Is having a colonoscopy during a flare OK? Should I cancel...

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 4/5/2009 11:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Just wondering if having this done is a good idea right now?   Should I wait until the flare subsides?  I'm worried there might be a problem during procedure and then wake up with a colostomy bag. 
Has anyone gone through this? Please let me know..
44 yrs old, only 3rd experience with flare-up start oct29.08, Ont.Canada. was 140lbs now 118
current: asacol 400 mg - 2 4x/day
multi vitamin - prairie naturals multiforce - 1/day for sure or 2/day if I remember
last flare in 2004 with c-diff, went into shock, hospitalized 2 wks, rec'd transfusion
prednisone, asacol, metronidazole
in 2000 rec'd antibiotics(sinuses),c-diff,ulcerative colitis 

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 4/5/2009 12:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had a couple of scopes while flaring. Ideally though the doc wants to wait until things settle down a bit before proceeding but some docs do them while their paitient is a flare anyway just to take a peek at things in there.
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Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 4/5/2009 12:05 PM (GMT -6)   
It's something that needs to be done so they can monitor how things are going, maybe you're disease has spread and they want to take a look see...chances of you waking up with a bag is pretty slim, if they see via the scope that your entire colon happens to be the resemblance of ground beef they'd wake you up and discuss your options (like surgery) with you, they wouldn't likely just go ahead and do that kind of surgery on you.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 4/5/2009 12:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree, ideally wait until things settle down, if it seems like a "typical" flare.
My doc and I do this, she understands scopes are very irritating (but probably not dangerous).
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering. Asacol/5ASA 6x400 mg maintenance for 20+ years; use prednisone & Rowasa for flares. 
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Food sensitivity test showed wheat/gluten, other intolerances; eliminated all wheat/gluten from my diet. Probiotics (Ultimate Flora, 50 billion), trying Curamin. 
Flaring, seasonal? or supplements too harsh? Back on prednisone, tried to taper but now back up to 20-30 after several really bad days. Waiting for insurance decison on Humira...soon... 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 610
   Posted 4/5/2009 12:52 PM (GMT -6)   

The severity of disease is more relevant than its extent, so there's no reason to be scoped just to find out the extent of the disease. 

If you prefer to reschedule, then reschedule.  It will not effect the general treatment of the disease:  5-ASAs (oral and rectal) >> (prednisone) >> Imuran/ 6-MP >> Remicade.

The societies that regulate the professional conduct of endoscopists generally indicate a uc colonoscopy for two reasons, diagnosis and cancer surveillance.  That's it.  If my doctor suggested a "look-see" colonoscopy, I'd find another doctor.  It's poor professional practice.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 768
   Posted 4/5/2009 1:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I suppose if the GI has to do it, then he has to do it.

The concerns are, if the colon is severely inflamed and full of lesions it could make for a less than thorough search for polyps. The other reason is that the scope in itself is very intrusive and could trigger further inflammation. You have to imagine rubbing a garden hose over open sores to get the idea.

Like I said though, there's no better way for the GI to actually see the extent of the ulceration, so it's a no-win situation for the patient unless he discovers something that needs urgent action.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3231
   Posted 4/5/2009 2:35 PM (GMT -6)   
I had a sigmoidoscopy when I was flaring. My doctor said that he did not do a complete sigmoidoscopy, because I was flaring too much. He just needed to be able to see the inflammation enough to make a diagnosis so that he could prescribe prednisone.

I had the colonoscopy after the flare. At the time, my colon was 98% healed.
Joy - 47 yrs and counting
Colitis Dec 06 (also have IBS)
Currently in remission
Don't expect your doctor to cure your health problems. Your health is your responsibility.

