Gastrografin Enema - Is it painful?

Hi folks

Letter in today booking me in for this procedure on Monday as I'm pencilled in for ileostomy reversal.  I'm really anxious about it as I had an awful experience with the original colonoscopy which discovered my tumour - the tumour was really low down, progression of the investigation was very difficult due to size and positioning of the tumour and I'd been persuaded to go ahead with the procedure without pain relief or sedation as they hadn't expected to find anything (although they intervened with sedation eventually as the pain was dreadful).  The surgeon apologised profusely afterwards but needless to say I'm very wary of any invasive procedure now.

My appointment letter doesn't give me any information other than saying there's no preparation required and it will take around 30 minutes.  No advice on whether I should take a pouch and fresh underwear or pads, although I will do, just in case.  I tried phoning the colorectal nurse today to ask advice but she's not available until next week.  

I'm hoping that some of you kind folks can tell me that it's a walk in the park and to stop being such a woose!

  • Hello BluBlue,

    No, it should not b be painful. When I had one they put a pipe up in side you just far enough  so that they can pump fluid in to your colon. You don't need prep as you haven't been using it. With the fluid in they will take pictures of the join and make sure it isn't leaking.

    My experience was that they didn't explain how much liquid would have to come out.  I was advised to go to the loo at the hospital but after that I left only to find the rest came out while driving home! It might be different where you have yours done but I suggest you take your time after the procedure, take fresh underwear, a pad if you have one and something for the car seat just in case.

    The other thing you might find is that it will flush out odd bits that have been hanging around so don't be surprised if you pass something that you were not expecting.

    Also start doing exercises to strengthen your sphincter muscles now as it will help your control when you have had the reversal. 

    Hope it all goes well, John

  • Hi Blueblue

    I felt exactly the same I had read lots of info and worried about the discomfort after having colonoscopy and endoscopy. 
    it’s a walk in the park. 
    You will lie under the X-ray machine, liquid is put into the bowel by a very fine tube that is insignificant up to what you’ve had done. The tube is taped to stay in place. Then you’re asked to rotate whilst they X-ray you. The images come up on the screen. It’s fascinating. I asked to see them, I could see the dye in my bowel and the join The consultant was kind patient and explained everything. They will want you to try and hold the liquid but it’s not a worry. Afterwards I was given a pad and allowed time to use a private toilet. I spent as long as I needed there I took a small pad for the car but I didn’t need it. 
    I took extra pants, wore dark clothing  some incontinence pants and a cover for the car seat. I also took my spare gear for a change of my pouch but that goes everywhere with me anyway. I didn’t need any of it as they gave me a pad. 
    The radiologist said that if it went into my pouch that was a great sign. It was a clear way. I thought that was funny 

    I hope this helps. 
    Ask away if you have any more questions. 

    Best Wishes

    Artsie Ann 

  • Hi John

    Thanks for your very helpful reply.  It's good to hear a first-hand experience.

    It sounds as though it's a bit undignified (should be used to that lol) but not painful, which is a relief.  I had no idea what to expect and, to be honest, I didn't think that the appointment would come round as quick so was trying not to think about it.  I will turn up fully prepared and just be glad to get it over and done with.

  • Oh Ann, it's good to know that it's a walk in the park.  I get myself in a state every time I see a letter coming in from that hospital.  The nurses are nice but I really didn't like the chap who did the colonoscopy (hope it's not him on Monday). This procedure doesn't seem as bad as I was imagining and, as my daughter says, it's over in 30 minutes.

    I've not totally decided if I want the reversal to be honest but it seems like I'll have plenty time to think about it.  The surgeon told me in December that he was looking at February/March but the cancer nurse who phoned me about blood tests a couple of weeks ago said that she thought that it would be at least 2 years due to the number of folks waiting.  I'm not in any rush.  They should deal with people in pain first.

    Thanks again for the great advice. x

  • Hi

    Like you I was so nervous. I felt I’d had enough of being pulled about and was surprised they pulled me in quickly for that test. But it’s only for the list and I’ve been told Covids making it urgent first. I’m totally in agreement with that.

    I had a radiologist and a nurse. There were two radiographers in the back ground but they weren’t part of the procedure. I asked loads of questions before they started and he was really sweet and informative. He was a consultant in that field. The guy that did the colonoscopy has different skills. So hopefully he’ll be elsewhere.

    Good luck

    .Keep us updated 

    Best Wishes

    Artsie Ann 

  • Hi BlueBlue; you are NOT being a woose. I reiterate all Crankshank has said. I too originally had a colonostomy  had severe adhesions so had an illiostomy. I had lots of painful wind afterwards - a hot water bottle helped plus fizzy drinks which made me burp and eased the painful wind. I have a 'barbie bottom so wind an issue. 

    "don't think about tomorrow"

  • Hi KathH2

    Thanks so much for your reply and encouragement.  I was actually quite ashamed of myself during the colonoscopy as I'd screamed out loud, it was so painful.  Afterwards though, once I'd had a think about it, I was quite annoyed. I'd been persuaded by the staff that it was a simple procedure that most folks tolerated without pain relief or sedation so took them at their word. The consultant told me afterwards that he found the mass during the manual examination at the start and knew that it would be difficult to carry out the colonoscopy easily (if at all), but carried on regardless without warning me or offering me any pain relief. I just wanted to get out of the place afterwards - but it's left me very wary.

    I'm sure now that the procedure on Monday will be better - at least there's no bowel prep solution involved.

    Thanks again. x

  • no need for thanks BlueBlue - I too was in pain during my first colonoscopy  - for me it was because they'd found a malignant tumour the size of a walnuts in my rectum. This was Oct. '11. Be vocal  - I  wrote down lots of questions beforehand so as not to forget. Don't feel embarrassed you've every right to ask questions- it's your body. 

    "don't think about tomorrow"

  • Oh Blueblue

    I wasn’t as brave as you. I said drugs please and it was fine.

    They really should have given you something to relax as they knew it would be uncomfortable.

    When I had the endoscopy photos/measurements and ultra sound although I had no pain I was extremely uncomfortable and took forever. I asked them to stop. It’s all very well them saying it’s fine it’s not their bottoms being rooted about in is it?  
    The gastrografin isn’t so invasive they’re just highlighting your join. 
    Talk to the radiologist and ask lots of questions

    I hope all goes well. 

    Best Wishes

    Artsie Ann 

  • Hi Folks

    Just an update on this.

    Procedure went ahead on Monday and, like you've all said, it was quite painless.  I told the nurse in advance that I was particularly anxious and she put me at ease straight away.  I think she spoke to the radiologist too as he sat me down before he started, pulled a stool right up beside me, and explained exactly what would happen.  Said that I could stop at any point.  They were both SO nice, kind and understanding - such a difference from the colonoscopy experience.  Apart from having some trouble getting the machine to start it was all over and done with in around 5 minutes.  No pain and no embarrassment either. I couldn't see what was happening as there wasn't a patient monitor, but that didn't matter, and I don't know the results as they get reported to the surgeon so we'll wait to see what he says.

    Thanks for all your replies.  It really helped to know roughly what lay ahead rather than imagining the worst. (I'm still a woose thoughWink)