Gastroenterology Community
31.8k Members
468830 tn?1246109222

First colonoscopy and the prep frightens me!!!

I'm a 59 yr old female, just trying to get psyched up to begin my prep for my first colonscopy tomorrow at 7:30 a.m.  I hate to admit it, but I can't believe how frightened I am about it, even the prep!!! The prep solution I was given, which I mixed up this a.m., is PEG 3350/ELECTROLYTE SOLUTION, 4 litres of it. When I do the computation to 8 oz. glasses, that will be 16 glasses of it, and it looks nasty! I have IBS, and have stomach aches anyway, so not sure how drinking that much is going to go? Also am on disability the last 3 yrs for agorophobia, and am trying not to have a panic attack thinking about the procedure. I've only had surgery a couple times (hysterectomy 25 yrs. ago for uterine cancer, ruptured appendix 15 yrs. ago), and it always terrifies me to be put to sleep.I would imagine they don't have to administer much sedation for a colonscopy, but I sure hope I'm out, or I'll have a panic attack for sure! I have a friend who I've distanced myself from the last week, as her husband had a colonoscopy "gone bad" 2 yrs ago, and they punctured his colon or something, and he was in hospital for a while due to infection, and had to have an iliostomy bag (??) for a yr. She has to keep telling me about that, plus her brother just had one, had colon cancer, but the surgery was successful and he needs no further treatment once they removed part of the colon. I wish I'd have had the test when I was 50, as recommended, but due to finances, and the agorophobia making it hard at times to leave the house period, I didn't. Does anyone have any tips on how to gag that stuff down, with the least problems? I start drinking it in 7 hrs, and it's chilling in the fridge as we speak. They told me to drink 8 oz every 15 min., and not to chug it, as I'll probably throw it up ( I may anyway). The nurse also said that when my stool starts running clear, that I don't need to drink anymore of it. My friend, about my same size, said she only drank about half of hers before that happened, so that would be good if it works out that way for me. I take klonopin every a.m. to help with the agorophobia, but probably can't take it tomorrow before the scoping as I need to take a sip of water to get it down? Anyway, I'm babbling, and I apologize. Can you tell I'm nervous?! If anyone can give me any tips on how to gag that stuff down, or just any positive experiences you've had w/colonoscopies, PLEASE feel free to share! My computer is crashing regularly, but I'm praying it keeps working today, so I can occupy my mind in between trips to the bathroom. Do you go to the bathroom all day and night, or does it quit after you quit drinking that stuff?  Thanks, everyone, for your support! My computer willing, I'll be checking in peridically today!!!
2 Responses
469934 tn?1333135282
Hi Sondra:

I'm so sorry you are suffering and I completely relate to your anxiety.  Every procedure is different for everyone.  I'm happy to share my experience with you, in the hopes that it will help.  I was incredibly anxious about this procedure beforehand.  The prep was the worst part of the whole thing for me but I learned that it is the most critical.  Taking all of the prep solution allows your bowel to empty completely.  If there are small amounts of diarrhea-consistency stool in your bowel, I was told it could cause a false positive and they will sometimes even re-schedule the procedure.  This would be horrible for you since you'd have to go through this experience all over again.  It's incredibly important to follow all directions to the letter to be cleaned right out.  It's also really important to drink, drink, drink because I'm told that diarrhea can sometimes deplete electrolytes.  Carbonation can cause difficulty, so I drank Gatorade with mine and did two days of prep.  After the procedure, I continued to drink a lot for two days.  No sugar-coating it:  The prep was difficult for me but it wasn't worse than having a bad case of the flu.  It's a stupid thing for me to say but it might help to stay as calm as possible and to avoid thinking about the drink itself or the procedure.  Taking things one-step-at-a-time, slow and easy, might help you to get through it.  If you have a support system outside of the friend you mentioned, could you ask someone to keep you company?  Could you find something to keep your mind off of things, like maybe watching a movie?

I stressed so much about the actual procedure but it was incredibly simple.  I shared my concern with the Gastroenterologist and he made sure that I received the appropriate anesthetic and medication.  He was also able to give me something for nausea before the procedure, which also helped.  

If you have questions or concerns, could you call the doctor who ordered the colonoscopy and see if there is anything they can do to help?  Would your Doctor permit you to take anti-nausea and/or anti-anxiety medication in advance of the prep?  

Hang in there, Sondra!  For me, it wasn't fun but it was nowhere near as difficult as I'd anticipated and I hope everything goes well for you.

All the best to you and yours; take care of yourselves and each other,

Sam in Canada
468830 tn?1246109222
Hi, Sam, Thanks for taking the time to answer my plea for support!!! What a baby I am! I just finished the prep, and what a relief. I didn't drink the last 1/4th of the jug, but did get 12 of the 16 glasses down. I called the Drs. nurse and talked to her, just to make sure I could quit drinking that nasty stuff once I was pooping clear. She said "yes, quit drinking it!" So I did. I'm just freezing cold, for some reason, and just shaking, isn't that wierd?! It actually wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated, and the prep actually was the part I was dreading the most. They'd given me a package of pineapple flavoring to add to it, and in the future, I'd skip that flavoring, as it was sweet, and just awful! I know the procedure itself will be fine tomorrow, but I'll be glad when I wake up and they tell me all looked good!  They've given me anti-nausea medication prior to the few surgeries I've had, and it really didn't seem to help much. But I can tolerate that, and it will be fine. This anxiety business is a strange affliction, that's for sure. I'm sure it will be fine.
I'm glad that your procedure went well, and when I'm not so cold and feeling so wierd, I'll get on here and check out your profile, and find out what led you to medhelp? I used to be on here quite a bit when I first "retired", and it was a comfort to have so many wonderful friends on here.
Thanks again, Sam, for your concern and for your encouragement! I hope that all is going well in your corner of the world today, and have a wonderful evening.
(Oh, I don't travel a lot, but I have been to Winnipeg a few times, and I loved Canada!)
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn which OTC medications can help relieve your digestive troubles.
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
Discover common causes of and remedies for heartburn.
This common yet mysterious bowel condition plagues millions of Americans
Don't get burned again. Banish nighttime heartburn with these quick tips
Get answers to your top questions about this pervasive digestive problem