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talljasperman's avatar

(NSFW) (Details inside) Is there an alternative to having a colonoscopy?

Asked by talljasperman (19233 points ) November 5th, 2013

I am afriad to have one, my doctor made me an appointment and I canceled it.

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38 Answers

Cupcake's avatar

What exactly are you so afraid of? The prep? The camera? The results?

livelaughlove21's avatar

No. If the doctor says you need a colonoscopy, you need to do it.

I’ve never had it done, but I hear it’s really no big deal. What’s the fear exactly? Having something put up your butt? You’re eventually going to have to get over it. Prostate exams are much less uncomfortable if you’re not afraid of it.

Pachy's avatar

Do it—don’t be afraid !!! It’s not the most fun thing in the world but it’s not anywhere near as bad as I imagine you imagine it to be. The prep is is easier than it used to be and they put you completely under for the procedure. You’ll probably be a bit woozy for a while after you wake, perhaps have a slightly upset tummy, but trust me, when the good results come back you’ll be soooo glad you did it. I know from experience.

talljasperman's avatar

@Cupcake Having to walk home… The hospital made me walk across all of Red Deer with flip flops to get home. I don’t trust healthcare anymore.

Cupcake's avatar

Was the hospital supposed to make travel arrangements for you? You’ll need someone to pick you up from your colonoscopy and drive you home.

picante's avatar

I’m very confused. You’ll want to have someone drive you (or take a cab home) following the procedure. You shouldn’t be walking. And they won’t make you wear flip-flops.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Relax. They do this every day dozens of times a day to people of all shapes and sizes. Get it done.
If you are afraid of the walk home simply take your time before leaving the hospital. Sit in the waiting area and read a magazine or two. Take a nap there if you like.
They will not kick you out the door while you are woozy. Half the people over 55 have had a colonoscopy and understand your predicament.
Just take it easy.

talljasperman's avatar

@LuckyGuy Thank you. I will save up for the cab ride home.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@talljasperman Do you live far from the hospital or is it walking distance? If it is less than half a mile you can easily walk that – after sitting for a while (and using their bathroom).
If you decide to take a taxi you will be surprised to see how many others do it, too. The hospital service desk will even call the cab for you. Don’t panic. This happens all the time.

JLeslie's avatar

You can have a virtual colonscopy as long as it is not contraindicated in some way for your specific situation. You still need to do the prep though.

When I had my colonscopies I was not allowed to leave alone. The place I had it done last time they required someone show up with me at appointment time and wait during the entire procedure. If I had not had someone with me when I arrived they would not have done the procedure. The other places just wouldn’t release me alone.

talljasperman's avatar

@LuckyGuy It is a 5 hour walk from the hospital to my home.. I have $23 in my bank I will save it for the cab ride home.

Rarebear's avatar

It depends on why you’re having the colonoscopy.

JLeslie's avatar

@talljasperman There might be a special service or charity organization that can give you a ride.

Lightlyseared's avatar

It’s possible to have colonoscopy without any sedation, then you could drive home afterwards. (I’ve had several colonoscopies and never been sedated).

JLeslie's avatar

@Lightlyseared Why didn’t you get sedated? I would think it would be rather painful. Are you sure it was a colonscopy and not a sigmoidoscopy?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

My alternative is to just say no.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@JLeslie it was definitely a colonoscopy – terminal ilium was intubated. It wasn’t painful – there was the sensation of being bloated (like bad colic) and I could feel the scope moving around in me which was a bit weird. The whole procedure takes 15–20 minutes (for me any way, it can take a long longer). As for why I didn’t have sedation, I’ve worked in an endoscopy unit for several years and knew what to expect and was confident I could handle it. Around 30% of our patients have the procedure without sedation.

JLeslie's avatar

@Lightlyseared Interesting. I wonder if part of the reason patients are sedated is because the doctor likes it.

Rarebear's avatar

@JLeslie Usually it’s patient preference. Most of the time the patient says, “I don’t want to remember anything.”

Lightlyseared's avatar

@JLeslie as a general rule we prefer not to sedate. Easier to discharge patients afterwards, less chance they stop breathing during. It has to be said that in the 10 or so years I’ve been working in endoscopy the equipment has got better and the training has become more robust (at least here in the UK). When I started it was also most in heard of for patients not to be heavily sedated (to the point of losing consciousness) for colonoscopy where as now even when we do sedate, the sedation is much lighter and leaves the patient much more responsive.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rarebear I never even had it offered to me without sedation, but I admit I would choose sedation anyway.

