• 16 replies
  • 44 subscribers

I have been told I need to get a colonoscopy.

what are peoples experiences of this and do you have any advice?

I don’t think i’ll be able to get sedated for it as I’ll need to drive myself there and back. Also, I’m not keen on using gas and air as I’m convinced it made me sick when I had it during labour. 

Has anyone had a colonoscopy with just painkillers? 


  • Hi  , personally I’ve never had a colonoscopy, I did have a flexible sigmoidoscopy prior to being diagnosed but this was while I was under anaesthetic when they thought I had an internal ulcer that needed repairing, they ended up taking a biopsy & that’s how I was diagnosed. I know a few people here have mentioned colonoscopies though so I hope someone can advise you further. Just a further thought, does the particular hospital you’re attending offer transport? It would be worth looking into while you’re awaiting your appointment maybe? you could then opt for the sedation. 


  • Hello QuizLover

    I had a colonoscopy under sedation and even then I found it quite 'uncomfortable' as the pamphlet described it.  However, the colorectal consultant I saw afterwards said a bowel can take all sorts of twists and turns resulting in more difficulty for the passage of the camera.  That said, I know people who have had it with just painkillers and have been fine.  But you won't know that until they start.  I would do as Nicola suggests and enquire about transport or if call on a family member or a friend for help.

    Best of luck in getting this sorted out and getting to the root of your problems.

    Irene xx

  • Hi Quizlover

    I've had a few colonoscopies and always had gas and air managing as far as i can without it.  It did make me feel a bit sick on the last one as I went a bit mad with it! They let you lay on a bed afterwards with a cup of tea and biscuit so the effects of the gas and air wear off.  Yes you would need someone to drive you if you were sedated. 

    Sorry no experience of pain killers.  It's not a pleasant experience but i just kept thinking it would soon be over and I'd be able to go home and eat something nice! Worst bit i found was the diet and medication they give you to clear you out! 

    Good luck 


  • Hi,

    I guess it really depends on your body and your tolerance to pain.

    I found them quite uncomfortable BEFORE treatment and downright painful AFTER treatment. 

    The last one I had under "light sedation" the consultant told me they had to stop as I was screaming (which I don't remember). Since, given that experience I've had them under a general.

    I, for myself, wouldn't even contemplate having one using just pain killers for pain management.

    My advice to you would be to discuss your options with the consultant and have a driver to take you and pick you up.

  • Hi,

    I had a colonoscopy with just gas and air and didn't find it painful at all.  I'm a bit squeamish so watching the camera made me feel a bit queasy, although I tried to look on it as interesting.  It feels a bit weird when they're going round corners, but I wouldn't describe it as painful.  I sucked on the gas and air mainly because the nurse was telling me to, I'm not sure I really needed it.

    The bowel prep stuff is pretty gross, although from memory I took one lot the day before the colonoscopy, and the second dose the next morning (I guess the procedure was early afternoon) and I slept fine during the night inbetween ( I was worried I'd be on the loo all night but I wasn't).

    Good luck with everything, this group has been great for me at answering questions and I've found it really useful to understand what to expect.


  • Hi Quiz,

    I hope you can find a ride or some other option! But then, I'm a coward when it comes to pain. I get colonoscopies every 5 years or so and moan relentlessly about it. But with the sedation, it's not really a big deal for me. The prep, as everyone says, is worse.

    Good luck!


  • Completely agree, same for me. I had both ends at same time so endoscopy for upper intestines and colonoscopy. They gave me “light sedation” to start with but apparently I screamed (no recollection of this) and they discovered my intestines were swollen so being obstructive hence the extra unexpected pain they had to give me 3 x the dosage of Fentanyl in order to finish the procedure so the moral of that story is… you might be absolutely fine but I’d rather not find out the hard way. Frankly I’m all up for a good snooze and the poor team who had to hold me down (yes apparently I thought I’d just hop off the table and go and do something else…) plus my screams with a scope down my throat scaring all the poor patients waiting in the corridor (oh god!) means my team  agree with me ha ha! 

    It obviously is entirely dependent on what the scope is for. If it’s because you’re already in pain or somethings up I’d suggest you get sedated. You don’t want to have the procedure abandoned and go through all that bowel prep again! Yikes! 

    The extra sedation I had was easily tolerated and I was ready to go home with my husband after an hour or so.  Good luck and hope all goes well x 

  • Thanks everyone for the comments and advice. Really helpful. I think I will try get transport to and from the hospital so that I can go for the sedation option. I can’t stop thinking about it, just want to get the letter with my date so I know when it is happening and can plan.

  • Hi - there is no way I'd have colonoscopy without sedation!  Even if its a taxi back!  I remember seeing the tumour on the camera during colonoscopy and when afterwards they explained it was most likely cancer I couldn't focus on that but said 'I never want another colonoscopy'.  Don't get me wrong - with sedation the procedure was fine but the whole experience is very stressful.  However I know one lady who says they don't bother her.  I just found the laxative experience beforehand very unpleasant.  My advice - go the route with the least stress to you!

  • Hi. I had a colonoscopy in December and tbh, the worse part was planning the low fibre diet for 5 days beforehand and then taking 2 sachets of laxative to clear the pipes ahead of the surgery (don’t stray far from the toilet!)

    I had it under sedation, felt nothing and had conversations with the doctor whilst it was happening. Don’t be worried about it. My sister in law is about to have one and I’ve said exactly the same to her. Good luck