Do I need an endoscopy and colonoscopy?

After years of problems with digestive issues and weight loss of between 2 and 3 stones,my GP referred me to hospital. The consultant did not examine me but looked at previous test results and is confident I am not Coeliac as I can eat bread and that test was clear. He feels it is most likely severe IBS but has suggested an endoscopy and colonoscopy. If they are clear he proposes low dose anti depressant and a referral to a dietician. I am less than keen on the proposed tests. I realise that if I avoid some foods I can cope with antispasmodics and also that stress is a significant trigger. Sadly my family life means stress is unavoidable.

I am very tempted to cancel the tests and ask to try the low dose anti depressant route first. I think the fact that I can have weeks with no issues suggests it is IBS rather than anything sinister. Would my GP be able to try this or do have to stick with what the consultant advised? I admit I am being a little cowardly here, but genuinely am not convinced it's worth the stress of the tests!!

13 Replies

  • I would go for the tests, I have had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy and to be honest thay are not that bad, have the sedative in your hand to relax you, at lease having the tests done will rule out Coeliac and other diseases, after my tests It was found I did have Coeliac disease, I have been fne since sticking to a Gluten free diet, however recently I have been getting pain in my lower abdomen almost daily, I have been examined by 5 different doctors had blood tests, stool and water samples taken all came back normal, I,m now waiting to see my Gastro again and a dietician. I have IBS Symptoms with the pain but bowel movements are quite normal. would say again have the tests for piece of mind its not that bad.

  • Eventually you will need a colonoscopy if you are over 50. I finally succeeded in completing one because I found a kindly and understanding GI doctor. Result: no polyps or cancer but widespread diverticulosis, understandable since I also have Parkinson's. But the spot that causes the pain is still unexplained. I am not giving up!!!!

  • The blood tests for coeliac are just a screening tool, and the diagnosis is usually made on the basis of the endoscopy. I think it is pretty unusual to find doctors that will diagnose without the endoscopy. Unfortunately, a negative blood test result doesn't rule out coeliac disease and if you have "red flag" symptoms like weight loss, then they will often want to investigate anyway. The fact that you can eat bread is neither here nor there... the body adapts to eating the stuff as best it can, even if it's doing serious damage inside, and sometimes there are no obvious symptoms. The endoscopy procedure is a bit stressful, but it's actually over quite quick, and has no lasting ill effects.

    I wasn't very keep on the idea of having a colonscopy either, so my gastro proposed that I do something called a fecal calprotectin test. This test just requires a stool sample, and it is sometimes used to screen people to decide who should go forward for a colonscopy. If the result comes back high, then this is a sign of inflammation that warrants further investigation. If you do this, you should probably submit the sample during one of your bad days... you don't need a test to tell you that a good day is a good day, you want it to show what's going on during a bad day. My result was normal, so no colonscopy for me.

  • I think you should go for the tests if im honest, its not all Gps who offer to do them due to cots, but its a good way to rule out anything more sinister is going on.Dont be scared of these tests. i had a colonoscopy late last year it really wasnt that bad in fact compared to my ibs symptoms it was a walk in the park!

    Also anti depressants seem to be a standard route that gps are taking which i dont agree with, what you really need is reassurance that it is just ibs and you need a good diet and pain management. x

  • hi i had test done 8 weeks ago for ibs-d . it showed that i have a small tear in stomach which i am having treated and wouldn't have know about without tests, next week i'm going for a C T scan to see if anything shows up . i've been house bound with ibs-d for 20 yrs i don't get good days . but there is always someone worse than me.. i think if your offered the chance to have these test take them even just to rule out things. they might not be offered again . the test only last about 30 minutes and you can be sedated . read some of the other post and i think it will put your mind at ease about tests. good luck with what ever you choose to do . trishy . Ireland

  • I have had a similar situation to yourself but in reverse. Last year found to have severe anaemia so was tested for coeliac disease by blood test then had endosocopy and colonoscopy with sedation these procedures were absolutely fine. The anticipation of what might happen was much worse than the reality of the procedure. Anyway was diagnosed with coeliac disease and now follow a gluten-free diet. Never had gut problems before following the diet and have been told I have IBS. If you've been offered proper testing go for it at least if there is anything physical you can get it sorted. I'm now in the position of having tried anti-depressants for about a month ended up in a zombie state and found that the tablets had a really bad effect on me and my life. Still suffering the IBS symptoms but don't really have any answers. I think you're fortunate to have been offered the tests, if you don't have them done it may be always be in the back of your mind. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • Thank you for all your lovely, helpful answers. I think you have convinced me to have the tests but will be insisting on the sedation - not sure if it's automatic when they do both!

    I found the suggestion that the consultant's conviction that it can't be coeliac could be wrong as I can eat bread very interesting. The first problems I had were with pasta and pastry, and I now can't eat a wide range of things including cakes, sauces and pizza but also things like peas, beetroot, garlic and eggs so it's a bit confusing. I have a FODMAP diet sheet off the internet and some of that works although I can eat cheese and yoghurt and drink milk with no problems.

    I do eat a few gluten things I missed ( fish fingers and pizza and the odd cake!) but am very careful that I only eat things I am 100% sure of if I am not at home which is quite limiting.

  • Really nteresting what the consultant said about bread. I happily ate bread for years but always felt nauseous when eating pizza and pasta no idea why there should be such a difference. I used to justify it to myself that I didn't like stodgy things turned out I had coeliac disease ....

    Just another thought you do need to be regularly eating gluten ie every day when you have the endosocopy done. Might pay to look at the Health unlocked site 'gluten free guerrillas they have loads of helpful info.

  • I did wonder about whether I needed to be eating it before the tests. I am still eating bread and some other foods but do avoid the things I know will get a quick reaction ( I will never, ever eat a doughnut again!).

  • hi. i was told to only eat white bread, boiled chicken or fish and hard cheese , also no caffeine drinks and plenty of water or clear fluids., starting 3 days before tests, then fast from the morning before test until test finished . trishy from Ireland

  • Think your self lucky [and i mean that very loosely excuse the pun] that your getting a thorough check . I got a barium x ray a diagnosis of stress related IBS after keeping the mandatory food diary for months and nothing i ate or drink made symptoms better or worse. mild antidepressants,

    loperamide and see you when ever but don't rush back because there is no cure.

    and i don't get break s in between bouts of having to go to the loo before i dare leave the house in the morning and being like this actually makes me feel like i need the mild anti depressants although i don't actually feel depressed so depends who your doctor is and how serious he takes you condition,because believe me some just think get on with it its not going to kill you

  • I have to have an endoscopy next week. I was really bothered about the prospect last time I was offered it some years ago and refused to have it, but since then I've been in hospital a few times and had to have all sorts of procedures including having a catheter in and having to use bedpans and I don't think I've got any embarrassment or fear left of medical procedures now. I will take the sedation and I'll be very glad when it's over because my GP scared me by his reaction to my IBS symptoms because I'm over 50 and 'in the danger zone for bowel cancer'!

    Fortunately the consultant was very kind and reassuring and made it seem like no big deal having tests to find out what's going on. The mebeverine the GP gave me has helped the IBS symptoms but I didn't realise that the consultant would look at other possible causes of my symptoms such as coeliac and thryroid deficiency.

    Hospital doctors are very scientific about diagnosis nowadays so I think I might as well give them as much information as possible in case there's something that can be sorted out.

  • I would say do what feels right for you.

    You know your own body and if it feels right go for it but if not dont.

    I know lifes not that simple but it all up to you.

    ( sorry im not being helpful.. but im all about what right for ourselves )

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