bad bowels

Yeaah, I know. What an icky title.

This past Tuesday I had a colonoscopy. I've had symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for over 20 years though at first I thought it was Giardia lamblia, an intestinal parasite that at the time had recently spread to the Adirondack Mountain watershed where I did a lot of hiking and camping. At the time my symptons first arose, when I was 23, Giardia was very uncommon in the US but now it's the most common intestinal parasite found here.

Of course that's all a moot point since my symptoms never went away so the cause wasn't infectious. Nor was it medical--which was the point of the colonoscopy, to rule out any medical abnormalities--which leaves IBS which is actually more a group of symptoms than what is typically thought of as a disease.

The actual procedure was quite quick as you can see by the write up to the left. From the insertion (ouch!) to removal of the scope, only 7 minutes had gone by. I must admit it seemed longer to me but despite not being sedated--against the suggestions of the nursing staff--the procedure was rarely painful and for the most part only slightly uncomfortable. At least during the procedure. Afterwards was a different story as the air that was pumped in began to expand. Talk about feeling bloated!

The reason the air was pumped in was so that the scope would be able to get a good view of the walls of the colon. As you can see from the pictures to the left, they came out just fine.

While I had the procedure without sedation so that I could go to work afterwards, a side benefit was that the doctor walked me through what was going on and even went the extra mile (actually more like one foot) and showed me what it looked like in the small intestine. It's amazing what a difference just going around one more curve makes. The walls look totally different. The villi of the small intestine give the walls this velvety texture that just makes them look all soft and cozy. LOL

Anyway, I guess it was worth the 4 liters of laxative and a day without food to make sure everything was okay on the inside. It's better to have IBS than something like Crohn's Disease or Diverticulitis where surgery might be necessary. (or so I tell myself)


Dawn said… needs a title right? It fits! (was that a god choice of words?) anyways, good that you went to the doctors to have yourself checked out. Michele sent me today!
Morah Mommy said…
I'm glad that everything went okay. You're brave, I think I would have eanted to be sedated!

Here via Michele today!
It's always good to know for sure, I say! Glad you found out what was going on...and glad you shared it...too many ppl are afraid to go have that done when it could save their life!
Here from Michele's!
Pearl said…
Glad you got it
looked into.

I think I'd want to awake for the movie too.
Carmi said…
You have guts in so many ways. First, for undergoing the procedure in the first place, and second for sharing it as you have.

Advocates of advanced screening for colorectal cancers say that taboos and fear about colonoscopies represent their largest obstacles to early detection. People just don't have the courage to bring it up with their doctors, and to get them tested.

Perhaps when they read this, they'll change their minds. I'm proud to know someone with the backbone to do this.
keda said…
ooch ouch! so glad you are fine baby. well not fine excatly but well, you know. ok :)

its been a while. nice to be here despite the ickiness. gonna read down a bit now.
Terri said…
Very glad everything came out okay...literally. was a good post on a highly important medical issue. You and Katie Couric ought to team up to make people more aware of this simple procedure!
Hi from Michele's.......
Dawn Falcone said…
Glad everything worked out. My mom has Crohn's & it really sucks.

Here via Michele's
Sandy said…
I'm glad it went well. My parents and my husband have all undergone the same test. All three have told me the prep work is the worst part.
vanx said…
Well, you win for today’s most clinical post, Utenzi~,:^)

I went this route when I was 27 because of what turned out to be a benign polyp. I’ve had about eight since on a regular basis over 20 years. At the risk of sounding all Katie Couricy, I would remind your readers to get stuff checked out. Men are particularly stupid on this point.

I applaud your post and I’m glad you’re OK
utenzi said…
I can't say much on that point, Vanx, since I waited a long, long time before getting looked at. I'm terrible at the doctor-thing and my boss, who's a surgeon, teases me about it a lot. This is the first time I've gone to a doctor in the 5 years I've worked here at UNC.
Crayonsetc said…
You are a brave soul... as I have had the colonoscopy... I personally went WITH sedation ;) And not only do I have IBS, but also diverticulitis!! (yup, that bites too)

BTW, I love your hummingbird layout... very beautiful!!!

Stopping by this evening/Early morning to say Hello, Michele sent me!! ::waving::
indigo said…
Hi Utenzi. Haven't popped in a while and I'm glad I did. Hope you're feeling better...colonoscopys are certainly no fun. And 4 liters of laxatives??!! Goodness, but you must be feeling 'clean' after that. LOL! Rest well this weekend, ok?
margalit said…
You are WAY braver than I am. I've been putting off my colonoscopy for 4 years now because I'm totally chicken.

I'm glad to hear that everything came out OK. Pun intended. -)

Here from Michele
Maverick said…
YIKES! I gotta give you props for going through with it...I don't think I could do such a thing. But, if your health is in question, I guess you don't really have a choice in the matter. You were quite brave.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, via Michele. I'll be stopping by more!
srp said…
Here from Michele.

You are very brave to do it without sedation. And the small bowel is soooo much more beautiful than the colon, less stinky too. All those "normal flora" in the colon really work on the contents, don't they.

Glad you got the all clear sign, even though that IBS can really be hard to take.
bobealia said…
Did they test you for that Gluten intolerance... I forget what it's called. It came seem like IBS too.
So they didn't give you the forgetful drug either so that you forget the pain?
Hugs from Michele.
Nukapai said…
Heh, I've had that done too (I find it amusing that you chose to post the pics in your blog!). :D

IBS-like symptoms can be so many things; it's very frustrating to start finding out what exactly. Food intolerances (particularly lactose) can cause symptoms, plus the kinds of things I had wrong (gallbladder problems)...

Good luck. :)

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