Endoscopy: Hi there, sorry not been on... - British Liver Trust

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Kezman61 profile image

Hi there, sorry not been on for a while, but would like a little advice! I am petrified (which fuels my alcohol intake, stupid i know). My liver consultant is sending me for endoscopy, i have a terrible gag reflex and have been for 2 previously. The first one i was sedated and have no recollection of it, but the 2nd one was just spray down my throat which was useless, i kept struggling but they just held me down! However when i told my consultant he said just tell them to stop (easier said than done)! He is concerned that i have varices, so if i do ask them to stop i will not know one way or the other. I am just wondering if anyone out there has had similar feeling of endoscopies! Thank you for reading!😩😖😬x

38 Replies

Hi Kez -

It is the only procedure - well apart from a colonoscopy- that I really hate. You just ask them to give you as much sedative as possible. You really really then shouldn’t feel or remember anything at all. Worked for me after the second time no sedative disaster. I agreed with them that if I raised my arm they would stop! Luckily after the sedative method I haven’t had to 👍.

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to ThreeSmiles

Without a doubt opt for sedation !

Good luck and please lay off the booze, it certainly will not help anything


ThreeSmiles profile image
ThreeSmiles in reply to Laura009

Hi Laura - I think you meant to reply to Kez - not me. But I will undoubtably follow your rules!!

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to ThreeSmiles

Oh yes ... silly me !!

ThreeSmiles profile image
ThreeSmiles in reply to Laura009


Agreeing a signal is such a great idea. When I had mine done at another hospital, they wouldn't give me the level of sedation I was used to, so in the end I woke up too early for them to finish the job and had to go back.

Wish I'd thought of a signal, although now I'm thinking of how annoyed I was at them not listening, I'm not sure my signal would have been allowed. 😃

Hahaha - except I know it’s not really hahaha - but I get exactly what you mean!! Let’s hope they sort out your sedation properly next time! As you already know it makes a humongous difference....l

Just insisted on going back to my original Consultant who just cracks on with it and does a great job. Glad they've always insisted on me being on their list, saved me a lot of hassle. 😊

I think most people feel like this about endoscopies, but insist you want sedation, I can't think of a reason why they would refuse you. I am always asked. My original Consultant always does them and only once have I remembered anything. I would recommend focusing on something nice ( holiday or something of that sort) to take your mind off it. It does depend who does them though. I had two done at a different hospital( my new Consultant insisted) and they took forever, twittering on and talking to me.

After that I insisted on going back to my original hospital and that's where I get them done now. Find someone you're happy with and ask to be on their list. But if you have varices, you need to know, otherwise untreated they can bleed and that will be worse than the endoscopy I'm afraid.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but some things can't be avoided. Maybe try hypnosis? Good luck.

Oh my God, i just hate Endoscopies.

They should have stopped the procedure if you were struggling, because its dangerous if you managed to grab the scope.

The 1st one i had was a disaster. I think they must have been having a bad day. The Doctors was trying to get the scope down my throat before he gave me any sedation. It was only because the Nurse stopped him and reminded him that I hadn't had any.

But they had to abort the procedure anyway because they said that I was a danger to myself and the staff, because I kept on trying to grab the scope

The 2nd time i had a different Doctor.

She was so much better.

They could see how stressed out i was, i couldn't stop shaking, i felt like crying.

I was given a lot of sedation this time

Can't remember anything about it after that.💤💤💤 So although I'd still be nervous about having it done again, i wouldn't be afraid like i was the last time.

Years ago I used to work in Theatre Recovery Ward and part of my job was to be with the Patients while they were having their Endoscopies, as inpatients though, not as outpatients. I used to think then, Oh God, i hope i never have to have that done. We never know whats around the corner

When you go for this one, ask them for as much sedation as possible. Tell them just how nervous you are. Concentrate on your breathing...

You'll be fine. Good Luck 👍.

