Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

Having one soon in London does it hurt? What option do we have like being put to sleep etc? And how long does it take

  • Hi Sammy,

    I'd say a colonoscopy was more unpleasant then painful.  I found the worst part was the preparation which can vary but which in my case involoved drinking a massive amount of liquid over the course of 12 hours causing the most chronic diarrohea I've ever had.    This is to clear out the bowels.  The colonoscopy itself took probably about 15 minutes - it was painful as it went around corners - a bit like very bad wind but only lasted for a few minutes at a time.  I think some people are offered the option of a tranquilliser -  I was not and I don't think I needed one.  After the colonoscopy is over there is no pain or discomfort.

    Hope this is helpful to you.

    Good luck.

    Jan x

  • Hi Sammy

    Everything Jan said I agree with,but I was automatically given a mild sedative as I waited for the procedure to start.

    A nurse reassured me and stayed with me throughout holding my hand.The doctor explained it all and made sure I was

    Comfortable.I can honestly say it was ok.

    The cup of tea I had when it was over was lovely!

    Please try to think of it as a way of diagnosing if there is anything wrong,and try not to worry too much.



  • Hi Sammy

    I know the first two replies are reassuring and I don't wish to spoil that and I know that everyone's experiences are different, pain levels etc, but I would have liked to have known some honest truths about it before I had mine done. I have had two - the second one was great - they gave me the maximum sedation and I didn't feel anything. The first one however, was awful for me and that was also with sedation. The reason probably was that I was really anxious, also I had a tumour so it was painful going past that and round the corners and it seemed to last a long time. Now I know that may not be helpful to you, but my advice to anyone who has asked me is if you're anxious, ask for effective levels of sedation. You can also tell them during it if it is painful or too much for you and they can top you up with sedation. Maybe if I give you my unpleasant story, you will feel relieved that yours wasn't bad at all!! At the end of the day, what's most important is that you get the reassurance and results you are hoping for. All the best. Julie xx

  • Hi Sammy

    Reading the others posts i guess it is different for different people.I have had 3 and i was out for the count and did not feel a thing.If doctors ever offer drugs for the "some discomfort" snap them up. Saying "no,no, I will be fine "is not a mistake that i will make twice.

    good luck

  • Hi Sammy, have had two, sedation given when your settled on the examination couch. You should be on your left side during the procedure, I felt a very slight discomfort only.Had a biopsy done during the first one, the second one was to remove 2 polyps (not removed at the time of the biopsy), plus 3 others that had appeared no pain and no after effects. Take the sedation, cougar69

  • Hi Sammy

    I usually have to have endoscopies (down the throat) but a few months ago had to have a colonoscopy as well.  I always ask for (and get) sedation and I would recommend this to everyone, especially if you're apprehensive about the procedure (there's no shame in that!).  When on the couch I was given sedation and pethidine (for pain) and I can say I was entirely relaxed and only felt some mild discomfort as the tube was introduced.  Staff are usually lovely and for me it seemed to be over very quickly.  When you see the nurse who clerks you in, ask for sedation if it isn't offered!

    The day before is not very pleasant - make sure you have a chair outside the loo once you start taking the liquid.  It's worthwhile persevering though because if you don't have a thorough clear out you may not be well enough prepared to have the test.

    You'll be fine and at least you'll have firm news about what's going on inside.

    Good luck.



  • My wife had a colonoscopy last month. The worst part was the laxative she had to drink the day before. She went so frequently to the toilet that she had a very sore behind.  She mentioned this to the doctor doing the procedure and he used local anaesthetic gel on her behind, which apparently worked very well.

    Her report to me afterwards was that there was nothing to the procedure itself and if she needed to have it done again, she wouldn't worry about it. Fortunately, the results came back clear.

  • Re the laxative prep', I would definately recommend you use a cream such as zinc & castor oil or even vaseline as soon as you start going to the loo.  Don't wait until it hurts use it right from the start as you will be going for hours, you will be fine.

  • I know people who have opted out of sedation, but I certainly took what was on offer. The worst part of a colonoscopy is the preparation... for a funny yet fairly accurate view of what that's like, try reading this:

  • Thanks all I am definitely going to ask for sedation.  One thing that is worrying me is that I have read Colonoscopys are dangerous.  This is really concerning me and is making me worried about having it.  Am I allowed to be put completely asleep for it?