Next Stop: Colonoscopies and Endoscopies

Next Stop: Colonoscopies and Endoscopies

Previous article on Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis:
‘More Than Just Imaginary’

The next stop on our journey is a particular treatment which those with Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis are likely to experience some point in their lives. This treatment is often referred to as ‘colonoscopies’ and ‘endoscopies’. So what are colonoscopies and endoscopies?

‘What are Colonoscopies and Endoscopies?’
A colonoscopy is a test which allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large bowel. The doctor or gastroenterologist uses a flexible tube with a small video camera attached, called a ‘colonoscope’, in order to evaluate your colon. The colonoscopy can help find ulcers, colon polyps, tumours and other areas which may have inflammation or bleeding. During a colonoscopy tissue samples called ‘biopsies’ can be collected for evaluation later.

An endoscopy is a similar process to a colonoscopy. Often endoscopies involve inserting an ‘endoscope’ into the body through a natural opening, for instance the mouth and down the throat, but for a similar purpose.

The two procedures described here can help diagnose conditions including Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Alternatively they can be used to check to see if there is any present or ongoing inflammation in the body. Often the doctors’ prior examination will determine whether a patient will have a colonoscopy and/or an endoscopy.

For further information on colonoscopies and endoscopies please have a read of these brilliant articles:
          Bupa ‘Colonoscopy’
          NHS ‘Endoscopy’

So what are colonoscopies and endoscopies? Copyright © 2011- by Chad A. Bascom. All rights reserved.

Jake has a Colonoscopy and Endoscopy
Back in 2007 when I was thirteen years old I was deferred to ‘Doctor Number Two’. He was rather good in speeding up the process to find out why I was suffering from severe abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. He suggested for me to have both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. As I was quite young and this was my first time with any sort of procedure, he suggested it would be best for me to have general anaesthetic. This is not always provided to patients and instead local anaesthetic through a cannula in the arm is used as an alternative.

Like many other people I was asked to undergo some preparation for this procedure. I was asked to completely empty my bowel. To do this I had to fast the day before and was asked to take strong laxatives. I can tell you now this is not a good memory for me. In all honest laxatives take worse than sick. Still this bowel preparation had to be done so there was a clean passage for the colonoscope to pass through.

Admittedly on the day I was extremely nervous. I had never experienced anything like this before and was kind of worried about being put to sleep with general anaesthetic. My main reassurance came from my loving family. I asked my mum whether I would ‘peacefully’ come around as television often showed. She was rather positive about this. At least I would not feel the uncomfortable pain those experience whilst being awake; which now I have had the ‘pleasure’ of experience and I am sure many of you have too.  

The time arrived and the general aesthetic was given to me as I counted down from ten. As the doctor took photographs of my now famous intestines I was dreaming. People have often said when they are ‘under’ they have dreams. Even after seven years I still vaguely remember mine. In this dream I remember standing in a field alone, looking over at a city below. I seemed to be enjoying the calm wind tickling my arms. Make of that dream as you will. What dreams have you had whilst being under general anaesthetic? It would be interesting to know. 

...Sheep Dreams Jake...Copyright © 2014- by Borrett Family. All rights reserved.

Unfortunately my mum and I were wrong. As I came around my stomach was in extreme pain and I was on the verge of screaming. Actually I think I might have. It seemed that I had reacted quite badly with the anaesthetic as my body was not used to it. So I had to spend a while in the recovery room. As you probably know everyone reacts differently to these procedures and it was just a shame ‘my dreaming’ was abruptly stopped. This sort of thing does happen and I will blame anyone for this, asides from my naughty insides.   

It was only a few weeks later, if that, I found out why I had been in great pain over the last four years. A diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease was waiting for me and so was a journey; a journey, which I had only just begun.

In summary, colonoscopies and endoscopies can be daunting process but try not to worry about them. Each person will experience them differently. As many individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease find out, they are just another form of treatment to help identify any problems we may be having so we can find a way to stabilise the condition as best we can.


Thank you so much for reading this article. The support I have received over the last year since starting the writing blog has been overwhelming. I could not have done this without you. Until next time I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks everyone for the amazing support over the year. I hope you are have a great weekend.

    To avoid any copyright issues here is the full attribution for Chad A. Bascom’s photograph:
    Chad A. Bascom (2011) Colonoscopy. [Online] Available At:
    [Accessed: 14th February 2015].