Avoiding the Serious Health Risks from Colonoscopy Screening

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

By Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, The Naughty Nutritionist

March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and it won’t be long before the usual health experts trot out to urge us all to get colonoscopies.

Although that “kick in the butt” might sound like a good idea, according to the Annals of Internal Medicine, the rate of serious complications from colonoscopy screening is ten times higher than any other commonly used cancer-screening test.

According to Konstantin Monastyrky, the author of Fiber Menace:

“the odds of being killed or injured by the side effects of colonoscopy may exceed your odds of getting colorectal cancer in the first place.”

He further points out that the procedure is far from infallible. It not often fails to catch colorectal cancer in many cases, but can also cause, contribute to or accelerate the growth of colorectal and other cancers.

How so?

  • Dysbiosis. Intestinal flora are disrupted because the procedure requires a thorough washing out of the large intestine with large doses of synthetic laxatives, followed by bowel irrigation with polyethylene glycol and hypertonic electrolytes. Both substances kill bacteria, both good and bad. Dysbiosis contributes to irregularity, constipation, IBS, Crohn’s and other diseases known to increase colon cancer risk. Dysbiosis also contributes to a wide range of other health problems.
  • A Worsening of Stool Patterns: Those already affected by hemorrhoids, chronic constipation, IBS or diverticulosis may find these conditions become worse after colonoscopy.
  • Complications from the Procedure: Serious complications, such as colon perforation, occur in five out of every one thousand colonoscopies. The risks of delayed bleeding, infection and ulceration are even higher, though they rarely get reported in connection with colonoscopy.
  • Increased Risks of Stroke, Heart Attack and Pulmonary Embolisms: Blood clotting is a side effect of anesthesia, particularly among patients with diabetes or heart disease.
  • Infections: Procedures performed under anesthesia are associated with increased risk of infection disease, such as pneumonia or pyelonephritis.
  • False Sense of Security: Doctors miss from 15-27 percent of polyps, including six percent of large tumors. The New England Journal of Medicine has even reported that some doctors blast through the colonoscopy so fast they miss cancer in full bloom. Indeed, the desire for speed is why most colonoscopies today are done under anesthesia. Might there be a profit motive? Some doctors do 60 colonoscopies per day at an average cost of $1,500 to $2000 each. You do the math.

Two Ways to Manage the Risks of Colonoscopy

Sadly, that’s not all, folks. To learn more about the procedure and its risks, I’ll send you to Monastyrsky via the links in the sources below. But first, I’d like to share a few words from him about how to increase the level of safety and accuracy should you opt for colonoscopy.

  1. “Those with a family history of colon cancer or otherwise at high risk probably should do a colonoscopy. But I suggest they request to have it done without general anesthesia. That’s where the majority of the risks are. The doctors do it that way not because the procedure is painful, but because they can ‘jam’ faster, and bill for anesthesiology.”
  2. “Doing radiography first is pointless because if they find some polyps, they still have to go in. Besides, you don’t want all that huge exposure to ionizing radiation.”

To learn more from Monastyrsky, check these sources:



About The Author

Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN is The Naughty Nutritionistâ„¢ because of her ability to outrageously and humorously debunk nutritional myths.

Dr. Daniel earned her PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Anti-Aging Therapies from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, is certified as a clinical nutritionist (CCN) by the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists in Dallas, and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Weston A. Price Foundation (Vice President) and Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. In 2005, Dr. Daniel received the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Integrity in Science Award.

Dr. Daniel’s book The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food has been endorsed by leading health experts, including Drs Russell Blaylock, Larry Dossey, Joseph Mercola, Kilmer McCully, Doris J. Rapp, Jonathan Wright and many others.

Dr Daniel has spoken at numerous professional conferences, including Boulderfest, Wise Traditions and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP). She lives in Albuquerque, NM and is the mother of two children.  She can be reached at Kaayla@DrKaaylaDaniel.com.