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Endoscopies!!! I can usually remember what's happened but there was one time they used ketamin because the tube was wider., Best sleep in ages! The last one I had I asked for as much sedation as possible, I only remember gagging once, it worked a treat!! Love and hugs Lynne xxxx

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Hi Kezman,,

My husband avoided having one for a long time. He breezed through his in September but was sedated. It sounds like the route to go. Alcohol for me causes crazy anxiety. And it is a depressant. Hopefully, you can ditch it. Best wishes.

Hey Kez, I went for my first one right after being diagnosed with cirrhosis and having just been tapped for ascites--I was arsing terrified! They wheeled me into the procedure room and the doctor said "Now Liz, I'm going to spray the back of your throat with liquid and I want you to swallow." "Well Dr. Bookman" I replied "I'll tell you like I told my husband some 25 years back, it'll cost you at least a dinner and a few drinks."

He left the room to compose himself but the nurse was in tears.

I was offered the choice of sedation and the next thing I knew it was over.

Good luck. When all else fails--laugh.

Cheers, Liz

Liz!! What are you like! 😀

Hey, a girl's gotta have standards.

Clearly 😀

Love it!! :-) :-)

Kristian profile image
Kristian in reply to canadaliz

Hahaha, this has to be by far the best post ever on health unlocked!

Yep, no question, sedation every time!! Especially if they’re doing colonoscopy at the same time!! When the bloke asked me which method of pain relief I wanted I couldn’t say sedation fast enough - having ‘braved’ the spray before!!

Hi Kez,I had my first endoscopy 2 days ago ,which confirmed stage 2 varices .

I was a gibbering wreck for 3 days beforehand ,

My consultant suggested a trans nasal approach ,work local spray and sedation ,I very reluctantly agreed .Im not stupid and fully understand the importance of the procedure.The staff were great , my nurse tried to reassure me but to no avail .

The doctor performing the procedure was great advising me that I didn’t have to have the procedure if I felt so strongly about it.He suggested that another option was to swallow a capsule containing a camera that would take photos during its transit ,and “wait for it to pass”

I went ahead with the original plan of trans nasal approach ,

The staff were very supportive and reassuring , I was awake but the meds took the edge of my anxiety, and the procedure was over in 6-7 minutes. Apart from a few seconds of wrenching as the scope was removed , I tolerated it ok.

I totally understand you’re anxiety, NO one should be restrained for any medical procedure .... that would be assault .

I encourage you to share your anxieties and concerns with all the staff involved in your care .

Good luck x

Morning to you

I've had two first one was only with the spray because my dad had had one and said it wasn't that bad, you are supposed to trust your dad right ? Second time I asked for sedation so much better.

I'm like you I have bad gag reflex had to have that gnf and trying to get that tube up my nose was torture I would rather starve than have that again. Good luck and stay off the drink.


I tell the Dr I get violent and lash out if someone hurts me.

They make sure I am asleep!

NOT kidding, that's exactly how I put it.

Gjkas profile image
Gjkas in reply to Roy1955

Hey Roy ,you're not supposed to be asleep before youve swallowed the camera, because it's dangerous for you. Once you've swallowed it,no problems .

I have only had one and it was with no sedation. Not a pleasant procedure, I think the gas and belching was the worst part but at least it was over quickly and I could leave straightaway. I could probably tolerate it again but if I needed banding, I would definitely opt for sedation. Good luck and try to stay off alcohol in the days leading up to it.

There's no hiding that endoscopy is an unpleasant procedure and doctors often get the balance of sedative wrong (i.e. in my experience not enough of it). The spray is only there to numb your throat. I can remember on one occasion the doctor approaching me with the scope and me saying "I'm not asleep yet". The last one I had just before my TX, the doctor wanted to do it without any sedative due to my health at the time. We had quite a long discussion, but I had to let him go ahead. Not an experience I want to repeat.

So, there may be valid health reasons why sedative is unwise. You need to discuss with your doctor.

Best of luck. I really feel for you.

