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Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

17 Dec 2020 23:17 in response to Scotsgirl

After reading alll the comments about having a colonoscopy it's seems that people have such different experiences I had one today 17/12/2020 I was very apprehensive on arriving but everyone was lovely and reassuring explaining everything from start to finish I had sedation and gas and air  and pethidine but honestly after being in the treatment room and the having the sedation I can't remember anything until I was in the recovery room when I was woken up I strongly advise having the sedation if you have someone who can escort you home after the procedure you will be a little tired later but you can sleep it off  all in all I can't fault the hospital I attended and the staff were amazing - you made a very nervous patient into a relaxed one and the procedure was a breeze please don't worry if your going to have a colonoscopy every one and every experience is different ..........

Edited on Fri, 18/12/2020 - 09:24 by Cazcoo, Hospital names removed in line with forum terms and conditions

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

18 Dec 2020 10:37 in response to Cazcoo

So glad to hear it went well for you; everyone does have a different experience - some better than others. I hope all turns out well for you. I was given the all clear on gastroentestinal cancer a week after my colonoscopy and just felt huge relief. I'm not out of the woods yet but can deal with whatever comes. As there is a history of bowel cancer in my family, it was uppermost in my mind. I'd have another colonoscopy if needed but I would ask for increased sedation and it is now also recorded in my hopsital notes.

I hope when you get the results of yours all will be well.

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

18 Dec 2020 19:20 in response to Cazcoo
As Scotsgirl said everyone's experience of this seems to be different. For myself the sedation was fine and although I was offered gas and air if necessary I didn't feel the need for it at all. To be honest I think I was a bit more "out of it" than I thought I was. I would have said I remembered it all but, looking back, I was told it took about half an hour and I would have said nearer ten minutes! Anyway the really important thing is the outcome and I truly hope your's is nothing to worry about.

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

28 Feb 2021 17:58 in response to sammy87

I'm 25 and have just had a colonoscopy, I was reading the previous replies on here before going in, it made me very anxious and was expecting the worst (I understand everyone is different). I wasn't offered a full sedation just the one you have awake, or gas and air, the nurse told me that none of them make it pain free and both do the same thing so I just chose the gas and air as it was less invasive and meant I could leave quicker when done. The camera was thicker than I expected so I before he started I was puffing away! No pain at all for me and no painkillers, just felt like trapped wind or a little baby kicks inside. I was watching it on the screen so that was fascinating, also had a few subtle laughs at the nurse while puffing  if you are panicking like I was don't, give it a chance it may not hurt at all like mine and if it does just let them know! Good luck ❤️

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

1 Mar 2021 09:35 in response to Cazcoo

Hi Scotsgirl. I am glad that all went well for you. My first colonoscopy was also a breeze, second one not as great.Third the same, Fourth one, apparently I have scarring due to surgery etc and it is making it more diificult for the tube to pass round. Hence sever pain. I would say that in general with no complications that it should be ok. I was quite proud of myself after the firt two. Hmm, The problem with all this is that evryone assumes you must be  delicate, or a bit of a whimp. This is certainly not the case. 

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

3 Mar 2021 09:11 in response to enajyak

I am having my first ever Colonoscopy today and I am still nervous, I've had about 4 hours sleep, the bowel prep was gruelling as I had to drink two litres of the stuff in one evening as my appointment is at 10am. I was not suprisingly sick twice with it but it wasn't much and I got it all down!

Wish me luck for today, I am not looking forward to it. 

All the best,


Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

3 Mar 2021 10:16 in response to jemstone123

Of course you're not looking forward to it. That's perfectly normal!
The preparation is no fun either but is essential I'm afraid is necessary to get the best results from the examination so has to be done. I know you will have read through everyone's experiences and you will have seen how wildly they seem to vary but one thing that I think you can be sure of is the caring and sympathetic attention you will get from the staff. They will get you through it!
And one last piece of advice. Take the sedatives offered (no shame in doing that, I did!) and have someone there to bring you home.
Best of luck and please let us know how it goes.

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

3 Mar 2021 15:16 in response to Fhard

Hello everyone, this is my first post. I don't wish to put anyone off having a colonoscopy as, at the end of the day, it could very well save your life and not everyone will experience what I have.

