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Is Gastroscopy/Colonoscopy painful- with and without sedation

Updated on March 31, 2012

If you have gone to the doctor with severe and consistant pain the abdorman, he may direct you to Gastroenterologists for Gastroscopy or/and Colonoscopy. In Gastroscopy what they does is a thin, flexible fibre-optic instrument that is passed through the mouth and allows the doctor to see whether there is any damage to the lining of the oesophagus (gullet) or stomach, and whether there are any ulcers in the stomach or duodenum. Where as Colonoscopy examines the large colon and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or afibre opticcamera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. It may provide a visual diagnosis (e.g. ulceration, polyps) and grants the opportunity for biopsy or removal of suspected lesions.

In Gastroscopy, the procedure is painless and is usually done under a light sedative as a day-case patient in a specialised endoscopy unit. Occasionally, after a discussion with the endoscopist, the procedure will be performed without sedation. When sedation is used, the patient will not be able to drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day. When done without sedation, the endoscopist will spray the back of the throat with a local anestetic. This is similar to the anaesthetic used by dentists. It numbs the throat and may make it difficult to swallow. When sedation is used, it is not a full anaesthetic and the patient will still be conscious and aware. A nurse will lie the patient on their left side and the endoscopist will then gently place the end of the instrument into the mouth and ask the patient to swallow it, which feels like swallowing a large piece of food.

My experience

When I underwent Gastroscopy, I preferred without sedation. When they passed the tube thorugh my mouth I was having pain and always felt like puking. But the whole process took just 5 minutes and I was out.

In the case of Colonoscopy, I was under sedition, so I really dont know what happened. They gave me an injection that made me sleep and when I got up they told everything is fine. In the case of colonoscopy, the main difficulty is before the process. You cannot take solid food for one day. The night before the process, you have to drink about 3 liters of some salt water (the doctor will give you this when you go for the appointment and remember, you have not taken anything solid on that day) and the three bottles has to be completed in 4 hrs. When you start drinking this salt water, you have to always run to the toilet and it will go on for 3 hrs. All that you drank comes out and that too like water comming out when you open a tap, interesting but quite boring. The next morning you get up you will feel your stomach is completly empty.

The most annoying thing is, after doing both colonoscopy and gastroscopy, doctor will say you have no problem. This was in most of the cases.


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