Endometriosis UK
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Horrendous flexible sigmoidoscopy

Hi,

So today I had a flexible sigmoidoscopy to rule out anything significant bowel related to try and explain some bleeding and mucus along with the usual IBS symptoms and some inflammation detected in my bloods. I really wasn't too worried about it at all, a colleague had had one and said it had been fine. I was therfore not prepared for the excruciating pain I experienced whilst the consultant was trying to get up round the top corner of my intestine, by my stomach. Suddenly in tears, swearing (unlike me!) biting on the gas and air tap and squeezing the nurse's hand like billio wanting it to stop immediately. My shock, discomfort and embarrassment of having created such a fuss after being reassured it would just be 'uncomfortable' was heightened by hearing the consultant say to the nurse as I was being wheeled away 'it's always the young ones...' (making a fuss). Anyway, apart from being annoyed and upset about that, I'm more curious about why I was in an inordinate amount of pain, the worst of my life so far. Looking on here I can't find anyone else who has described it as such? Any thoughts and similar personal experiences would be much appreciated X

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I had it done last year, everyone told me who had it done that it's not painful.. omg it hurt on the bend felt like I was being torn and blown up from the inside, soon as he got round the bend it was fine.. never want it again.

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Thanks so much for replying and helping me to feel it wasn't just me! Agreed - never agreeing to it if needed in the future without sedation!!

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I've had a colonoscopy and a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Was told the flexible sigmoidoscopy is not painful just uncomfortable. I'm in the same boat as you it is without a doubt the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I will not be having it again unless they sedate me. And the pain I was in afterwards was excruciating. Ended up in A&E xx

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I was sedated and it still freaking hurt :( I'm amusing it was because my bowels are stuck to my pelvis wall. "shudder"

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Please see response below to Pandora Penguin

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You poor thing! It is horrid isn't it!! Hope it didn't take you too long to recover after. Can I ask if you have other issues in your pelvic area? I'm wondering if the intensity of the pain is perhaps linked to this in line with Lovisa's experience xx

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Please see response below to Pandora Penguin

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I had one of these done on Friday as well. Was the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. 2 lots of sedation and gas and air and a could still feel it going round the bend. Dr told me there was nothing wrong. So glad there's others out there that found the pain excruciating!

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You poor thing! Although not nice to know of people suffering it's reassuring isn't it to know it isn't just us that found it so awful. Mind you, if I'd have known beforehand I might have refused so at least it's done!

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And can I ask too if you are aware of other difficulties in your pelvic area it might be related to like Lovisa above?

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I have endometriosis but after my surgery my consultant didn't tell me where abouts it was found and didn't write to my doctor to tell her either. So I'm assuming it's on my bowel as I do have a load of problems with bowel movements etc

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I hope you get the answers soon, you need to know don't you! My GP thinks I could be the same and was checking bowel before taking me down the endometriosis pathway. How are you feeling now? X

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Please see response below to Pandora Penguin

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I have had 2...1 during my endo flare up was excruciating and so so painful...one 3 weeks later at a different point in my cycle and it was a breeze no pain at all and barely uncomfortable! Sounds like there was no sympathy from your operator at all :(

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You poor thing having to face another after the first experience! Glad it was so much better. Yes, I was already a bit traumatised by the shock of the pain and it did tip me over the edge. Being encouraged by family and friends to make a complaint X

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The chap i had for the first one was sympathetic to pain and stopped it. He actually said for most people it is painless but for those with bowel /rectovaginal endo even if it has not penetrated the bowel wall it can be very painful.

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It sounds like he knew his stuff, thankfully. I really wanted it to stop but they assured me with gas and air they could continue and it would be fine.... it wasn't! I'm goimg to look into how I could raise this in the best way so they look at their procedures again. Sedation was briefly mentioned but two medical professionals both said it was basically unnecessary. I think it looks like for some women it is just 'uncomfortable' as you are prepared for, but for others it can be horrendous. And I don't think this is properly accounted for. Thanks so much to you and everyone sharing their experiences, has helped me to commit to trying to get something done about it X

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Please see response below to Pandora Penguin

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I think I was always asleep so just felt some pain for a day or two after. I am Suprised they kept you up for that procedure. They also gave me medicine to help forget. I think that might of been with a colonoscopy though.

