Having colonoscopy and looking for advice - IBS Network

IBS Network

36,544 members12,264 posts

Having colonoscopy and looking for advice

ANB80 profile image

Hi All,

I have a colonoscopy booked for 2 weeks on Monday (19th), which is the first I have ever had. Was "diagnosed" by my GP back in 2006 but never had any tests for it, but recent mega flare-ups and a-like has made my GP now finally request a colonoscopy, which I am having privately.

Anyway, for those that have had a colonoscopy, my current worst fear of this is travelling from home to the hospital, which is about a 35 minute trip, after doing the "bowel clear out" prep. My fear is that I won't be able to make the journey without needing the toilet. But logically, my mind says your bowels should be empty so you shouldn't need to go. Could those that have done this please let me know what happened to them so I can prepare myself accordingly or rest my mind?

Also, many years ago I was also "diagnosed" with having Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), although no tests were ever performed. No, I am not diabetic. Had many tests for that over the years and always came back negative. Anyway, this is a big problem for me with following the prep for a colonoscopy. Is there anybody here who has had a colonoscopy and also suffers from Hypoglycaemia who could offer any advice?

Many thanks.

35 Replies

Hi! Your GP I am sure would have advised the Gastro of your history of Hypoglycaemia why don't you check with him/her?

With regard to the actual prep for cleansing the bowel it is important that all of it is taken so the bowel can be clearly seen. I was 30 mins away from the hospital where I had mine done. I took a spare pair of pants with me and a small pad-in case of wet wind, but fortunately I did not need them as you say the bowel is empty. The clinical staff understand your concerns and discretion is the word. The procedure will be over before you know it. Good Luck and let us know how you get on

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Linley

Hi Linley,

No, my GP did NOT say anything to the Gastro about my history of Hypoglycaemia. In fact, it appears as though they have never recorded it. The GP that diagnosed me with it many years ago just dismissed my issues as being Hypoglycaemia. Personally, I don't think I have Hypoglycaemia specifically but something similar.

Thanks for sharing your experience, it has certainly helped.

Hi I've had 4 coloscopies. The prep is usually done the day before procedure and it clears you out by evening. Also you have to fast after that. Believe me by the next morning there is nothing left in your system. Hopefully your procedure goes the same. The whole thing from the prep to the procedure isn't so bad. The first time I was nervous but afterwards I realized I was stressed for nothing. Good luck and try not to worry.

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to LooseStool


According to the info I have been given, because my colonoscopy is in the afternoon my prep starts at lunch time the day before and I need to take a dose of Moviprep at 7pm the night before and 6 am the morning of the procedure. So I am expecting more "clear out" on the day. But I have been hearing from a few people that they have had different preps to this. One person said they had to prep 3 days before!

Fasting is going to be my biggest issue now.

Thanks for sharing your experience, it has certainly helped.

Hi ANB80

I've had a colonoscopy 2 years ago and I too suffer with non-diabetic Hypoglycaemia.

As others have said the prep is completed the day before. I travelled from London to Brighton on the train after my procedure so I would not be concerned about a half an hour journey.

You do not say if there are particular circumstances for your hypo's to trigger. I can fast without a problem and my regular eating habits are dinner by 6 pm, breakfast at 8 am. My problem is after eating.

Thankfully this does not happen very often but my crashes are deep! I had a glucose tolerance test and my BS dropped to 1.1 mmol/l. No one could understand how I did not pass out! An MRI revealed a healthy Pancreas and the rest of my endocrine tests are normal (Though try and argue 'sub clinical' and you are fighting a losing battle!).

I am looking at exocrine function as some of my pancreatic enzymes are low. I have always thought that my Hypo's are triggered by particular foods. certain grains (containing gluten) and wheat pasta certainly are not kind to me.

I have SIBO so fructans might be an enemy but I am still conducting a reintroduction of these sugars in my FODMAP diet. I am non celiac and do not react to spelt sourdough bread which is high in gluten but low in fructans.

