I'm 25 yo and my Dr wants me to have a colonoscopy. Is that normal and will I feel pain?

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Dave KXB
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Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/6/2010 7:24 PM (GMT -6)   
This might not be the right forum for this question but I couldn't find a better one so here I go:

I'm a 25 yo male. The doctors who saw me can't explain the constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort I have felt over the last year and want me to have a colonoscopy. I don't know any person younger than 40 who has had a colonoscopy and I can't help but wonder why my doctors want me to have a colonoscopy even though the x-rays, blood tests, fecal matter tests and other tests (the type of tests that most men don't want to go through) were all negative. Isn't it unusual for a person my age who isn't dying, incapacitated, or in pain, to have a colonoscopy?

I'm afraid not so much of feeling some pain during the colonoscopy but of feeling pain during the colonoscopy and not being able to wake up and tell or gesture to the anesthesiologist that I am in pain. In addition to the countless stories I have read on the internet about people who woke up in the middle of their colonoscopies literally yelling in pain and begging their doctors to stop the torture, I've seen stories on the news of people who were contemplating filing medical malpractice lawsuits against surgeons/anesthesiologists who failed to anesthesize them properly before the surgery and as a result they the patients felt an intense amount of pain throughout the sugery and were unable to wake up and tell about their pain.

I'm terrified of something like that happening to me and wonder if I am better off NOT being put to sleep during the colonoscopy and instead opting for some powerful pain killer that will eliminate bodily sensations from the neck down but leave me awake. Does anyone know if that can be done? If that's not possible I think I would prefer having the colonoscopy without anesthesia so that I can at least tell someone to stop if I feel an unbearable amount of pain.

Post Edited (Dave KXB) : 3/6/2010 10:41:16 PM (GMT-7)

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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1251
   Posted 3/6/2010 9:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my first colonoscopy at age 5 and then 2 - 3 a year for the next 5 years after that so you're not too young to have one.

While it's unusual for someone who is healthy to have one at your age ie "isn't dying, incapacitated, or in pain", you do mention "constipation and gastrointestinal discomfort" and that would be the reason your doctor wants you to have one - your doc wants to get to the bottom of it all, so to speak and try and find out the cause.

At your age, you probably won't be asleep for it (although some people are if they are especially anxious), they usually they just give you great 'happy drugs' and you don't feel a thing although you are conscious of it all - I got to watch my last endoscopy on the cameras, it was really interesting (though not everyone likes to do so).
Ileostomy for 33 years due to UC

Moderator of the Ostomy and Psoriasis Forums


I'm not a complete idiot - some parts of me are missing!

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Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 3/6/2010 10:06 PM (GMT -6)   

You probably haven't met anyone who has GI issues because those of us who have GI issues have had lots of colonoscopies!  I had my first sigmoidoscopy at age 26 and colonoscopy at 31.  But as Shaz said, even children have had them.  The prep for a colonoscopy is far worse than the procedure itself.  I have never been asleep during a colonoscopy and never had terrible pain from one.  They are uncomfortable but your pain will be monitored.  Be sure to share your anxiety with your GI so that you can be appropriately treated.


dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 6571
   Posted 3/7/2010 12:30 AM (GMT -6)   
i had my first one at 23 i think, maybe 24. They dont just do them for random people, but for someone with stomach probelms, which you mention having.
The prep sucks, but the scope itself isnt bad you wont remember it, and you get fun drugs, lol.
You may have some gas afterwards, but it wont last long.
UC for 8 years, before finally kicking its butt and having a permanent ileostomy April 17 2007! 
-I have gone to find myself, if i get back before i return, keep me here-

Equestrian Mom
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3115
   Posted 3/7/2010 6:30 AM (GMT -6)   
I think I was 19 for my first one:( Like everyone says...the prep is worse than the procedure. I am always medicated (personal preference) but you don't have to be!
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my
Proctocolectomy in 2008

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 985
   Posted 3/7/2010 8:29 AM (GMT -6)   
It will be fine! I remember nothing about the procedure because of the sedation used. I remember going in and then talking to the doctor after. That's all!
26 year old female
Diagnosed with unspecified UC 11/08
Asacol, Prednisone, 3 infusions of Remicade with no success
8/09 colonoscopy shows that the whole colon is affected
12/18/09 First part of J-Pouch surgery; recessed stoma
12/30/09 Second part of J-Pouch surgery too soon; fistula
1/9/10 Second Ileostomy Surgery with sparing of the J-Pouch
1/25/10 Stoma Revision Surgery and Fistula Repair
Now just trying to hold out as long as possible until we can try the next surgery
Imodium (8/day), Questran (3/day)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 3/7/2010 9:10 AM (GMT -6)   
I've had 9 colonoscopies and have felt none of them. I've always been given Versid, which in layman's terms is called Twilight Sleep. It's just enough sedation that produces an amnesia effect, you won't remember anything from the actual procedure but be alert enough to cooperate with the GI doc. For my first one (age 41) I was a nervous wreck, shaking uncontrollably. The nurse kept telling me the worst was over (meaning the bowel prep) but I flat out did not believe her. I was convinced she had to tell patients this to calm them down. It didn't work. I was so nervous my doctor gave me a mild sedative in addition to the Versid (I believe he gave me Demerol or Darvocet? Something beginning with the letter D). I only needed this mild preprocedure medication for colonoscopy #1, from then on I only needed Versid. For the first test, the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room asking the post-procedure nurse, when they'd start the procedure. She laughed because I guess she hears this all the time.

So see, trust us. We are Vets at these procedures. Many of us have had a slew of tests on done on us, all sorts of GI tract testing done.

When you hear people talk about how horrendous having had a colonoscopy was/is, 99.9% of the time they are referring to the bowel prep the day before.

To be honest I almost skip in the testing facility for my colonoscopy. Why? Because I know that A. it won't hurt (needle prick for the IV, that's the most pain you'll experience) and B. it will all be over soon and then I can resume eating again. The nurses always chuckle too, knowing this is not my first colonoscopy. But as I wait I do see first timers in the waiting room so strung out over the unknown I would love to just take their hand and say - don't worry, they'll sedate you and it will all be over soon enough.

So let me take your virtual hand and assure it will all be fine. That's the mom in me coming out since you're so young. I have two daughters, 19 and 22. I would tell them both the same exact thing - don't worry.

But please don't be a stranger and check back in with us, let us know what the procedure reveals. This is a wonderful, caring place you've landed. Don't forget us!

Wishing you my best.
- Rectal CA 4/29/99, Stage I, 90% sigmoid/15" of colon/GB removed, temporary colostomy, reversed 6-26-99
- Chronic IBS/D symptoms, multiple bm's, on low residue diet
- Colace 50 mg each evening

Post Edited (Marsky) : 3/7/2010 7:15:36 AM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1054
   Posted 3/7/2010 5:33 PM (GMT -6)   
I had my first one at 18 and have had a few since. I have been completely asleep for most. Either way, the procedure is DEFINITELY the easiest part! The prep is what sucks.
28 Year old Female
Diagnosed with Crohn's Colitis March 2000
Recent possible diagnosis of IBS-D
Tried Meds: Asacol, Remicade, 6mp, Humira, Xifaxan, Apriso, Imuran, Rowasa Enemas, Colocort Enemas.
Tried Probiotics: Align (with no change except bloating) and VSL #3 DS (AWFUL diarrhea).
Currently on: 30mg Prednisone (Tapering SLOWLY from 40), Psyllium Seed Powder, Prenatal Vitamin, Vitamin B 12 Complex, Vitamin D/Calcium, Vesicare (for urinary retention). 

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