My leg hurts after the colonoscopy, why

Experience report: This is how a colonoscopy really works

I've already had two colonoscopies myself. And before that, I also asked myself: How does a colonoscopy work? Can I do it too? Am i awake or not? And isn't that all terribly uncomfortable and embarrassing? Short answer: it's neither bad nor embarrassing. And it would be stupid not to do this kind of precaution. Therefore to all the brave who have a colonoscopy ahead of them: You can do it! Here all information:

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Video by Esther Pistorius

When does a colonoscopy make sense?

In principle, the health insurance companies recommend a colonoscopy as part of cancer screening for legally insured women aged 55 and over and men aged 50 and over.

However, there are certain conditions for which a so-called colonoscopy should be done earlier. For example, if there are already intestinal cancer cases within the immediate family circle, i.e. parents or siblings. In principle, the following applies: those whose families have already developed more colon cancer, have a higher risk of developing it themselves. In these cases you should undergo a colonoscopy sooner and more closely.

When exactly it makes sense in your case, whether at 35 or 40 or later, you should discuss this with your family doctor. And if polyps or other abnormalities are found during the mirroring, your doctor will discuss with you whether you should repeat the colonoscopy annually or every 3, 5 or 10 years from now on.

Regular control via colonoscopy is also important for chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Krohn's disease. In addition, a colonoscopy can also be used to clarify intestinal problems such as digestive problems, chronic diarrhea, blood in the stool or the like.

Your doctor will be able to tell you whether a colonoscopy is an option for you and when it makes sense.

Information on family disposition and the various methods for early detection of colon cancer can also be found here on the website of the German Cancer Society.

What exactly is done during a colonoscopy?

During a colonoscopy, the intestinal mucosa is examined and examined for abnormalities. If necessary, tissue samples can also be taken directly. For a colonoscopy, a soft, flexible tube is inserted into the intestine at the top end of which a small lamp plus a camera sits from below, i.e. through the anus, and then slowly pushed in.

The attending physician (and, if desired, the patient) can check the inside of the intestine on the monitor and, if necessary, take tissue samples or remove polyene. The whole thing takes between 15 and 45 minutes.

Appointment and preliminary talk:

A colonoscopy requires preparation because the colon has to be completely empty and clean so that it can be examined carefully. Therefore, you have to pay off before the examination.

In addition, you will usually have blood drawn in a preliminary talk to control blood clotting. Then you will usually receive a leaflet with all the important information about the purging before the examination and the diet in the days before.

The most important thing of course: You will also receive the laxative. And yes: that's the nastiest part of the whole thing. But considering how important and helpful the colonoscopy is, this really is a minor problem. Because the examination is really extremely useful as a preventive measure for colon cancer.

If polyps are found in the intestine, they can easily be removed with a small loop attached to the examination rod and the problem is eliminated.

Polyps in and of themselves are not a bad thing, but in the long term they are very dangerous because they can degenerate and develop into cancer. Therefore: go for a colonoscopy! This precaution is important and saves lives. And there are hardly any types of cancer for which prevention is so easy.

Important: In the preliminary talk with your doctor, you should urgently talk about the medication you are currently taking. Because drugs that have an influence on the blood clotting time can pose a risk during a colonoscopy, the Berlin Charité also points out.

Will you be on sick leave for a colonoscopy?

As a rule, you have a sick note from the doctor for the previous day from the afternoon (i.e. from the time from which you have to pay off) and on the day of the examination itself.

Eating & drinking before the examination:

In order for the purging to succeed and your bowels to be clean during the colonoscopy, you have to pay attention to a few things in advance and on the day before the examination there is only breakfast and afterwards next to nothing. Here all information:

1. You can eat that: 4 days in advance

Already four days before the colonoscopy you should no longer feast like God did in France, but cut a few things from your menu. Anything that is difficult to digest, constipating, bloating or grainy is prohibited. Otherwise, foods that contain solid components such as seeds or grains can later block the view of the doctor because they can settle in the folds of the intestine. This means, for example, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, etc. Grain bread, muesli and the like are also not ideal.

