anyone had a colonocopy without pain meds???

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Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 9/26/2007 3:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I am just curious to know if any of you had a colonoscopy done without sedation....I am just wondering it would be eccrutiating pain or not....
35 yrs female, dx with crohn's on july 13th 07 increasing my  entocort 9mg . starting imuran 250 mg  pariet ,dx with depression in 2002 ,effexor tappering off, welbutrin,resperidal and lemotrogine.

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   Posted 9/26/2007 3:40 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband had sedation but it didn't work at all. He is immune to random things like novacaine at the dentist. He was in excrutiating pain and broke the blood pressure cuff because he was flexing his arm so hard. My uncle on the other hand had his w/o sedation and said it was easy and not painful. He does not have any digestive disordrs and just had a routine scope.

Im kind of curious why you would want to do it unmedicated.  I think Crohnie Too choses to have hers done unmedicated.  Hopefully she will be along to fill you in.

25 Year old married female.  Diagnosed w/ CD 2 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.
I started getting a ton of junkmail after putting my myspace profile link on here.  Im taking it off but if you want to contact me just email me and Ill give you a link to my myspace.  Sorry!

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   Posted 9/26/2007 3:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Therer's a difference between sedation and pain killers. Sedation (valium) just relaxes you so you aren't as tense. It tends to make the procedure less painful because much of the pain is induced by tension. Most docs use a cocktail now which includes not just a sedative, but also drugs (like scopolamine) that tend to impair your memory of the procedure so you don't experience it as unpleasant, as well as, sometimes a painkiller. Using painkillers (or excessive sedation) during a colonoscopy is not always a good idea because it can greatly increase the risk of perforation. If you are out of it, either because of painkillers or too much sedation, you aren't able to be an active participant and let your physician know if things don't feel right.

Everyone's tolerances are different and sometimes it isn't possible to complete a colonoscopy without painkillers and/or sedation. It should be an individual decision arrived at in consultation with your physician.

30+ years living with Crohn's.

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   Posted 9/26/2007 4:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I have never been sedated for a colonoscopy the reason I had doctors after doctors tell me there was nothing wrong with me so when I went to see a GI I told him I did not want to be sadated because if there was somehing there I wanted to see for my self.yes I was scared that the pain would be to much but it wasn't at least not for me any way.I did have a lot of pressure.

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   Posted 9/26/2007 4:23 PM (GMT -7)   
The sedation used in the US most often is Versed. It is an amnesiac and does nothing for pain. "Its called conscious sedation." The rest of the "cocktail", the actual "pain killer" is usually demerol or fentanyl or alfentanyl. The theory is if you do feel pain, you won't remember it. You are aware enough to respond to instructions from the doctor and tech but you won't remember it. This also allows them to administer less pain medication.

IF your "scopist" is considerate of his/her patients, rather than the tiime involved, and assuming you don't have some serious colon involvement or rectal problems it is not a painful procedure. It can be uncomfortable.

The interior colon has no "nerves" to feel when a biopsy is taken, etc. BUT when it is stretched due to too much air insuflation or more likely due to the scope shaft looping back on itself then one can feel pain. Thus w/o conscious sedation or anesthesia the "scopist' needs to proceed much more slowly thru the entire procedure.

A Study of Pain During Colonoscopy
I like to watch the monitor thru out the procedure. I wanna see for myself what's going on in there which is why I prefer NO SEDATION but I do have some demerol and sometimes when we run into difficulty manuvering thru the transverse colon near the hepatic flexure the vagus nerve gets ticked off and my gastro has to add a little phenergan to stop the dry heaving the vagus nerve can cause. Not every time but on two scopes I've had we had to use the phenergan.
I've been told that those women who have had a hysterectomy can have a little more difficulty w/the scope manuvering across the transverse colon because there is more room for the transverse colon to dip lower.

Some people are like Slinkies... Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

Post Edited (CrohnieToo) : 9/26/2007 5:30:22 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
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   Posted 9/26/2007 5:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Not on purpose, lol. They couldn't sedate me with 4 Verseds! I had taken a Percocet the day before and apparently this was to blame. I had such a bad withdrawal headache (I think I was addicted to wheat and sugar) that I had to pop one to make it through work. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend it.
36 year old mother of a fabulous toddler.


Diagnosed with Crohn's July 2007. I believe it's in the right side of my colon.
Tapered down off Entocort mid August. Now on Asacol 2400, Protonix 40mg/day.

On Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) since late July and seeing improvement in "output" quality and hopefully therefore absorption. Taking SCD legal supplements: B vitamins, Folonic Acid 800mg, EnZym Complete DPP IV Aid by Kirkman, and Saccaromyces Boulardii (a probiotic yeast).