Take some food with you for after the colonoscopy and carry some emergency supplies in case you have an attack. Glucose water might not invalidate the bowel cleanse? I would get some advice from the GI doing the observation before the day.

Good luck

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to David_Atlarge

Hi David,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I am glad to hear someone else here has non-diabetic Hypoglycaemia. Although, I am not 100% convinced I have this. Many years ago I described my symptoms to my GP and she just dismissed it as Hypoglycaemia. No tests, no further analysis, no help, nothing. From talking to my Gastro about this he didn't think I had Hypoglycaemia either but something similar, but it isn't his area of expertise.

To answer your question about hypo triggers, it happens when my stomach starts to get empty. I can eat anything but then as my stomach empties my sugar levels drop, and if I don't eat or drink something then they plummet and I start sweating and shaking and going dizziness. I have only ever passed out once. From your experience of Hypoglycaemia does this sound like it or something else?

The gastro mentioned having energy drinks or water with sugar but whenever I have energy drinks or energy tablets I have a burst of energy but then crash very shortly afterwards. but I'll be taking these with me in case I need them.

Once I have got my colonoscopy out of the way and found an answer to my recent health issues (bowels/IBS) I think I will try to get sorted with my apparent Hypoglycaemia.


David_Atlarge profile image
David_Atlarge in reply to ANB80

GP's! Some good, some awful!

Ask what evidence she is using to come up with this 'diagnosis'. Just hypoglycaemia? She maintains that's ok?

Why not buy a blood glucose monitor. Cheap enough on Amazon. Get some readings, take the machine in to show the results and ask where it is written in the science that a blood sugar of less than 4 mmol/l is acceptable. Its not. Its potentially dangerous!

Scroll down to the section on the NHS website regarding hypo's without diabetes and print it off and then insist on further investigation...by someone who knows what they are talking about!!


Sorry to rant but this habit of doctors dismissing conditions is so annoying...and potentially very dangerous if in the unlikely event you have something more sinister!

Good luck!

I was fine travelling akthough they said my bowel wasnt empty so Id say take it a little earlier. You do need to rush to the toilet but it does stop after a while. I was surprised that it was not bad at all. The tube is much smaller than I'd imagined. They give you dignity shorts so your bum isnt left exposed. Staff were lovely as they do it all the time & know you feel nervous. You have a sedative. Take someone with you. With low sugar maybe ring & ask. Are you allowed flavoured water ? They must have diabetic patients so ring & ask. Good luck & try not to worry xxx

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Lovemylippy


Thanks for sharing your experience.

They offered me the option of being knocked out so I have taken them up on that. That way I won't get nervous during the procedure. I had an Endoscopy in my mid-twenties (~15 years ago) and I absolutely hated it.

I haven't heard about "dignity shorts" before. I imagine they have a big hole in them for access. LOL.

I believe I am allowed flavoured water as they said I can take Lucozade for my Hypoglycaemia. But I have to stop 2 hours before the procedure. But during that time I am allowed to take energy tablets, which is good and a relief.

In terms of dealing with diabetics, they talk about monitor your sugar levels but I have no way at all of monitoring mine. I have no equipment and facility to do this. I have never been given anything, just told to "eat regularly".

Thanks again.

Hi ANB80, I too was nervous about this procedure but need not have worried. The prep was ok and my system was emptied within a couple of hours the night before and fasting thereafter. I took my sister with me as I had decided on the sedation, she was brilliant as there was a long wait. The staff were really kind and supportive. Those with diabetes told the staff who ensured that they were seen first, the hospital provided drinks and sandwiches for people after the procedure as they understand that we have all fasted for a long time. I have IBS-D so it was nice not to go to the toilet for a day so don’t think you have any worries about getting to the hospital and afterwards only some wind. Good luck and try not to worry.

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Edith0

Hi Edith,

Many thanks for sharing your experience. That has certainly helped a lot. I have chosen sedation too.

