e. pain. Even though I was sucking in the Gas and panting, my toes were curling and I was gripping the sheets. It felt like the worst, sudden stomach upset ever. God awful cramps and nausea. I broke into a sweat and cried out several times. To their credit the team were very reassuring, soothing and on hand - encouraging me to breathe more Gas etc and I allowed them to continue. Seems the pain is caused by the air they use to inflate the areas and kinks in the bowel as they move the scope along it, but it felt really horrible and painful

    It's a relief at the end when they tell you the scope is on the way out - although the turning of the scope back on itself to look around the rectum was another white-knuckle moment I'd prefer not to experience again. 

    I was so relieved to hear that nothing untoward was found. I would encourage my friends to have it done when they are offered it. And to opt for the Gas... lots of it. As much as they can inhale, both before and during the procedure/ordeal.

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