This week I had my first ever Endoscopy & Colonoscopy. How exciting (Not!) Both procedures are very important & a common way to help diagnose certain medical conditions. From IBS to Coeliac Disease to Crohn’s Disease & all manner of other things in between!
The Day Before in 5 Steps!
1) No Food All Day – Just Clear Liquids – I stuck with water all day.
2) At 5pm prepare & start drinking first Moviprep solution – this is 1 litre of water mixed with Sachet A & Sachet B from your packet.
(There is A LOT of Moviprep powder so make sure you have a big enough jug to mix it in & make sure it is fully dissolved in the water.)
3) Over the next 2 hours drink the full litre of Moviprep PLUS another 500ml of water.
4) At 9pm prepare your second Moviprep solution – exactly the same as the first. Drink over 2 hours with another 500ml of water.
5) Once you feel like you no longer need the toilet, sleep!
The Endoscopy / Colonoscopy Experience!
So…. on Monday I went to Trafford General Hospital to have a dreaded Endoscopy & Colonoscopy. I found out I would be having this done about 6 weeks ago when I was still living in Manchester; since then we have moved back down south to Essex but nevertheless I decided come what may, I would make my appointment in Manchester!
Fortunately, The Allergy & Free From Show Scotland happened over the weekend before my Endoscopy & Colonoscopy in Glasgow, so we were able to hit two birds with one stone by travelling up north for both at the same time! (I know Glasgow & Manchester aren’t that close.. but as a southerner they are both ‘up north’ to me!)
The Allergy & Free From Show was a great way to take my mind off the fact I had two fairly grim procedures coming up. We only went for the Saturday as on the Sunday, we returned to Manchester for ‘hospital preparation mode’! Basically, when you have an Endoscopy & Colonoscopy there is a degree of preparation you need to make sure you have done prior to the procedure. So on Sunday I was not allowed to eat anything at all! (I made sure my ‘Last Supper’ on Saturday night was an epic gluten free pizza in Glasgow!) All I was really allowed to have all day was clear fluids so my diet on the Sunday before consisted of water, water & more water. Oh the fun.
I was really hungry initially, but as I’m sure you have found in the past, after a while the hunger wears off. I was quite content relaxing all day, until the dreaded 5pm chimed on the clock. It was the start of laxative hell! Basically, a few weeks prior to your procedures you are sent a package of laxatives to take the day before your appointment. I think the medication can differ depending on the person, but I was provided with Moviprep. Within my box of Moviprep there were two large packets each containing 2 sachets.
One of the sachets was HUGE, the other a little smaller. I had to pour both sachets from the first packet into a jug & then pour in 1 litre of water. Over the course of the next 2 hours I had to drink this mixture alongside a further half litre of water. Oh my god, it was horrible. The solution was really thick, even though the powder had fully dissolved. It was seriously hard to swallow, I dreaded every mouthful!
Once I had completed the first litre of the mixture, I spent much of my time on or near the toilet – as you might expect with that much laxative! It was not pleasant but at least I knew it was working. The worst thing though was at 9pm I had to repeat the whole thing again. The other packet of sachets needed to be poured into a jug with a litre of water & drunk over 2 hours. (When I say a lot of powder I mean A LOT of powder, its probably around 150g worth of powder dissolved!) The second litre, I guess I knew what to expect more which made me dread it more, but, at least I knew it was nearly over! Once I downed the final bit, I was pretty ecstatic!
After this I just had to relax & stay awake until I stopped needing the loo. This didn’t take too long & I finally got to sleep about midnight. I had heard many people say they were unable to sleep the night before because they constantly need the loo, this wasn’t the case for me luckily! I actually got quite a good nights sleep!
The morning of my hospital appointment I woke up gasping for some water, however, I was actually not allowed to drink anything in the morning, not even water. & of course, I wasn’t allowed to eat still too. I found the morning quite tough, as I was feeling quite weak. My appointment was at 10:10am so we made sure we left for the hospital in good time. The hospital I attended had a separate endoscopy unit. Upon arrival I checked in & was taken by a nurse to answer a few questions about how I had managed my prep, some general health questions (blood pressure/heart rate) & also most importantly, to give details of who would be looking after me post procedure (as I was having sedation this is important).
