Going for a colonoscopy - what's it like?

Due to my misbehaving digestive system, I’m going for a colonoscopy and gastroscopy in a few days. Just wondering, what are they like?

I’ll only be taking the laxative 3 hours before the procedure, at the clinic, so I don’t have to worry about traveling with the effects. I see most people start preparing the day before. Is it normal to start laxative so soon before the procedure? Will I be condensing a day’s worth of purging into 3 hours?

I’ve never been under sedation before. Is there a risk of being conscious but unable to move?

I see on Wikipedia they blow your colon up like a balloon. Does the gas come out during the procedure or will I be farting all the way home?

And how does the camera move? Can it bend by itself, like a snake, or is it like threading a rope through a pipe?

And I don’t have any special instructions for eating the day before. Is that normal?

Don’t know if it’s good or bad that I may be conscious during the procedure, but forget about it.

You’re gonna need a lot more info. Without the 24 hour fast and purge, I really doubt that you’re having a full colonscopy. You’d be STUNNED to know how much (literal) crap the human body holds!

The colonoscopy is NOTHING. You get Valium in the IV, and it’s off to La La Land. Then someone is waking you up. Most of the gas is expelled when the doctor withdraws the scope, but you might toot a little bit. It’s no biggie.

You’ll need someone to drive you home.

If the doctor took biopsies, you’ll probably be advised to “eat light” for the next day or so.

The PREP for a colonscopy is the bad part. You’re fasting and can only drink certain liquids. Jello and broth are okay. Then you swallow the purgative, which is a super-concentrated salt solution. (GAG) You’ll know when it works.

I’ve asked for sedation for the prep, and I’m always called “such a kidder!”

Interesting. I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy in February but also take medication for high blood pressure and follow a low-sodium diet (one packet of ramen soup is about a week’s worth of salt for me). It’ll be interesting to see what happens when I get all that salt in one fell swoop (or they’ll devise something else for the big heave-ho).

You’re in luck, since TPTB recently stickied all the “Ask the…” threads, including two about colonoscopies.

Here and here.

You won’t fart, but you’ll “expel air” not just all way the home, but for a while after that.

There are plenty of low-salt bouillon options; I got a packet of them for my colonoscopy that tasted better than regular. Or you can make your own chicken broth by simmering a chicken carcass for several hours and straining the result.

I don’t think the laxative is a big sodium source. It may taste salty, but the salty flavor comes from chlorine, not sodium.

Also, there are other purging regimens. When I had mine three years ago the prep instructions had me consume a gallon of GoLytely, which has a consistency somewhere between slug slime and snot*. Which prep is most suitable for you is definitely something to discuss with your doctor.

Also, anything red (gelatin, popsicles, etc) is strictly verboten.

*Not that I would know from personal experience.

Regimens differ, and some are nastier than others, but the colonoscopy itself is a non-event. I don’t remember a thing about mine.

I once had a colonoscopy with no valium - nobody was available to pick me up but rescheduling would have added an extra few months to my diagnosis. It was… interesting. Profoundly uncomfortable, I gripped the bars on the side of the bed and gritted my teeth. It also contained the memorable line from a nurse: “please try to relax your anus”. But I did get to watch the screen and see the inside of my butt, which was pretty cool.

No problems at all with the colonoscopy - I’ve had 3 - but that prep! Are you sure they haven’t given you something? Unless you’re totally cleaned out they can’t see anything. I have never had any extra air expelled. Because my dad had colon cancer my insurance company will approve colonoscopies rather than sigmoidoscopy e’s, for which I’m grateful.

They will not perform a colonoscopy unless there is someone who will drive you home. Assholes.

Depends on the hospital and the jurisdiction. After the procedure mentioned above I was allowed to [del]walk[/del] waddle home.

Unlike the gastroscopy for which they gave me Rohypnol and I lost huge chunks of memory for the next three days.