Current biggest complaints: LRQ fullness and slight burning. Gastritis symptoms are quiet now. What was horrible right hip and low back pain has subsided about 60%.

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   Posted 9/26/2007 5:23 PM (GMT -7)   
i unfortunately had the "pleasure" of having no pain meds during my scope ..i think it was demerol they semi injected me with. my blood pressure dropped to 68/40 and they could not give me any more than the first little injection. i was zoning out from the valium when YEEEOUCH! i was crying out and grabbing the railing of the gurney and my gi's assistant apologized and said she was so sorry she couldn't give me any pain meds cause my blood pressure dropped too low. next time i am requesting i be knocked out cause i am not going through that again :( i guess i should also mentioned i had a lot of inflammation going on a the time.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 367
   Posted 9/26/2007 5:51 PM (GMT -7)   
Propofol (sp?) is the BEST! It works fast and it wears off fast. There is no hangover or anything. I've heard that some insurance still will not pay for it.....not sure if that is still true.

There was a guy getting prepped on the other side of the curtain from me at my last scope who had never had sedation. And he had been having them almost yearly for over 10 years. Sorry, but I'm just not woman enough.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
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   Posted 9/26/2007 6:13 PM (GMT -7)   
I had one with no sedation. I kept telling the doctor I was in pain and needed more pain med, he kept telling me he had given me all he could. Now keep in mind he already thought I was a drug seeker. It was agony. When I was brought back up to my room, the nurse flushed my IV. It was completely blown. When the doctor came up later to tell me the results and basically to "prove" his point about me needing pain meds, his face hit the floor when I told him my IV was blown. He couldn't apologize enough. Just goes to show that the doctors sometimes make too many assumpsions. Just because I have lived with pain for 20 years and am no longer willing to accept it, suddenly I am a drug seeker. Wrong. I have a high tolerance for pain/sedation meds. Its just the way it is after having CD for so many years. I had a colonoscopy this morning. I was given the maximum amount of medication. I am a small woman. I was not knocked out, but I was OK. The Large man in the bed beside me was snoring. I had to ask the nurse several times to get my book from under the gurney for me. She kept telling me I should just take a nap. But I wasn't tired. I still haven't taken a nap. It doesn't knock me out, but done properly it does keep me comfortable.

CD 19 years offically, 29 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Symptoms constantly but all tests show only minor ulcerations. Currently having multiple episodes of gastritis with no known cause.

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 9/26/2007 6:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Great to all of those who decide to do it without sedation but there is no way on earth that you will get me to ever have anything done under sedation.  I have to have general anesthesia!  I had a really bad experience when they were draining an abcess with sedation.  They told me that I would not feel a thing and I would not remember anything.  Needless to say when you feel a scalpal slicing you open when you are not supposed to, it can be a little traumatic to say the least.  I was trying to scream of the pain and push them away from me and all they did was hold me down and continue slicing away!  No human should ever have to endure unnecessary pain like that.  I will not let any doctor near me unless it is guarenteed that I am going to be out cold!

Diagnosed with CD June 15, 2007
Currently 2 Fissures and 1 Fistula...YAY! Seton Drain currently in.
8 Pentasa/day
Had to stop Flagyl because of numbness in my toes!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
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   Posted 9/26/2007 7:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you guys....I think I am going to ask for no sedation but to put the IV just in case I am in pain...:-)
35 yrs female, dx with crohn's on july 13th 07 increasing my  entocort 9mg . starting imuran 250 mg  pariet ,dx with depression in 2002 ,effexor tappering off, welbutrin,resperidal and lemotrogine.

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Date Joined Apr 2006
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   Posted 9/26/2007 7:41 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a horrible reaction to versed (headache, vomiting, etc) so I would like to do it next time without. my brother (who has no GI problems) did it and said it was no big deal. I doubt I could talk my GI into it, tho, as he has such a hard time doing mine due to it being "severly redundant) that HE practically needs drugs!
48 y/o woman.  Diagnosed 4/06 after colonscopy, SBFT, CT-scan all showed crohns. 3 months later, after pred and remicade, all tests showed no crohns. In December had adhesions cut through a laparoscopy. Now just taking Glycolax, metamucil, and preparing to begin Humira.

