Patient Comments: Colonoscopy - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with a Colonoscopy.

Comment from: BVCGT, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: May 12

I just had my second colonoscopy yesterday. First was 10 years ago, and I swore I would never have another that time. My first was done with 2 rounds of Fleet Phospho-Soda and Versed/fentanyl for a sedative. I felt like I had the worst hangover of my life for 2.5 days post procedure; nausea, headache. I learned that preparation resulted in severe dehydration and the sedative had hangover side effects. I was hopeful that this round with Dulcolax, and Miralax and Gatorade preparation, and propofol sedative would be better. I would say it was better but only marginally. I was told to not eat for 1.5 days before the procedure. Thirty hours of not eating and the effect of the prep resulted in what I believe was extremely low blood sugar and magnified effects of some other medications. I had a psychotic episode for only the second time in my life; the first was after a medical procedure over 40 years ago. I am generally very healthy, on few medicines and have otherwise never experienced anything remotely like this. After the procedure, I had similar hangover effects, but this time they only lasted about 1.5 days. However, I also recognized the problem and drank a lot of Gatorade after the procedure to try to rehydrate. I don't want to scare people off from having a colonoscopy but go into the procedure with your eyes open. The prep is like a nasty case of stomach flu. It will leave you dehydrated, low on salt, electrolytes, and in my case, I believe, blood sugar. Watch your other medicines. You may have taken them for years with no problems, but when your body has been severely impacted by the prep, those 'rare but serious' side effects on the label may rear their ugly heads. The procedure itself is a non-event. By the time you arrive at the facility, you are going to feel so rotten that you will say just do what you need to and get this over with. Propofol works well. I was out quickly and came to quite easily. Just be sure you ask for lidocaine in the IV because it can burn when they inject it. A good anesthesiologist will add lidocaine routinely. I've read blogs about people who leave the facility and go out for a big breakfast or a burger. I have never considered myself a wimp but they are bigger people than me. The ones that say plan on taking it easy for at least a day, in my humble opinion, are much more accurate. Focus on getting your body used to eating again by eating small, light meals and be sure to rehydrate. You will ultimately feel better faster. If possible, give yourself 2 days (day of the procedure and day after). This last time I had a polyp removed about 4 inches into my colon. My discharge instructions said scant bleeding was normal and heavy bleeding was cause for a phone call or a trip to the emergency room. I had bleeding the first 24 hours that certainly wasn't scant but wasn't sure if it qualified for heavy. It appears that mine was not cause of concern but seeing a toilet full of dark red water is very alarming. My advice here is get concrete discharge instructions, not subjective adjective like 'scant' or 'heavy.' I feel exhausted but can't seem to sleep. Not sure what to make of that, perhaps side effect of the propofol. Good luck!

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Comment from: nanno3, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 06

I found it way easier to prepare for colonoscopy; to fast (clear liquids ok but no solids) for three days prior. The preparation solution gave me hives as well as caused me to gag. I would rather just not eat (pretend I'm a movie star prepping for the Oscars!) than feel sick to my stomach. I still drank the nasty stuff but I didn't have to ingest as much. Check with your doctor first if this is ok for you. Also to cut the evil taste of Gatorade I drank sips of black coffee (bitter to counteract the sick sweetness) or sucked on mint/sour hard candies. A candle burning in the bathroom will also lessen the chances of throwing up and dilute the smells.

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Comment from: Gilly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 28

Firstly I am in the U.K. I had my first colonoscopy in 2002 in a private hospital, well sedated, and it wasn't a problem at all, in fact all I remember is waking up when it was over. I went for another in December 2015 at local NHS (National Health Service) hospital. My goodness, the pain! They got as far as the second bend, and I was in agony. They used gas and air and some totally useless sedation. I went in today for a CT colonoscopy, no sedation at all, just vile medication since Sunday to clear me out and add a dye. This was nearly as painful as the colonoscopy, I asked them twice to stop it and they didn't. I'm now traumatized. I've given birth twice without any pain relief, so am no stranger to pain. But this was torture plain and simple. Hospitals need to look at sedation!

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Comment from: Colonoscopy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 18

I had my first colonoscopy today. My preparation was awful to say the least. Just so I don't discourage anyone from getting a colonoscopy I will skip the gross details but I will say to stay away from the Miralax prep. Ask your doctor to prescribe a different prep solution to take because I couldn't even finish my 2nd phase, it made me ill. But I have to say the screening was a breeze. All the nurses were excellent and it was all over pretty much before I realized it began.

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