But, a girlfriend of mine had a heart problem after a surgery under general and the doctors said it was unrelated. Anyway, when she needed knee surgery I asked her if she could have it done with a block. She went ahead and did it with general and now is disabled from a heart problem. Long story. Anyway, a doctor told me they probaly prefer patients under general because they definitely won’t move and won’t get freaked out. My sister and mom had their nose jobs under local, and no one gets that done that I know of anymore. My mom insisted for my sister, the doctor didn’t want to do it. That’s why I thought maybe the do tors orefer it. Funny, I am really angry they didn’t out me out with diprivan for my egg retrieval. Very painful and part of the reason I didn’t do another IVF. Later I found out they put people out all the time for that procedure. I am still very distraught that I did not get the option, because it was one of series of very bad things I went through regarding my fertility.

@Lightlyseared What country are you in?

talljasperman's avatar

@all I am also afraid that I would crap my pants on the ride home… I bought some guards and shields and they don’t cover enough of the buttocks to block diarrhea. My landlord took back the full sized ones for her use.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@talljasperman by that point there won’t be anything in you to crap your pants with.

JLeslie's avatar

@talljasperman For me that has never been an issue. By the time the coloscopy is over the bad urge to go is over. I don’t think I even have diarrhea after the procedure. The sedation probably slows everything down, including other body systems, and the meds you take for the prep are already waring off. I’m sure everyone is different though.

Rarebear's avatar

@Lightlyseared thats not exactly true. When I do colonoscopies I put in a lot of air and water. It’s certainly possible to have some wet farts.

Seek's avatar

@talljasperman

Are your parents around? I know you’re living separate, but can they give you a ride? It sucks having a procedure then having to take care of yourself afterwards.

I definitely think you should either organize a ride or a cab. There’s no way walking or biking ten miles after a sedated colonoscopy is a good idea.

talljasperman's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr My mom lives 500 miles away and doesn’t have a car. I will ask the landlady to come with me and pick a good time for the both of us. I have to call the dr. office to uncancel the appointment. I can’t rely on the rest of my family, just yet.

bea2345's avatar

Ask for more specific information. Why does the doctor want a colonoscopy? There are risks to the procedure and these should be explained to you. Have you had a stool test? (after a certain age you should have this done yearly). Is an MRI or a CT scan an option for you? Those procedures are much less intrusive.

snowberry's avatar

Yes @bea2345 is right. Lots of people say there is “no risk”, but that just ain’t so. The risk is a perforated colon, which is extremely serious business. Find out why the docs think this thing must be done, ask lots and lots and lots of questions. Then choose.

Judi's avatar

There is a virtual colonoscopy using MRI but I was at be radiologist office when two people were having them and in my opinion it seemed more miserable than a real one. They still had to prep and they still pumped them up with air. The only difference is that they didn’t anesthetize them and they didn’t stick a probe up there.
I don’t remember a thing from my real colonoscopy except my tummy was a bit cramped and I had some pretty good farts.

snowberry's avatar

LOL I didn’t remember a thing either, but when I woke up I had a few things to say to the hospital where it was performed. Who knew you had to educate hospital staff on how to do the job properly before they put you out? http://www.fluther.com/159044/i-just-had-a-colonoscopy-now-i-have-what-looks-like/

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi I didn’t realize it could be done with MRI, I thought it was a CT scan. I’m glad you wrote that, because my mom has the virtual done, I hope it was an MRI.

talljasperman's avatar

I was hoping for the pill camera. It seems less invasive.

Unbroken's avatar

Right it is less invasive @talljasperman but if they need to biopsy anything they need to go back and do it anyway.

I just had my first yesterday. What I would do next time is to take two days off of work. My physical job and not eating put me off to a bad start and even though I had chicken broth and tons of tea I was combatting low blood sugar before work was over.

The procedure I was partially sedated. They gave me some to start but they didn’t give me any more and I was slowly waking up I never asked for more. And the procedure was less traumatic then I thought.

I did have some hydromorphone hoarded from a previous procedure and once I got home I took one for cramping and grogginess. Fell asleep and woke up feeling great.

I might start doing colon cleanses everynow and again. It feels good to be cleaned out.

Absolutely the worst part was the prep. But still it was not as bad I thought.

talljasperman's avatar

@Unbroken I was told that I would have to drink a gallon of disgusting charcoal laced water.

bea2345's avatar

@talljasperman – It is a little troubling that so many answers in this thread seem to ignore the risks. The National Institutes of Health lists four: perforation of the bowel, heavy bleeding from the biopsy or the removal of polyps, infection, reactions to the drugs to make the patient relax (breathing problems, low blood pressure). Take @snowberry‘s advice and ask lots and lots of questions.

Unbroken's avatar

Actually the stuff didn’t taste so bad. It wasn’t activated charcoal. I think it was a magnesium sodium blend.

And sure there are risks. But the doctors don’t recommend it and insurance doesnt approve it under the age of 50 without good reason.

I did it because I had been sick for two months and had explored all the noninvasive options to just find abnormalities… Continuing on seemed ridiculous. The doctor I went to was my pcp and he does them two days a week. You just have to weigh the odds.

talljasperman's avatar

@All Update .. I have another appointment on July 4 at 12noon and I am getting a ride.

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