Lexapro (for stress), Probiotics and Vitamins (a whole bunch of them)
Avoid HFCS, foods high in fructose, artificial sweeteners
When flaring: eat anti-inflammatory foods, avoid pro-inflammatory foods
Previous treatments: Fecal transplantation (worked), Prednisone (stopped working), Colazal (stopped working), Asacol (stopped working)

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 63
   Posted 4/5/2009 3:11 PM (GMT -6)   
If you think that the flare will calm down within the next few weeks then you can reschedule but if not, I don't see the reason to cancel it... it's best to find out what's going on in your colon as soon as possible in my point of view, g'luck. PS. the worst part is getting ready for a colonoscopy while flaring... seriously, good luck

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5975
   Posted 4/5/2009 3:32 PM (GMT -6)   
     I'll tell you what my past experiences were in this department.  My GI doctor tried to do a colonoscopy three years ago while I was flaring.  He only was able to go up 20 cm because he was afraid of perferating the ulcers...lucky for me.  But NOT so lucky because I had taken that awful prep.  Therefore, about two months later, had to do it all over again.  Last year while I was hospitalized they did a colonoscopy but used a pediatric scope.  My colitis is only located in the rectum and not further up into the colon.  I am now, and have been since Nov 1st, in remission.  My GI doctor sees me every three months.  A few weeks ago he told me that he will wait till next year to do a sigmoidoscope.....that since I am feeling and doing well, he doesn't want to  "upset the apple cart".  His words exactly.
62 yr old granny. South Jersey
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008
Update 11/03/08...finally in remission!!  Hope I don't jinx myself.  Off the prednisone since 11/01/ see if I can stay off for longer than two weeks.  Other meds: 6MP (75 mgm), colazal (6 per day), Benicar and Toprol (high blood pressure meds), Probiotic (2 per day), fish oil capsule and multi-vitamin and calcium with vitamin D.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2105
   Posted 4/5/2009 3:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Learned my lesson from the "I'll just do whatever the GI says" a while ago.
Proctitis DX 1999, Pancolitis DX 2008
Lialda 1 day
Golimumab study (100mg every 4 weeks)
Vitamin E Enemas as needed

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 362
   Posted 4/5/2009 5:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I just had one done last tuesday during a flare, and there was no change for the worse.
Ulcerative proctitis. On Asacol 3 3x a day, and Meslamine enemas nightly.
Blood is a bigger problem for me than D.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 2865
   Posted 4/5/2009 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   

Had two colonoscopies and sigmoid plus endoscopy all within the last year and no problems.  Doctor said because I was not responding and having side effects from medication he needed to "see" what was going on!


Senior - New diagnosed with proctosigmoiditis - 6/2008  Cannot tolerate mesalamines, Canasa, etc. Tried, Colozal, steroid enemas, etc. - started working but severe side effects occurred.
Started on prednisone Feb.7, 2009 - tapering to 20 mg. for two more weeks. Bleeding returned - no call back from doc so I upped prenisone to 25mg. on my own - 6MP - 50 mg. 4/2/2009 
Probiotic Align, Prilosec for GERD, Gas-X, vitamins, Calcium/D
Tylenol for knees and arthritis.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2005
Total Posts : 239
   Posted 4/5/2009 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   

Hey thanks guys, for the variety of advice.  I'm still thinking about it.  It's booked for April 29th and part of this, I'm just freaking myself out.  The last colonoscopy I had was April 2005, about 7 months after my last major episode.  Prednisone helped out on that one though.  Things were good by that scope time.

This time no prednisone hence the great length of time to get over this episode now.  I'm still have my moments, I'd say it's about 60/40 D & blood right now, that's why I had this question. 

I guess I could say it they must took a look, then just do that and don't take a piece of anything yet because of the action going on.  And thanks for the pediatric endoscope mention, first I've heard of that.

And it's not a GI, it's a surgeon, in a little town like this.  My GI last time was when I lived in BC, so I'm really divided on this. 

44 yrs old, only 3rd experience with flare-up start oct29.08, Ont.Canada. was 140lbs now 118
current: asacol 400 mg - 2 4x/day
multi vitamin - prairie naturals multiforce - 1/day for sure or 2/day if I remember
last flare in 2004 with c-diff, went into shock, hospitalized 2 wks, rec'd transfusion
prednisone, asacol, metronidazole
in 2000 rec'd antibiotics(sinuses),c-diff,ulcerative colitis 

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