Reduction in salivary cortisol level by music therapy during colonoscopic examination

Hepatogastroenterology. 2004 Mar-Apr;51(56):451-3.


Background/aims: Premedication for endoscopy promotes patient cooperation and makes subsequent examinations more acceptable. Music therapy is widely used in the treatment of acute and chronic pain. Therefore, we investigated the effects of music therapy on pain and on salivary cortisol levels in patients undergoing screening colonoscopy.

Methodology: The subjects were 29 consecutive patients undergoing colonoscopy for various reasons. Patients were randomly assigned to undergo colonoscopy while listening to music (n=15) or while not listening to music (n=14). Cortisol levels were measured in samples of saliva obtained before and after colonoscopy. After colonoscopy, patients were asked to rate their maximum pain during colonoscopy.

Results: Patients who listened to music during colonoscopy tended to have lower pain scores. Salivary cortisol levels increased significantly less in the group receiving music.

Conclusions: Music therapy during colonoscopy markedly reduces fear-related stress, as indicated by changes in salivary cortisol levels.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Colonoscopy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Music Therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*


  • Hydrocortisone