You should be fine as you start the prep the day before so your bowels are emptying for a good few hours and you won't be eating solid food

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Suecoo66

Hi Sue,

Many thanks for sharing. Reading everyone's experiences is certainly helping my anxiety. I am already feeling much calmer about it.


I was an in-patient at the time, but my experience was that the bowel prep took 6 hours to start working from when I took first dose (about 1pm the day before the endoscopy/colonoscopy). So I was on the loo all evening until about 11pm but it was no way near as bad as some other experiences I've heard about. I managed to sleep but had to go to loo every 2 hours or so during the night. I was taken down at 9.30am and I still needed to go 10 minutes before my procedure, at this point it was just water coming out. I don't want to worry you, just to give you a balanced idea of how it may go. I didn't have a fast reaction to bowel prep and my bottom was extremely sore after all the BM, but the urgency definitely became less frequent on the day of the procedure.

Can you think of perhaps planning a stop at a public toilet on the way? Even a supermarket or hotel? It's not ideal but might help you if you break the journey down. Good luck.

Oh, and take the sedation if you can.

Funnily enough, I googled picolax and found a hilarious thread called Agent Picolax where the guy goes into hilarious detail about it, way over the top but it made me giggle

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Munchkinfeet


Thank you for sharing your experience. It seems you are in the minority of how your prep went. Everyone is different so I imagine the prep will be different for everyone in some way.

There are a few places I could stop off at on the way to the hospital. I planned that out for my consultation I had there the other week.

My appointment is at 4pm so I have one dose of Moviprep at 7pm the night before and then at 6am the morning of the procedure. So we'll see how that goes.

Hi An80, like everyone has mentioned, the prep is the worst part of it, the actual procedure is over and done with very quickly, usually no longer than about 40 minutes. Mine was scheduled for 4 pm, so I had a different time schedule, I took the first prep about 4 pm the day before, then spent most of the evening on the toilet, but slept well. 2nd dose was at 7 the next morning . I did need to go to the loo right up to the appointment but it was only water coming coming out and I think nerves had kicked in . I made sure to drink clear fluids, ( nothing red coloured) and sucked boiled sweets. I used baby wipes after every bowel movement and also lathered on the vaseline and the sudocreme as your bottom does become quite painful. Good luck, I opted for sedation and it was honestly no problem at all . I am normally very nervous but the staff are all amazing and really put you at your ease. What I would add is to cut back on the eating at least three days prior to the procedure, low residue diet is recommended. The less work your bowel has to do the better ! I was given moviprep , some people have a different type of cleanser. Re the hypo attacks, make the staff aware and hopefully you can be taken first.

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Evelyn65

Hi Evelyn,

Thank you for sharing your experience, and your advice. Much appreciated.

I am having this done privately through my work's health insurance and I have been told the procedure will last 20 - 30 minutes. But everywhere else I have read it can take up to 45 minutes. But either way, I am having the sedation so it shouldn't matter.

As for being "taken first", because this is private I have a set time of 4pm, which is good as I don't have to worry about any extra waiting.

Don't worry, you will be clear to go on your journey to the hospital. Colonoscopy's are really not as horrid as you may think, you will be given a little sadation before and you may or may not remember anything about the procedure at all. Don't worry the only difficult thing is drinking such a lot of the prep in such a short time.

Good luck

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to

Thank you. I am having full sedation so shouldn't remember a thing. Reading most of the replies here has put my mind at ease.

I had the same fears when I had my test as I had to travel 40 minutes but my fears were unfounded-I think the anxiety makes you feel worse.Best of luck

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to bris1079

Yeah, I think you are right. Reading all these comments from people have really settled my nerves and anxiety.

Thank you.

Hi, please don’t worry like everyone says u will be empty by the following morning. I’m like u have low sugar levels and have to eat every 2 hours. I fainted the morning of the colonoscopy so rang the hospital and they told me to drink lucozade which I did and felt instant improvement, so will defiantly remember for my next one. U best check first with the hospital carrying out the procedure but really helps to regulate sugar levels. Good luck it will be all over before u know it and look forward to the tea & biscuits afterwards

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Rosi1961

Hi Rosi,

LOL about the tea & biscuits afterwards. I will certainly be looking forward to that.

