Colonoscopy - anaesthetic??

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Hi all - I just wondered if anyone had any words of wisdom about colonoscopies? Feeling very apprehensive. Did you have anaesthesia? Any insights very welcome. 
Thank you. Tab x

  • Hi Tab F. I was extremely anxious about my first colonoscopy. I had no need to be. The nursing staff were very understanding and caring and offered me gas and air during the procedure. Take it or ask for it. It works!

    All the best,


  • Hi Tab F,

    I’ve had two colonoscopies, the first one I had sedation and the second one gas and air. Both options worked equally well. Personally, I think the key is good bowel  prep.



  • Hello Maninbath & MicroMaster, having a colonoscopy soon and not allowed anaesthetic so thank you both for telling me about gas and air, be nice to go for a test free of pain, take care.


  • Having had my first one 2 months ago (but sadly won't be my last as having them regularly from now on) have the sedation is my advice. Good luck and care to you.

  • I have had several colonoscopy, and the hard part was always drinking the prep beforehand. With the anaesthetic, both the IV stuff and the gas and air, the actual procedure was really very easy. A little uncomfortable perhaps, but not remotely painful. It's entirely possible you can see the camera's picture while it is happening. It's really quite interesting. I had my most recent one this past weekend, and apart from the nasty taste of the bowel prep, the procedure itself was very simple. I think it will surprise you how much easier it is than you might expect!


  • Hi,  I think everyone's different.   I worked myself up with 'fear of the unknown'  for my first one but was more fearful of the sedation so decided last minute to have entonox (gas and air) only.   For me, that was the right decision as I was able to maintain some level of control and watched the process on the monitor which distracted me.    It wasn't painful, bit uncomfortable but I controlled how much entonox I had.

    The second was through the colostomy and again, entonox was available but I didn't have any pain or discomfort.   The staff are very understanding and will help you through the process whichever way you decide.

    All the best

  • Hi  I just wanted to add that the anaesthesia is just a mild sedative through a cannula in your hand. You are still awake and able to talk and see what’s going on but you’re very ‘relaxed’. After having this you cannot drive yourself home and need to have someone with you for 24 hours afterwards which is not the case with gas and air. 

    Hope it goes well

    Take care

    Karen x

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Hi. 
    I felt anxious too so had the sedation and gas and air. I felt very relaxed and awake however that sedation did the trick. I also had an endoscopy before my op and was told no sedation needed. 

    Having experienced both options I’d go for sedation.

    Like Karen said you can’t drive afterwards 

    I also found the prep the worst.
    Yucky stuff 

    Good luck 


  • When I had my original colonoscopy I wasnt offered anything and it was fine.a little discomfort that was all

    In hospital post op I had ileus so had the camera via my ileostomy.that time I was offered gas and air so felt nothing

    Its really not as bad as you think its going to be.

    As the others say the bowel prep is the worst bit(didnt need it with the ileus that was good)

    All the best


  • Having had several colonoscopies I declined the sedative for the first and second (the latter being a bad move on my part!), but the gas and air offered during the procedure made a lot of difference - better than a large scotch. The pre-procedural sedative was worthwhile. Like others, it is not a painful process but gets uncomfortable when the camera negotiates a bend; that is when the gas and air comes in handy. So many people are having it done that the ward is like a conveyor belt and there is safety in numbers. The small teams who carry out these procedures are experienced and go to great lengths to put you at your ease. Don't feel embarrassed - they have seen it all before. The procedure is most worthwhile and an important step in the diagnosis/treatment plan.

    Yes, the essential bowel prep is perhaps the most difficult part of the procedure because it is an unpleasant taste and takes a few hours to complete, whereas the colonoscopy takes about 15 minutes. Tea and biscuits afterwards and that's it. You might be given a brief summary of the findings (if any) before you leave.