My experience:

I have had five colonoscopies done over the course of a few years, with each one more painful than the one before, despite painkillers and sedation. The prep ranged from Picolax (not unpleasant) and vile stuff I had to drink over a period of 2 hours, twice a day. The pain duriing each was excruciating and something I wouldn't wish on anyone.

After my first one I ended up with a small puncture in my bowel, which was soon taken care of.The next three were clear, no problem except for the excruciating pain. At my last one, again very painful, they discovered a large polyp at the top of my bowel, which they thought at first might be an early cancer and which unfortunately they couldn't remove via the scope. They will 'keep an eye on it' which will mean more colonoscopies in the future.

I will never have another one without anaesthesia. I don't consider myself a wimp in any way (I have had both my legs removed below the knee in the last two years, carried out under spinal anaesthetic, fully awake). My sister had an extremely painful procedure where they had to stop, it was so bad. They then rescheduled her for a colonography.and I'm wondering if this is freely available? No pain involved!

As many here have pointed out, we are all different. I wish only the best of luck to anyone facing this and hope for a painfree experience for you..To those who have had minimal to no pain, I'm very happy for you.


Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

17 May 2021 19:00 in response to Scotswoman

Just had my colonoscopy today. The preparation is a bit of a drag with the laxative and fasting, but no huge deal and something we just have to do I suppose. I must admit that the actual examination was more uncomfortable than I had thought it would be. I was given a choice and went for gas and air to control the pain, but this was not strong enough for me - it was too uncomfortable. I think I was a slightly difficult case for them. Then they gave me sedative intravenously which really did the trick. From then on it was ok, I was still aware but it was much easier. I'm totally fine now, just a few hours after. My advice would be to go for the sedative which made a big difference to me.

All in all it wasn't too bad, and of course it is very much worth while. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

12 Aug 2021 21:35 in response to goldielocks

I have just had a colonoscopy and it had to be abandoned as it was very painful for me.  I was disappointed that the procedure was not completed.

I had some sedation and gas and air but still very painful

On the good side the part of the bowel they did see looked healthy.  Waiting for the result of biopsy. 


Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

12 Aug 2021 21:44 in response to Afaith

I empathise with you. My procedure too had to be abandoned.  They got so far and said that part of the bowel looked healthy and they managed to get a biopsy but I too was very disappointed. 

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

13 Aug 2021 19:31 in response to Linda212

I had a colonoscopy today - everything fine, thankfully - and it wasn't really any bother. The prep had me feeling ill for an hour or so, but the procedure itself was no trouble. I had sedation but honestly, I was completely awake and talking to the doctor doing it, asking him if all looked OK. No pain at all. I do feel a bit off now, bit nauseaus and have to go to the bathroom and then don't go when I get there. Not sure if it's due to the sedation or the prep or what, but I doubt it's much.

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

17 Dec 2021 13:49 in response to lioness

Hi l had one yesterday and stupidly went for the gas and air, l have a high pain threshold but l can honestly say l agree with you, l felt the worse pain ever, told them to stop, think it was where they had taken some of my bowel away because the tumour l had was stuck to it, they said take the sedative next time but l honestly don’t think l will, reading and talking to people who have been like me the sedation isn’t much better xx

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

30 Jul 2022 21:09 in response to Anonymous

I've just been to hospital to have a gastroscope/ was very, very painful.isn't it about time that in the u.k. we were allowed to choose to be fully anaesthetised ,if we desire it, not have to put up with unnecessary, bad pain? Please please please will you just realise that the pain we have to go through can affect us mentally, and rather than be mentally scarred, we NEED sufficient anaesthetic, without feeling guilty by asking for it. I am aware not everyone needs this, and they are truly blessed, but for those of us who need it, it is a deal breaker and more people will be refusing this life saving treatment without it.

Colonoscopy painful? Do we get put to sleep?

18 Aug 2022 16:08 in response to jackie2409

Had mine today. Mostly ok but when he tried to get around the corners inside I passed out from the gas and air as the pain was quite intense. It was like being constantly stabbed in the abdomen. But once they are in and out the pain soon goes. Im clear but I'm in no real rush to go again. If I have to, I'll be choosing sedation. 

The liquid you use to prep - 2 litres in total was hard going. Not great and the affects of it work very well.. Don't go out and if you can work from home so your near a toilet. 

You'll be fine if anyone is reading this. Take the sedation and get checked.