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   Posted 9/27/2007 12:40 AM (GMT -7)   
I had my colonoscopy last year without sedation.  I actually asked the doctors not to sedate me, because I wanted to see everything.  It didn't hurt at all, just a little discomfort, and I was able to watch everything on the screen.  For me the worst part of the colonoscopy, is the preparation.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
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   Posted 9/27/2007 2:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Megamax, I don't receive any medications for my colonoscopies.  So far I have had 4 of them in the past two years.  I cannot tolerate pain killers, and I have reactions to Versed.  I find the procedure tolerable.  The prep is worse for me, lol!  During the procedure I feel cramping and discomfort, but not pain.  It can get a little uncomfortable when he inserts air, but the nurse massages my stomach.  I know everyone's experience is different, but for me, I am fine without the meds and find the procedure tolerable.  Good luck with your decision.  Julie :-)
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (Pancolitis) 10/25/05
New Diagnosis of Crohn's March 2006
Asacol 3 pills three times a day
Remicade 10mg/kg every 4 weeks
Prednisone 12.5mg a day
Imuran just increased to 50mg
Acidophilus daily
Prevacid 30mg
Paxil 40mg daily (for Panic disorder)
Xanax .5mg as needed (for anxiety attacks)

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Date Joined Sep 2006
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   Posted 9/27/2007 3:26 AM (GMT -7)   

Not to be rude, but I am shocked that anyone would willingly go through the colonoscopy without any sedation or pain medications.  Before reading this post, I used to think that I was a really tough, manly, 28 year old male.  Now I am really second guessing myself, because I am in so much pain after every colonoscopy that I have ever had that I dread the thought of having one.  I was unaware that you even had the option to undergo this procedure without any medications.  To be honest, I am totally bewildered as to why one would not want some sort of sedation during this experience.  I am so grateful that I am totally out each time because I am still so embarassed about the thought of what I am having done to me, especially with with all the young female nurses around.( I know, real mature of me)

  My father is one that will not take pain medications for anything.  He does all of his dental work,including his root canal, without having any numbing medication or gas.  I sometimes joke that I must not be his son, because I like to have the gas to have any dental work done.(it is the only good part of going to the dentist)  Now, I have to go and tell my dad that he is not so unique, because all of you have one up on him with the scope.  My last colonoscopy, I came out of sedation early because my prep did not clear all the bowel and he was trying to force his way through the fecal matter.  It was so painful that I was almost in tears, but he immediately gave me more pain medication and put me back under.  When I awoke after the procedure, I was in an extreme amount of pain and had to spend a long time in recovery.  The doctor performing the procedure appologized and said that he should have used more sedation in the first place.  It is amazing how some of us have so much pain during and after the scope and other do not have any pain. 

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 330
   Posted 9/27/2007 7:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I've had 2 with and 2 without any medications in the last 2 1/2 years. I prefer the no meds way, because most make me very ill (especially after fasting and taking the prep) I find it facinating to watch the screen and talk to the doctor, and to actually be able to remember all he said to me. Sure there's pressure and discomfort, but it's not intolerable. Vomiting for hours afterward with the pain meds is worse (especially after the prep has made me so sick !). I get pretty severe inflammation and ulcerations throughout my intestine, but have no real tight strictures yet, so maybe that's why it's not too bad to go without medication for me. (it's not a really tight squeeze yet).
I think it makes the doctor more nervous though when you're alert!


Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
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   Posted 9/27/2007 7:43 PM (GMT -7)   
My sedation wore off very early in the procedure the last time I had one. That was VERY bad news for me. I could feel the dr. cutting the biopsies! I begged for more sedation but they said that it would be over soon. I have since told my doctor that if he wants me to do another colonoscopy, he better order twice the sedative than he did last time!

Currently 3 x per day 1000mgs Pentasa, Entocort (3mgs), Prilosec, multi vitamin, biotin, Lortab, Librax (for spasms) & VSL#3 (for probiotics) or activia yogurt.

Preparing to start Remicade because I am steroid dependent now.

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   Posted 9/27/2007 8:58 PM (GMT -7)   
I have only had 2 colonoscopies, both with diprovan, a very fast acting barbituate and it wears off quickly. I went food shopping on the way home last time. My sister had 1 done without sedation because she is so afraid of meds, and she WILL have sedation next time. Her doc basically didn't even want to do it without.
Diagnosed at age 19 with CD.
3 small bowel resections, 1 for perforation, 2 for strictures 

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   Posted 9/28/2007 1:27 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had 3 colonoscopies. One with demerol and versed, one with fentanyl and versed, and the last with propofol. With the last one they kept stressing how wonderful it was going to be. I have to say that I didn't notice any difference with any of the 3 methods. Each time I was knocked out by the medications and not able to watch anything. However, the last two times I have had biopsies and both times became "alert" when they were taken but quickly went back "out" again. It felt like something was frying.
10 years, many tests, 3 gi doctors, no diagnosis yet.  Pentasa 1000mg 3x day

Glad Bag
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   Posted 9/28/2007 2:12 PM (GMT -7)   
who knows what they give me...but it always works great....