I then was taken through to get changed into some very flattering hospital underwear (with a lovely open bum flap!) & some hospital gowns – very stylish of course!! Next up I had a cannula placed in my arm so that my sedation could be easily put in me later on & any other pain killers. Once that was all done, I went through to the waiting room until it was my turn!
My consultant arrived shortly after to take me through a number of consent forms & the risks of the procedures. Hey, their are risks with everything! Once this was done I was taken through to the room where the endoscopy & colonoscopy were to take place. I must admit, this being my first time, I was pretty anxious!
There were 3 nurses present plus the consultant who performed the procedure. Everyone was incredibly friendly & we spent the first 5 minutes chatting about socks… seeing as I did have some rather snazzy ones on my feet.
I then lay down on the bed. One of the nurses sprayed some liquid against the back of my throat. I then had to swallow. It didn’t taste very nice, quite chemical like, but quite banana like at the same time. I then had a few more sprays and my throat pretty much went entirely numb. It is a weird feeling, but not uncomfortable. You can still breathe fine.
I then had a mouth guard to bite on to with a hole in it (I presume this is where the tube when!). I then had sedation put into my arm through the cannula; I remember saying ‘oh I do actually feel sleepy’ & then…. I remember nothing of the procedure whatsoever. By the next time that I remember anything, the endoscopy was over. I was so relieved as that was what I was most nervous about.
Immediately after this I had the colonoscopy. For this I seem to remember everything. The beginning is a little hazy but then all I remember is pain! I don’t think this is the case for most people at all. A lot of people have said they found it fine. For me however, it was real agony. I had to have some extra painkillers, but they didn’t seem to help. The colonoscopy takes quite a lot longer than the endoscopy because it takes quite some time to manoeuvre the camera around your intestines.
My consultant said throughout my colonoscopy that my intestines were very small, tight and it was incredibly difficult to get round corners – which is why it was so painful! It felt like the most severe form of trapped wind I have ever experienced. I was so glad when it was over (although it lasted even longer than usual due to a faulty scope half way through meant it had to be started again!!). I definitely do not fancy having a colonoscopy again anytime soon!
Once to procedures were done I was wheeled back through into recovery where they recommended I slept for a little while, whilst the sedation wears off. I actually felt fine and not sleepy at all, so I didn’t sleep.
They brought me a plate of delicious, hot, gluten free toast. Honestly, that and the glass of water I received were the nicest things ever. It felt like such a treat after all those hours without food & water. I was over the moon! Once I had finished my toast, I had all the blood pressure, heart rate & temperature checks again before my cannula was removed. I then got changed & was ready to leave within about 15 minutes!
I had a chat about possible side effects with the nurse & got some general details about the test too, before I was let loose! Mark had to come & collect me as you need somebody to look after you for 24 hours after sedation. All in all it was actually a very quick procedure. We went back to our hotel, grabbed some lunch & continued the day as normal. A massive Nandos helped the hunger at dinner time!
Overall the procedure was very quick & easy. I wouldn’t say it was painless – the colonoscopy for me personally was horrible and I hope never to have one again! However the endoscopy was a breeze & I would have one everyday if I actually had to!! I must say the worst thing though is the preparation. The drink you have the night before your procedure is probably one of the most foul things ever… be prepared!
Overall though, it isn’t THAT bad really. It is definitely a worthwhile procedure for so many people. If you are offered it, don’t turn it down… there must be a reason for it. I’ve lived to tell the tale! I will get my results back in a few weeks. They took some biopsies, so they need to be tested in the laboratory. I hope it shows something up, but nothing super serious. It is very frustrating not having any answers for the pain I constantly have!
Fingers crossed I get some results & fingers crossed you do too, if YOU have one done! Please let me know your stories of having an endoscopy & a colonoscopy. How did you find the procedures? Have you had one but not the other? What results came from it? & was it painful?! Just drop a comment below, or on Facebook/Twitter.
Thanks for reading & watching!