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Readers Respond: What Is a Colonoscopy Like?

Responses: 21


Updated February 13, 2013

From the article: Colonoscopy

Many people find the idea of undergoing a colonoscopy to be a bit intimidating. However, since the test serves such an important diagnostic role, particularly in preventing colon cancer, it would help to ease anxiety to hear from others as to what the process is really like. If you have undergone a colonoscopy, please share your experience here. Tell us what it was like to prep for the exam and how you felt during the exam. Just think, your input might just save someone else's life!

Share Your Experience!

Colonoscopies aren't to bad

I'm going for my 2nd. With the first one I did the GoLyly prep. Never again! It was horrible. The procedure was very easy. Now going for my 2nd and using a new prep kit called propopik. Only have ten oz.of meds and 16 oz.of liquids. Not bad at all. Ita supposed to taste better as well. We will see and I will keep y'all updated and tell ya how it went.
—Guest Allie


Having my first colonoscopy surgery friday. I am a little nervous and scared at the same time.
—Guest tracy

Can Save Your Life

I had my first colonoscopy and found that I have stage 2 rectal cancer - colorectal cancer can present without any symptoms, and catching cancer early is important, so HONESTLY the prep and hour of your time to have this done is VERY much worth it!
—Guest bnatural

sometimes ... it's horrific

I have had 2 colonoscopies. The first was unremarkable and pain free. However, sometimes things can go really, really badly. I have had 3 children without any sort of pain relief whatsoever. One of them was an abnormal and difficult presentation. Painful sure but tolerable. The colonoscopy that I had two days ago was off the pain scale. I was give sedation and then again when I started to yell. I was groaning, thrashing and in extraordinary pain. As someone who has had this procedure more than once, I know that, for most people, it's a little uncomfortable at worst. When it goes badly, it is very, very bad. I was trying to pull myself out of the fog enough to tell them to stop. I know now that I said it several times and they just restrained me harder. I am left with a damaged hip joint and a bad pain in my abdomen. So all of you smug people who say "not bad at all" BEWARE. I said that once too. I will never, ever go again. No words strong enough to describe the pain.
—Guest merrywood10


I was terrified at the mention by my doctor that I needed one. I went to walgreens bought a 10oz bottle of Lemon Magnezum Citrate. A small box of Ducolux laxative, 2 32 oz of green gatorade, 1 bottle of Miralax. Drank the magnesum cirtrate, which is like a lemon alka selzer, not bad. 2 hrs later took 2 ducolax laxative pills, started to go to bathroom in about 1/2 later. Started to drink the miralax and gatorade chilled every 15 mins. only 1 cup at a time. Went to bathroom regularly until my stool was yellowish clear. Use lotion and kleenex tissue, helps! Next day, no food only clear liquids for 2 days, was starving! No liquids 6 hours before procedure. Nurse put an iv, feed me some sedation, was in heaven, did not feel a thing! Went in at 3:30 pm was out by 4:45. A breeze! No problem no horror stories. Just do it! It is not bad at all! This was my first at April 3rd, 2012. The prep is not bad, does not taste bad, use gatorade with miralax. No longer scared, can do it again in a NY minute.

Test is easy, the sedation was terrible!

The prep was tolerable as was the actual exam. I was told that the Versed/fentanyl combo (the most common drugs) would induce a pleasant "twilight sleep". Nothing could have been further from the truth; the drugs made me extremely anxious but unable to move or communicate, but I felt every bit of the painful exam. One nurse was concerned that I was sweating and moaning in pain, but the doctor told her: "the Versed will prevent him from remembering any of this". Wrong, I remember it all and it was awful; the worst part was that I wasn't informed that Versed was an amnestic drug and that it has no pain-relieving properties; the small amount of fentanyl (painkiller) does little. A nurse told me that they like to give Versed since it's a "patient control drug" and that it prevents most people from remembering the test no matter how painful it was (at least until they get home). I will never get so-called "twilight sleep" again; check out askapatient.com for Versed horror stories.
—Guest 51MGTD

easy peasy

The prep was nasty. The procedure was fine. I did get sedatives per request and honestly menstrual cramps are worse than this procedure. At least for me.
—Guest betsy


i am going in for a colonoscopy. this will be number 11 for me. i am using a brand new prep, it taste like cherry but it is real nasty. it is called suprep bowl prep kit.
—Guest carol

easy and comfortable

Easy! Hardest part was liquid. I drank lots of water, clear juices and flavored seltzers. I took 4 Dulcolax pills at 1:00 p.m. the day before procedure. At 5:30 p.m. I began drinking the PEG, 8oz every 15 min for an hour (4 doses). The effects did not kick in for about 2 hours. I had no cramping or pain....just some "urgent moments" for about 2-3 hours. At 5:30 a.m. I drank another four rounds of PEG. The effects kicked in very quickly this time. By 7:00 am I was totally cleaned out. No urgency after that .The staff made me feel at ease. The worst part was the waiting. I was quickly put to sleep and awoke about 40 minutes later. Sleepy most of the day but no problems. DO IT!


having a colonoscopy was a nightmare for me not having any sedative, i felt everything, most painful, so never want to have one again!!!!
—Guest sandy moore


Will never have another colonoscopy until a new prep procedure is invented. Did not like having several urgent accidents before getting to the toilet even though I was only steps away.
—Guest Blanche

Easier Than I Thought It Would Be

The things that I worried about didn't happen: the frequent bm's did not aggravage my hemmorrhoids and I had no pain, cramping or chills. Much gratitude to the person here who posted about refrigerating the prep solution - this seemed to work well - I didn't find it all that disgusting. Note to all pre-menopausal women: they will make you take a pregnancy test so save some urine! Don't be like me who thought it would be a good idea to empty my bladder during the half hour wait before they called me in. Needless to say, I was so de-hydrated that it took forever to give them the sample that they needed.

post op problems

After going through the Go Lightly, I vowed I would never use it again, it made me so sick, but the worst part is that I started having extreme anal itching right after the procedure and now I am having trouble going to the bathroom. It's like the muscles are now not working right. I asked a nurse if it was possible that the scope was not clean and I caught some type of skin disorder, but they claimed that the scope were cleaned well. ?? I have just gotten a notice that I am due for another one next year and am seriously thinking about not having it.
—Guest Sunnysouth

Best prep ever

I mix the prep solutions that I get from the doctor with Gatorade. Keep the Gatorade in the fridge to keep it cold. Make sure and get lighter colored Gatorade, not dark red, blue or purple. I used 2 different flavors so I didn’t get sick of the taste. This was by far the best tasting (basically no taste) prep ever. Drink water after you’re done with the Gatorade.
—Guest Joe

Colonoscopy Prep

I took the gallon of prep and two days of liquid diet. The instructions said you should see the bottom of the toilet on your last release. I couldn't see the bottom and called the Drs office and was told to take enemas until clear. It took 3 large volume enemas with a colon tube to do the job. The rest was okay, good results.
—Guest Diane

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What Is a Colonoscopy Like?

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