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Despite also suffering from gag reflex I didn't want to have to drag a responsible adult along with me to have sedation, plus I had to drive there & back. The positives :- Test was clear & 2yrs until the next + I got a quick exit. The negatives VERY VERY uncomfortable gagging, burping and drouling + that's when the Consultant announced the news You've got Cirrhosis. June 2019. I suppose your throat still hurts afterwards either way.👎

Thank you all ever so much for your replies, and may god be with you always, you are remarkable people with great advice, and i wish you all the very best! Will let you know how it goes! Also, i thought chirrosis was in stages 1-4, but my consultant goes by A-C and i was in category B? Anybody know what this means?😕

Many thanks

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Hidden in reply to Kezman61

Child Pugh score A is mild 5-6 points no acute symptoms Acities Varices etc.

B is moderate 7-9 & C most severe 10-15. As you can see point scores are close mild to moderate. Any symptoms raise your points. My cirrhosis is Score A however no varacies all clear is still 1 point rather than zero. 🤔

Hi Kwz, I know that they can't put you to sleep straight away because of you having to be able to swallow the camera.

If they tried to do it while you were asleep, they could do damage trying to get the scope down. But if you tell them how nervous you are and ask them if you can have as much sedation as possible.

By the time you've swallowed the camera, you'll most probably be asleep

anyway and won't remember anything about it. Try to concentrate on your breathing. In through your nose and out through your mouth. Try not to struggle if possible. They aren't supposed to hold you down anyway. . A good sedation makes all the difference. If they give you enough, you'll be out of it just after you've swallowed the scope anyway and you'll be in the land of Nod.

Good Luck. .👍

Hi there. Also struggled with endoscopy’s but as already mentioned ask to be sedated. I’d say If your doctor suspects varicie’s that you stop drinking now and never drink again before you bleed. And basically if he suspects varicies your on the road to being decompensated if your not already

I’m now eight months post TP and never touched a drop after my first bleed and haven’t again since.

Carry on drinking and it’ll put you on the same path as lots on here as it’s a well worn path and if your petrified now trust me when I tell you endoscopy’s are a walk in the park compared to bleeding internally. Wish you well. Paul

Kezman61 profile image
Kezman61 in reply to Popel

Thanks Popel, that's really hit a nerve and made me think more seriously now, as i am always looking at my Lambrini bottle and saying to myself "what do i chose, you or death", and i have so much to live for, my partner of 18 years (he is 68 yrs old, 10 years older than myself), and my 32 year old son! Thank you so much for your wise words!

Kezman61 profile image
Kezman61 in reply to Kezman61

Sorry, meant to say "you or life"! Really it's a no brainer!😘😳x P.S. Hope you are well!x

Popel profile image
Popel in reply to Kezman61

Hi your correct it is no brainer. You’ve got two choices here . You can carry on drinking whilst burying your head in the sand as I did. thinking I’ll be ok and in doing so you’ll open the gates to hell. Or you can take mine and other peoples advice and stop now. Wish I’d have had the for sight to look for this site prior to the first of my three bleeds and listened to advice from people who’ve been through this already but never did. and put my family as well as myself through hell. I was told once that first bleed kicks in you’ve got a life expectancy of five to six years after it. I was on my fifth year when I was listed and then transplanted and was extremely poorly and wouldn’t of seen this year out. Life’s a gift so live it. It’s not living it drinking yourself to oblivion. And hopefully after stopping you can reverse the damage you’ve already done to yourself. All the best . Paul

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Hi Kezman

I see you've received some great advice from many which you've now taken on board! No more booze 👍and if not the painful long road will lye ahead.

I too have had 2 Endoscopies within the last 2 years which I agree are not pleasant and both without sedation because like ' Ofeck'I wanted to go alone plus drive myself home ! You may think stubborn and you'll be correct in your thinking.

Hope all goes well Kezman and keep us updated.


Kezman61 profile image
Kezman61 in reply to Hidden

Will do, and thank you!x

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❤ take care !

Hi kezman61. I had the same problem with gagging, i kept pulling it out. I was sick everywhere. On my 3rd attempt. They sedated me and went down my nose. I had a mega nose bleed, but didnt feel a thing.

Keep it simple, ensure you are sedated. I have had this procedure 15+ times and am a champion gagger. Always happy to have it done because you know where you stand and not aware of any reason not to be sedated.

Best of luck with it.

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