The colonoscopy was not a big deal at all. I was so heavily sedated I barely knew where I was. They checked both ends because I also had bad indigestion nearly every day. They did have a large sign saying that I must have someone with me to drive home. They wouldn’t even allow a taxi home. No driver, No procedure.

What’s difficult is the clean out the night before. I was lucky and they gave me these giant horse pills. I took a handfuls and did my thing. Took another handful. IIRC there was three courses of pills in about six hours. Thankfully I did not have severe cramping or pain. Just a smelly mess. :wink:

I’ve known other people that were given a liquid that had them doubled over with cramps for hours. Lets not even discuss enemas. That would be the absolute worst method. IMHO

Not for a colonoscopy. Your large intestine needs to be clear in order to do the procedure. So you should have received (or will receive) instructions on how to prep for the procedure. That’s really the hardest part. The procedure itself is a snap. Don’t worry about it. You will need someone to drive you to and from the site where the procedure will be done. That’s for your own safety. If you get knocked out for the procedure you may not be fully aware of your surroundings for a while. I remember one time waking up in the recovery area after my colonoscopy. The next thing I remember was being home afterwards!

Yes, we’re in different countries. Twice, in Colorado and in Missouri, I have been refused a colonoscopy because I did not have a ride home.

I’m fairly bewildered as to why medical care here includes kicking one’s ass out of the hospital before one has recovered from the medical procedure, but that’s probably a different topic.

Oh, dear God, GoLytely!

I need to maim, burn, torture, and then kill the inventor of that stuff.

Then I need to maim, burn, torture, kill, and then dig up and do it all again to the idiot who NAMED IT.

I drank and drank that shit. To say it’s awful truly doesn’t do it justice. I got about 2/3 the way through the carton (it’s a ONE GALLON CONTAINER) and then I started to throw it up. I figured it was my body telling me that I HAD ENOUGH.

I told one of the nurses years later when I was getting my instructions for another colonoscopy that I did NOT want the GoLytely. I said, “That stuff makes me vomit.”

She patted my hand gently and said, “Honey, it makes EVERYBODY vomit.”

The liquid purgative, though, isn’t much better. When it was Hubster’s turn to go through the routine, I specifically told him, “Do NOT gulp that crap. Drink it slowly. It tastes absolutely TERRIBLE, but you can NOT gulp it.”

What does he do? Fool tries to chugalug. Then he turned his insides inside-out heaving it all up again.

My last colonscopy was clear: no diverticula, no polyps. My doctor says I get a free ticket for ten years. THANK GOD!

I got Picolax squirted up my bunghole by a pretty nurse. :frowning:

I almost required hospitalisation for its devastatingly explosive effect.

As mentioned above, the procedure for me was a non-event. Don’t remember a thing.

The prep procedure for me was mostly a non-event. I don’t remember the stuff, but I drank two half-gallons of the *mixture over a period of two hours. It had a salty/citrussy flavor. Actually not bad as medicinal things go.

The purge process was so mild in my case that my biggest, uh, “issue” was that I was afraid to go to bed that night. I just knew it had to get worse, and that if I just went to sleep, I might have an accident in bed. But no.

I don’t remember the post-procedure flatulence, either. But, then, I was pretty loopy, and don’t remember a lot.

*Two doses of two packets of some kind of Kool-Aid type mixture, each dose to be dissolved in a half gallon of water.

My experience was pretty much the same as everyone else reported:

  1. Night before was horrible
  2. Event itself was a cakewalk - I don’t remember a thing
  3. Needed to show that I had a ride home.

Relax. You’ll be fine. If it’s the worst thing that happens to you all year, it will be a good year!

Did they leave the camera in there or something?

I had my last one at our medical center, not in a hospital at all. In fact I’ve never had one done in a hospital. And people react very differently to anesthesia. Requiring someone to drive you home is for your safety, the safety of others, and to keep them from getting sued if you kill yourself or others.
I was out an hour after the procedure, and I’d much rather be home with a ride than wasting money staying there for hours until it was safe.