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Open wide and say "Ow!" (pain relief during colonoscopy)

We recently reported on colonoscopy, a relatively new procedure now being used on an annual basis for persons with a strong family history of colon cancer and at 3-to-5 year intervals for other persons in the older age groups. More recently, we heard from a patient in the first category whose annual examinations are almost unbearable because her gastroenterologist will not administer pain killers for the procedure-which is quite painful due to the necessity of stretching the colon to get the instrument to the colon's extreme end.

If you do undergo colonoscopy, we strongly recommend you ask your gastroenterologist for pain relief, if he fails to offer it. (If you are not told to bring someone to drive you home after the examination, it is not likely that he plans to sedate you.) A combination of Demerol and a Valium-like drug can be safely administered for sedation; if your doctor refuses your request, you should try another gastroenterologist.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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