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I thought I'd post my colonoscopy experience to reassure anyone who is (very understandably!) nervous about the experience. I am a 30 year old female with lower right abdominal pain and had a colonoscopy last Wednesday to try and diagnose the problem. The procedure took place at ********, near Manchester.
I have to say that I don't think I have ever been so frightened about anything in my entire life before. It probably didn't help reading lots of horror stories online but I reasoned that people are far more likely to post about a negative experience than a positive one.
I had to take the Moviprep solution to clear me out as well as 4 senna tablets. I was DREADING this so much! It really wasn't half as bad as I expected, the worst part was drinking the stuff! Like vile, salty, synthetic lemon flavoured water, bleurgh! Mixed it with some orange squash after chilling it in the fridge for a few hours. This was a great tip, def much easier to drink when cold. Had plenty of fizzy soft drinks, clear chicken soup and orange jelly to hand. Hunger wasn't too much of a problem as I was so full from all the liquid I was downing. Best tip I can give for the prep is to have a clear mint ready to suck on quickly after drinking the prep to take the taste away. Buy in plenty of baby bum wipes, put the heating on and get some magazines for when you're on the loo!
No cramping or unpleasant sensations at all. About an hour after the first litre I felt I had to go but with no discomfort. Crude detail (but hey, I'm past any embarrassment on this matter!) when I started to go I didn't even realise it was happening at first! It does literally 'pour out' like water with no pain at all. The sore bum comes from all the wiping instead. This went on for about two hours by which point I was ready for my second litre of the prep. This was a little harder to get down and did make me feel a bit sick but didn't throw up. Again the bowel motions started about an hour later and lasted for about three hours. By this point I was passing what looked like clear water (very bizarre, can only describe as 'weeing out of your bum'!).
I was incredibly relieved when this was all over but by then the panic about the actual procedure had properly set in so I didn't get a wink of sleep at all and spent the entire night watching rubbish tv and shaking. For me, the worst part was the drive to the hospital, I was panicking like mad about soiling myself and the imminent procedure. Got there with no problems despite the non-stop panic attacks!
All the nurses were incredibly kind. I was very nervous that my prep wasn't good enough and I wouldn't be clean. I had some darker (but still all liquid) bowel movements before we left for the hospital which was really concerning me. The nurse reassured me that most likely there would hardly be anything left in my bowel and if there was they would have a little suction device that could remove it. I was still worried about soiling myself as I waited for the procedure but again they were all really kind, said not to worry, if it happens it happens and they'd just get rid of it before I even knew.
A nurse put a needle into my arm for them to put the sedative into and then I was wheeled into the room. There was very little embarrassment factor as the nurses were all so matter of fact. I had had to say that I had really bad piles, the prep hadn't helped this situation much! So they put a little local anasthetic on them so it wouldn't hurt. They gave me some painkiller through the needle port (I believe it was pethidine) and this started to make me feel a little dizzy. They then flushed the port with saline solution (the nurse said this was so they wouldn't waste any of the 'good stuff'!) before giving me the sedative. This starts to work in about three minutes.
I was not asleep at all but felt relaxed. It helped that they played soothing music in the background and had dimmed the lights. I was lucky in that all the people in the room were female which had also put me at ease somewhat. The colonoscopist then inserted a finger into my anus to check that the prep was successful (this made me jump a bit but I can't say that it really hurt). The scope was then inserted. There was no pain at all when this happened. The only point when I felt anything was when she turned a corner and I got a sharp pain which only lasted seconds. I swore loudly but to put it into perspective I was more worried about the swearing than the actual pain and kept apologising to all the staff (the sedative must have been doing it's work by this point!!). When I swore they immediately topped up the sedative.
There were no other moments of pain at all. I was fascinated by the screen and my colonoscopist was great at explaining where the scope was and what was going on. I had four biopsies taken and again this didn't hurt at all. I felt what can only be described as a tiny bubble popping inside me whenever they took the samples. It was all over in half an hour and I was so relieved (not to mention stoned) that I couldn't stop thanking all the staff profusely!!
I had a very high pulse before the procedure (I was described by the nurse checking me as a 'frightened rabbit!) so they left me in bed for half and hour or so and kept checking my blood pressure. I then got up and had a cup of tea. I had no discomfort but a little bit of wind. My boyfriend was then allowed to drive me home and was incredibly entertained by my explosively loud farts all the way home! (Again I thought I would be embarrassed by this but there is no smell as you are empty and the sedative means that you don't really care anyway!). Had a lot of gas and a few trapped wind pains but all was normal and was very glad to be able to eat again.
The next morning I had a perfectly normal bowel motion, and still felt a little groggy from the meds but no complications at all. I know it's very difficult not to get stressed about having this procedure but honestly nowhere near as bad as I imagined it to be at all. I really hope that this will reassure people. Just remember the baby bum wipes!!!!
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