Colonoscopy - Describe Your Experience

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What is colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables an examiner (usually a gastroenterologist) to evaluate the inside of the colon (large intestine or large bowel). The colonoscope is a four foot long, flexible tube about the thickness of a finger with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then is advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon usually as far as the cecum, which is the first part of the colon.

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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: Lake Lady, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I had my second colonoscopy today. The first was 10 years ago, and showed no polyps, but a little diverticulosis. This was the suggested 10 year exam, and was all clear. The preparation was no picnic. I took 4 Dulcolax with water, and later 64 oz Gatorade with a 328 gm bottle of Miralax dissolved in it. Another 32 oz taken last night, 8 oz at 15 minute intervals, and the rest this morning, also at 15 minute intervals. Chicken and beef broth, Jell-O and ginger ale were the extent of my food. As the bowels began to clear, it rapidly became liquid that made its exit on its own schedule. My advice is to sit on the toilet for about 6 to 8 hours if you don't want to be doing some unpleasant cleanup! After the first few times, switch to a spray bottle of water instead of toilet paper, or you will quickly get a raw backside. Something that has happened this time that did not happen the first time is, since I have gotten home, I have had several incidents of the escaping liquid, including some of the 'stuff' that I had assumed was all cleared out. I am hoping that this was all hiding in my small intestine, and only came through the large intestine after the colonoscopy. I followed the prep instructions exactly, by the way.

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