Methods of reducing discomfort during colonoscopy

Dig Dis Sci. 2008 Jun;53(6):1462-7. doi: 10.1007/s10620-007-0025-9.


In the United States sedation for colonoscopy is usual practice. Unsedated colonoscopy is limited to a small proportion of unescorted patients and those with a personal preference for no sedation. Over 80% of patients who accept the option of as-needed sedation can complete colonoscopy without sedation. Colonoscopy in these unsedated patients is performed with techniques similar to those used in the sedated patients. Uncontrolled observations indicate willingness to repeat colonoscopy amongst these patients was correlated significantly with low discomfort score during the examination. Methods reported to minimize patient discomfort or enhance cecal intubation during sedated or unsedated colonoscopy included use of pediatric colonoscope, variable stiffness colonoscope, gastroscope, and inhalation of nitrous oxide or insufflation of carbon dioxide, hypnosis, music, audio distraction, or simply allowing the patients to participate in administration of the medication. Research focusing on confirming the efficacy of a simple inexpensive nonmedication dependent method for minimizing discomfort will likely improve the outcome of care and more importantly will ensure compliance with future surveillance in patients accepting the unsedated option.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia, Patient-Controlled
  • Colonoscopes*
  • Colonoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Conscious Sedation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis
  • Music Therapy
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • United States