Picture Credit


Comments (172)

  1. I was 57 years old in 2010 when I had my first colonoscopy, 50 being the standard age for first time. I have had four more since then, I will be 62 in a few months. I followed natural health and I thought I didn’t really need one. I’m not sure what it was at 57, maybe it was my husband telling me to get one, maybe it was a nudge from our retired family doctor. The very experienced GI Dr., who was about my age when I finally came in, told me they never know who has polyps until they have colonoscopies. I had several hyperplastic (harmless) polyps and several adenomas, one of which was considered large. All were removed and I had to go back in a year. Same thing next year and next. I suffered no damage from the procedures, I took probiotics to re establish flora. I had been on high fiber, low fat, almost vegetarian//vegan diet with lots of unsoaked whole wheat in the mid 90’s and had horrible health, fortunately nothing chronic. I got off that somewhere in the late 90’s, put grass fed meat, cheese, butter and less wheat into my diet. By 2007 I had lost the twenty-five or so pounds gained on the low fat diet, I thought I was then eating healthy and then I read Sally Fallon’s book somewhere in 2009 and realized all the things I didn’t know about healthy eating; soaking wheat and grains, kefir, fermented vegetables and probably a few more things. But I had always made our meals from scratch, was not into restaurant or fast food – I guess I am letting you know I was fairly health conscious. In late 2011, after my first two colonoscopies with a few adenomas, I went from following Nourishing Traditions onto GAPS, hoping to fix whatever was going wrong with my colon and because soaking and sprouting wheat was wreaking havoc with my system as were some of the ferments. That lasted about four months; coming off it, I learned I had a sensitivity to wheat, and I got off wheat fully by early 2014. I’m not sure at that time which stool on the Bristol chart would represent mine, but as of a few months prior to my last colonoscopy just over a month ago, my stools began to look like # 4 on the Bristol stool chart. Thank you Mr. Monastyrski for sharing the chart. I read on his website about getting too much fiber and I stopped putting handfuls of desiccated coconut in my morning yogurt – my stomach aches went away and it may be this helped change my b.m.’s to normal. Thank you again Mr. Monastyrski for helping us understand eating too much fiber can mess us up. My reasoning for all that coconut was that coconut in all its forms is the darling now of the natural health movement, and I was eating it to add fiber to my wheatless, grainless meals. Along with removing excess fiber, I also believe adding morning coffee to my regimen helped get things moving, creating regularity as well as eating two or three regular meals a day with little or no snacking. I also added vitamin a to my vitamin d regimen along with trace minerals, magnesium and N.A.G and vit. c. Interesting, my choice of supplements are very similar to Mr. M’s.
    So what happened with my recent fifth colonoscopy? Bravo! I had two polyps, way down from previous years. I would need another procedure either two or three years out depending on whether they were adenomas. But no colonoscopy in one year! Off to the lab they went, one was hyperplastic, the other was serrated sessile polyp. That’s not actually bravo material as I started researching what it means to have serrated sessile adenoma tumor. It is considered precancerous and according to NCBI Pub Med ssa’s are high risk.
    Why am I writing this long post? If it isn’t obvious – maybe some of you would re think your decision to cancel out on your colonoscopy. I would never have known nor would I have worked so hard to normalize my bowel habits had I not had that first colonoscopy. I really didn’t even realize my bowel movements were problematic. After my first colonoscopy found polyps and adenomas, I was asked if my family had a history of polyps or colon cancer. No. I was not considered to be in the high risk group. The large tumor would have likely continued to grow, turning cancerous, while I carefully chose pastured products, organics and non gmo foods. Will my normalized poop give me a healthy colon? I hope so! Does normal poop mean normal colonoscopy? I hope so! If you are reading Mr. Monastyrski, I would urge you to read his page on who needs a colonoscopy. “Colorectal cancer risk factors.” It is a very long list and likely you will find yourself there. For me I will continue with colonoscopy as Dr.’s recommend them to me.

  2. Great article.. Colonoscopy is a great colon cancer screening tool, but patients are often bullied into accepting toxic sedation/anesthesia drugs as “required” for comfortable colonoscopy. BS, Colonoscopy can be and is done without sedation in most of the world; I’m sorry to say that US docs “insist” on sedation so that they can do a colonoscopy quickly (and this is less safe-by a long shot. Most patients over 60 experience significant long-term memory loss from common drugs such as Versed (used to make patients forget the exam-until they get home!) they the PTSD starts…having “anesthesia” is a costly ruse where a anesthesia nurse not an anesthesiologist renders the patient sort of sensless with propofol or other drugs…which can increase patient risks significantly. requestunsedated colonoscopy; if you doc refuses skip it