The hospital have already advised me to have Lucozade and energy tablets. But they also said, if you really can't make it without eating something then you can eat but only if you absolutely have to. They said the procedure would still go ahead and they would try to work around it and do their best. But I will be trying my hardest not to do that as it may mean I have to go in for another and go through the whole thing again.

I agree with Linley, you should be fine because you will have nothing in your system. Take the long way if you can, with gas stations along the way.

Also very important! Just clear liquids and soft foods for a day after, which I was never informed. In my case I had solid food after and what a mistake. It might just be me but better safe than sorry.

Since the intestine is "compromised" you might have a problem digesting solid food for the first day... Good luck and it really is no big deal (and I'm a chicken with any procedure)

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to debbe08


Thanks for your advice. I had been wondering about afterwards and what I might or might not be able to eat to build myself back up.

Many thanks.

I have had the procedure plus I am diabetic. Firstly there is nothing left in your bowels to pass out by the time you get to go the hospital so no worries on that. The team from the bowel procedure clinic will contact you a week before to run through everything and will be able to help with everything. If you haven’t heard from them. Just call the clinic. They are brilliant at sorting everything out. Good luck love

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to CRYSTAL11

Many thanks Crystal. Further help to ease my worries.

I had a 1pm appointment and Moviprep to take. My first dose was 6pm and the next due 6am on the day. As it took me about an hour to drink the 2litres and I was still on the toilet at midnight from the 6pm dose, I decided to start the 6am dose at 5am to make sure I was empty by the time I had to leave home. At 9 am I was panicking as I was still urgently passing water and was considering sending my husband out for nappies! But then it suddenly stopped and all was fine!

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Misscrisps

Thanks Miss Crisps for sharing your experience. As my appointment is at 4pm I too have to take a morning sachet at 6am on the day. Sounds like I should be ok by the time I need to set off.

How long before you had to leave did it stop?

Misscrisps profile image
Misscrisps in reply to ANB80

About 3 hours I think, around 10am. The Moviprep is not pleasant tasting and the quantity seems daunting but I found it easier to get down if it was very cold so I would recommend making it up a bit before you are due to start and put it in the fridge. Also if you drink it through a straw placed far back on your tongue, it avoids most of the taste buds!

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Misscrisps

Thank you for the advice.

I have this done regularly and can assure you that if you complete the bowel prep you will be fine.

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Smoq

Thank you. It does seem like most people are fine after following the prep. Although there have been a couple who struggled right up to the end. But then everyone is different.

Hi ANB80

I had my first ever colonoscopy in June this year. Like yours I had an afternoon appointment. I took my Movieprep 7pm was in and out of the loo a lot. I sipped on Elderflower tonic water while taking the prep, it probably extended the amount of time I was going to the loo. I got a few hours sleep. At 6 am I started round 2. Luckily on this site I’d read of others experience - like camping out in the bathroom!! Shortly after starting round 2 that’s what I had to do. I brought in a small table with a jug and glass and water

Everything else was there from the night before - Vaseline, so important for the poor bum - use loads! Baby wipes very gentle on the bum, also hand sanitizer.

By 9am I was finished!! And got a couple of hours rest. The hospital is 30min away I decided to allow 40min, no problems.

Once I got to the hospital everything went smoothly as the staff are so good and professional they do this everyday and know how vulnerable we feel

All in all not as bad as I had imagined

Thinking about it was the worst part

Good luck x

ANB80 profile image
ANB80 in reply to Ollie2

Hi Ollie,

Many thanks for sharing your experience. From reading all of these replies it has certainly eased my worries and concerns about a number of things, so thank you for adding to that.

I think the only outstanding worry is my Hypoglycaemia, and how I am going to cope with no food for so long. But I have found various articles and advice via Google specifically for people like me preparing for a colonoscopy.

Many thanks again.

You may also like...