Basically you should remember:

  • no bread with grains or seeds, no whole grain products
  • no muesli, no nuts, no wheat bran
  • no legumes
  • no fruit and vegetables with seeds, such as grapes, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, tomatoes, cucumbers etc.
  • no flatulent food like cabbage, onions etc.
  • no fibrous vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, asparagus, peppers etc.
  • no sugar (especially sweets)

Good things are: white bread, soups, yoghurt, meat, fish, potatoes and plenty of drinking

Also read: Light food: What you should eat if you have stomach ache and bloated stomach

2. You can drink that: 1 day before the colonoscopy

The day before the examination is the day on which you have to perform the first purging. The second time then again on the day of the colonoscopy itself.

Basically, if you want to empty your bowel, you have to drink a lot. But not just anything: From the day before the examination, all transparent liquids are OK, all others are taboo.

Tip: If you are unsure, do the simple test: put your drink on a newspaper. If you can see the letters through the glass and the liquid, the drink is allowed. For example, tea (not green or black), water, apple spritzer (but not with naturally cloudy apple juice, otherwise you won't see the newspaper) are OK.

3. You can eat that: 1 day before the colonoscopy

In the morning you may have some breakfast, but please no grains. That means: white bread or toast with cheese or jelly or jam (be careful not to jam with berry fruits such as raspberries or strawberries).

Noon then a clear broth, without filler, parsley and other herbs. And as minimalistic as it sounds, you'll love this broth that day.

Danger: Make sure that the broth is really clear. Many instant soups are supposed to be clear, but contain herbs such as parsley, and these are bad for the examination because they are deposited in the intestines like grainy foods and make it difficult for the doctor to see. The soup saves you through the day in terms of taste and hunger. Whereby you have to be clear: If you have to pour liters of stuff into yourself, you won't be hungry either.

Everything to do with discharge:

There are two types of laxatives. Neither of them is delicious. But you can still do it.

The laxative usually consists of a powder that you have to stir into a liter of liquid twice. In addition, you have to drink several liters (at least 2, the more the better) of other drinks to empty, rinse and clean the intestines.

The laxative is then consumed in two phases. The first liter on the day before the examination and the second on the day of the colonoscopy itself, about five hours beforehand - when exactly, that ultimately depends on your appointment. According to the manufacturer's description, the liter of laxative should be taken within one to two hours. You have to drink a lot of fluids for this.

In exceptional cases there is also another preparation. Here you have to drink significantly less of the unsavory stuff. However, this product is not as safe as the 2-liter product and is therefore used less often, for example if someone has problems drinking a lot.

Be careful when choosing a date

Tip: Set the colonoscopy appointment, if possible at noon, around 12 noon. Because on the day of the examination you have to get up five hours beforehand and drink another liter of the laxative. This second part is usually half as bad because most of it is already done. However, an appointment at 8 a.m. would be rather painful, unless you like to get up at 3 a.m. So take that into account.

Tip: This makes drinking easier

Yes, the stuff tastes really nasty - although that is of course a subjective impression. There are people who find it easier to drink the laxative, others find it difficult. Ultimately, it tastes like an effervescent multivitamin tablet with a lot of salty taste. The taste is said to have improved a lot, but better is by no means good.

This helps:

  • Mix the entire mixture and chill. The remedy tastes a bit better when cooled.
  • Drink the whole thing with a straw. So you can bypass the taste buds on the tongue a little.
  • Drink from a measuring cup and always take a certain number of milliliters that you want to drink per glass batch. Because every new start is more difficult. I have always tried to drink a liter with about four weanings, i.e. 250 milliliters each time.
  • Every time after weaning you should look for a taste distraction for the troubled taste buds. I did it with a sip of clear apple juice or by having an ice candy lying next to me that I briefly put in my mouth. Both help directly.