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Thanks for responding and sorry to hear you were in pain for a few days after but sounds on the whole like it was well managed for you. Please see my reply to Toria77 above X

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I had a barium enema a few years ago and that was traumatic as it wasn't done right and incredibly painful. I thought I was going to explode. The staff kept saying it shouldn't be that bad and treating me like a nuisance. I had already warned them I was sure I had adhesions to my bowel. I was dispatched as normal. Only when I got to a BSGE Centre and had a lap did they find that I did have adhesions to bowel plus endo in Pouch of Douglas

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You poor thing, it sounded as horrendous as my experience. I felt I couldn't make it stop as well for fear of being even more of a nuisance than I already felt. My sister who was with me and felt so strongly about my visible distress she has activated a complaint on my behalf. I spoke to a wonderful woman today at PALS who has advised I take a formal route if I want the possibility of my desired outcome - for them to look at the whole process and why they don't explain how painful some women can find it to help them make informed choices about pain relief options. If I anonomise responses would you be ok for me to include your feedback in general terms? No worries if not though, no pressure 😃

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That sounds so awful but also really interesting. I got passed off as normal with mine too. Do yous know if there is a bsge centre in Newcastle? I've tried googling it but nothing is coming up

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Determined to try and make a difference somehow! Think you might be in luck - bsge.org.uk/centre/ seems to be one there!

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I had one a couple of years ago when I was still trying to get a diagnosis. Had it with no sedation or pain relief because they told me I wouldn't need it. First corner under left rib was incredibly painful.

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Please see response to Pandora Penguin

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Oh my the corners pain!! I had this on monday. ouchy.

You are not the only one. But lots of people find it easy - my dad has a sigmoidoscopy with many polyps removed and didnt even need gas and air.

I however fainted in the toilet with the enema and had to pull the red cord in the bathroom for the nurse to come and rescue me from the toilet. The pain and fainting feeling from the enema alone was bad enough. I then went to the loo a second time and the same thing happened. I can only assume my bowel cannot cope with suddenly being unnaturally expanded with liquid enema and caused crazy pain.

I have given birth and found that a breeze compared with bowel pain. I have never been diagnosed with endo. Got appointment in June with gynae but I have had period pain, ovulation pain, bowel pain, peeing blood, depression, fatigue - lots of endo symptoms since puberty.

During actual sigmoidoscopy I was squirming and scratching the pillow and relying heavily on the lovely entonox. I thought they must have perforated my bowel from the pain but all was fine. completely normal results.

Your experience and others above makes me think i have bowel endo or adhesions and i actually just posted myself on here as i also had vaginal spotting after and it seems to have triggered early period. did you find the same?

Has your endo been diagnosed? where is it?

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Aw you poor thing, that sounds totally horrendous! I had bowel prep at home in two doses and although it wasn't very pleasant it was much more manageable than yours sounds bless you. I'm sorry, I'm not diagnosed although my GP and new gynae both think bowel related Endo is a possibility. I'm starting prostap, menopause injections, on Friday to see if this calms down the symptoms so they can decide next steps, but sounds like a laparoscopy is probably in the offing either which way. I have had residual pain from the sigmoidoscopy on Sat but no spotting or early period. Hope you are feeling ok and keep me posted on next steps x

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Kirst625 thanks for your reply.

Hope the drugs help your symptoms.

I expect we will both need a lap.

I was offered a lap years ago for possible endo but terrified of even minor surgery so tried reflexology, diet changes, painkillers etc and then pregnancy and breastfeeding stopped the period pain. Now it's all back with a vengeance hence the bottom camera fun and awaiting gynae appointment.

Good luck if you have a lap! And impressed you did the bowel prep at home. Hope your GP and gynae are nice and open minded. It's so much easier when they seem to be listening to you.

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I think you're right about both needing laps. Good luck with your journey and keep me posted. Yes, thankfully after many years of feeling fairly belittled and a nuisance I have found a diamond of a GP and the second Gynae I saw was very good too (first dismissive as IBS so have requested I see second one again) First injection today and have had a few heart palpitations this afternoon so will keep you posted equally X

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