On the other hand, i have had other types of scopes without anesthesia and they are horrifyingly painful and uncomfortable, but I have pretty severe rectal area disease. If you don't have as much rectal area involvement, it may be less uncomfortable.

not to change the subject too much, but before my ileostomy surgery, i had developed a entero-vesicular fistula (that's a fistula that connects somewhere to the bladder or urinary tract)

So i had to have a uroscopy (something like that) where they go through your ureter. As you know, there's only one way in, and I'm a dude! ouch! I wish i had pain meds for that! not to mention the cute female nurse had to stretch my "package" (for lack of a better term) while the doctor looked thru his scope, and the nurse was getting a full view of my rear. I have perianal fistulas, so it's not a pretty site down there. How awkward that was.....i should have asked for some Valium at least. the next time i came in to the doc's office, i am pretty sure the young nurse remembered who i was....especially since I had to go thru that procedure twice! ughh!

I have also had a gastrograph with enema contrast.....that was the most uncomfortable thing i have ever gone is basically a series of x-rays taken while they pump radioactive contrast in to see where the fistula tracts lead....unfortunately, the procedure was not conclusive, and they had to do that one again later too, to no avail.

I did not have any sedation or pain meds for that either. Finally, I had the cat scan where they inject contrast thru an IV....i got immediately after getting the IV whole body felt warm and was not painful, but a very interesting experience.

oh wait, right before my surgery, the colorectal surgeon had to give me an exam with a little scope that is lighted and gives him a look into the rectal area....i was so inflamed there that i almost cried and ended up bleeding for a few hours....that was the last real pain i had to bear before my surgery.

So, when given the chance, I will now always ask for pain meds/sedation/memory blocker. Hell, i'll even take a couple shots of tequila! just give me something, if you can't just hit me on the head and knock me out, please!

If you are hesitant because you want to "see" what the doctor sees, ask beforehand if they can record the scope onto a cd or dvd, most places can now do that and actually most do record such procedures, but you need to ask for a copy.

it would make for good background viewing when you throw a cocktail party, too.....just kidding, imagine that!

good luck!
"All we need is is all we need"

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 371
   Posted 9/28/2007 6:45 PM (GMT -7)   
you people are nuts....there is nto enough money in the world for me to do that test without meds

no way
Female Dx'ed with Crohns Disease in 1992
Been on every med for crohns that exists
Several Fistula surgeries
Dx'ed with Colon Rectal Cancer March 2007
Dx'ed with Stage 2 Vulvar VIN
On Chemo and Radiation for 6 weeks

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3200
   Posted 9/28/2007 8:34 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm with you Michele. I've had a couple when the meds didn't work, so it's the white sleepy stuff for me. I leave what's on the screen,
to my imagination, and what the doc tells me...

Too many years with CD
Two bowel resections, several obstructions.

Laughter is the brush that sweeps the cobwebs from our hearts

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/29/2007 4:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Yea - can't get the lovely painkillers - did hurt a lot but it's kinda a time limited think so i know its only going to last for 20-30 mins so i just keep focusing on that!! it was only sore going in on the way out with the scope i didn't feel much. on the positive side it is kinda interesting getting to see what is really going on in there!! & your not out of it when the dr talks to you after which really helps when you have questions!!

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 371
   Posted 9/29/2007 8:39 AM (GMT -7)   
I watch mine on the TV screen with the meds. It does not knock me out. But my bum would be sooooo sore without meds
Female Dx'ed with Crohns Disease in 1992
Been on every med for crohns that exists
Several Fistula surgeries
Dx'ed with Colon Rectal Cancer March 2007
Dx'ed with Stage 2 Vulvar VIN
On Chemo and Radiation for 6 weeks

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 9/29/2007 6:32 PM (GMT -7)   
I had my diagnostic scope and several thereafter with the standard meds, but abuot 10 years ago I asked to try it without. It was not bad at all and I have had three subsequent scopes with mo meds. The discomfort with a scope is primarily caused by what they call looping, which is when the scope forms a lop, usually in the sigmoid colon, pressing against the walls of the coln. Once past that area, it's usually not bad at all - a little pressure now and then. People with severe inflammation and ulcerations are likely to have more discomfort, but it is a fact that the colon wall has no sensory nerves, so even biopsies will not cause pain. There have been several studies done on sedationless colonoscopy and the consensus is that the pain aspect is generally overrated -- it's simply not that bad for most peolpe. Of course the meds used today are fairly quick acting and quick clearing and pose no real medical threat, so the option is yours. However, I would suggest that anyone who has considered trying it without meds go for it - just ask your GI to go ahead and hook up the I|V but not inject the sedation agents unless you feel truly uncomfortable. You might be surprised . . . and it would save several hundred dollars.
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