When the remedy works:

If you have to drink so many liters of liquid, along with laxatives, you feel like a huge water tank and the abdominal area rumbles a lot. If the remedy works (after about half an hour), you should not move too far from your toilet. It's best to take a book with you and make yourself comfortable on the bathroom carpet for the next hour. Sounds bad, but it's really not that bad.

You can tell whether the colon cleansing worked if at some point only water comes out when you have a bowel movement. Ideally clear.

This is why correct drainage is so important:

Always remember: You have to get your colon really clean for the exam to make sense. The better the doctor's view, the more he can see. And every polyp that is found and removed is an important step against cancer. Always keep this in mind. You do this for yourself and your health.

And: Most doctors give you feedback afterwards in the sense of: 'I could see a lot, the intestines were nicely cleansed.' And picking up a scolding is not much fun.

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The procedure of the colonoscopy

The good news: Once you've done the purging, the rest of my experience is really easy.

On the day of the colonoscopy, you come to the practice and can change clothes in a small room before entering the examination room. Dress warmly, preferably a long bathrobe or cardigan that remains open at the front. This is usually done in case something should happen so that you can intervene quickly.

Plus thick socks. In practice, you can often buy special disposable shorts for one or two euros that have a slit on the back of the bottom. That way you don't feel naked, that makes it a little more pleasant. Otherwise you just don’t put on pants / underpants under the bathrobe. The office hours assistant will tell you in advance what exactly you are allowed to wear. Some doctors are certainly different. So you better ask beforehand.

On the other side of the small changing room you come straight into the treatment room. There you lie down on the side of the couch and get a vein access in your arm, through which the anesthetic will be injected later, if you wish (for me it was propofol). The assistants then usually say that you should think of something nice and you are gone and asleep. You definitely won't notice anything when the doctor has inserted the tube into the anus.

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Do you sleep or are you awake during the examination?

In advance, I made sure that I see an experienced doctor who specializes in colonoscopy and who I knew that you would sleep with him during the examination so that you would hardly notice anything.

Here's how the colonoscopy works: After the tube is fully inserted, the doctor slowly pulls it out again. The intestinal mucosa is only checked when it is pulled out.

There are also doctors with whom, as a patient, you can follow everything on the screen, i.e. the tracking shot through your own large intestine, so to speak. That is of course also exciting. On my second time I had this experience, at least in part, because the doctor had already slowly reduced the dose of the anesthetic so that I was awake again towards the end of the examination. But that's absolutely OK too.

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And after the colonoscopy?

After the examination, you get dressed again in the locker room. Most of the time, you're still pretty dizzy. In the meantime, the doctor looks at the pictures that the endoscope has taken and then you have a short feedback conversation with the doctor, who can already tell you the first results of the examination. Were there polyps? What were they like? How do you proceed? When is the next check?

The doctors make sure that you do not leave the practice completely withdrawn after the interview. If possible, you should have someone pick you up, as you are still busy on your feet. However, I also took the subway home once quite normally. The second time I had a colonoscopy, however, I was extremely happy to be picked up because I was very dizzy and nauseous. And quite clearly: you should not drive yourself, or, depending on the anesthetic, you are not allowed to have a colonoscopy.

Possible after-effects of the colonoscopy:

Basically, you can still feel a little air in your stomach. This is normal because the doctor pumps a little air or carbon dioxide into the intestines to help the intestinal wall expand. Slight circulatory problems can also occur.

However, if you experience pain or have blood in your stool, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out that your bowel was injured during the examination.

If everything is over, you can eat what you want. (Unless you have a nervous stomach. Then start slowly, not directly with a three-course menu.) Most of the time, the day before the reflection, you have already figured out exactly what you want to treat yourself to as the first delicious thing the whole procedure. You definitely deserve it!

You can also find detailed information about your health here at

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Important NOTE: This article is for information only. It cannot replace a doctor's judgment. Your doctor will tell you whether a colonoscopy is an option and the right method in your case. If you have discomfort, pain or other problems, please always contact your doctor instead of using "Doctor Google". Cancer screening is important and right in any case. The doctors responsible are always open to your questions and concerns.