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  4. For goodness safe – there are risks with getting out of bed in the morning – for that matter, going to the toilet (that’s when a large percentage of people drop dead!). Colonoscopies are only as good as the person performing them – as with ALL medical procedures – do your homework!. Thet SHOULD be a very simple procedure with minimal risk that can save an enormous amount of heartache later – especially is there’s a family history of bowel cancer, or you have a personal history of polyps. I’m a person that’s generally very cynical about all things medical and particularly about big Pharma and it’s unethical control over the health care industry, but this procedure is simple, painless and harmless, if done well – and can save a lot of grief later!!! There’s always the exception of course, like anything in life, but blimey, would you rather leave an unknown polyp festering in your bowel (and they’re very common!), to turn in to an incurable cancer, simply for the fear of a very simple test. As I said, do your homework, choose your surgeon and trust that all will be well – it possibly (in the most unlikely of circumstances!) won’t be if you don’t check! YOU need to be in charge of your own healthcare!

    • It disrupts your body’s natural balance. If you don’t need one, don’t get one. If you have a family history of colon cancer, a colonoscopy is here as an option to help you. If you have suspicion that you may be at risk, then do your research, weigh out both the pros and cons. This is as valid as anything else you find online. It is your body, treat it well.

  5. My mom had a colonoscopy to get some polyps removed. During, the Dr perforated her bowel and didn’t catch it. She developed sepsis and spent four months in agony in the hospital, having multiple surgeries and procedures before dying from the complications. To hear people dismiss the risks of this procedure breaks my heart. Stop and really research the benefits vs risks for YOU individually. This procedure should NOT be done for no reason.

    • I feel your pain. My grandmother had a perforation in the bowel and although the Dr caught it and repaired it and the subsequent surgery to remove air from the stomach cavity was a success, she passed away last Wednesday from complications, nine days after the colonoscopy. The risks are very real and people can die if the procedure is not done properly and the prep isn’t done. My condolences for your loss.

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  7. In spite of healthy lifestyle and diet there are genetic defects on some people’s DNA that runs in families. My family is one of them resulting in death to an aunt and uncle and my own daughter suffering with colon cancer surgery at age 35. I resent the “holier than thou” attitude from some on this page……May you never lose loved ones and become cancer ridden yourselves.

  8. Dana Renae Fedor via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    I had one.. No issues.. I was getting a pain regularly for years and after the procedure it was gone. But now reading what Meg Annan wrote… Probably won’t ever do it again!

  9. Meg Annan via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I sat on the jury for a medical malpractice trial. A colonoscopy gone awry. But we had to find in favor of the doctor bc the patient signed a waiver and was told of all the risks – in this case her large bowel was punctured and she required 6 follow up surgeries and ended up having it totally removed. Her life is ruined. The trial still haunts me… I would never get one.

  10. Leah Graham via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Thank you Sarah. I will never have one of these procedures done because I don’t want to go looking for trouble. My lifestyle and everyday diet is my “healthcare”. Same for my mother, she has declined so many times her doctor wanting her to have one because of her age.

  11. There are pros and cons in everything. Every procedure has it’s risks. Personally, I would rather risk the test than death from colon cancer. I have had several polyps removed easily and painlessly. Sometimes we can go too far with diets, medical testing and more.

  12. Dawn Egan via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Colon cancer is pretty much a death sentence if caught too late. My stepdad was fortunate to have a colonoscopy and catch it when it was treatable. I think it’s irresponsible to suggest people skip this.

  13. Cynthia Trout Tomes via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Cancer is something we all want to avoid and find a cure for. I can only speak for myself for the choices I made or make. I had a colonoscopy four years ago. I have had IBS since I was 20 years old on and off. Since having the colonoscopy I have been none stop with diarrhea. Diarrhea 20 to 22 times a day. I have been to the IBS Treatment Center . I have a nutritionist helping with my diet, Not very many people could stand to give up the things I have given up to try and get well. I don’t leave my house much and can’t work either. My only complaint is if the doctors would have been open with me and told me these things could happen then I would have made a decision that is right for me. It has been four years now with no improvements.

  14. Nancy Sparks via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Disagree with the point of not getting one. Have had several and pre-cancerous polyps have been found every time. Not taking the risk of skipping this test.

  15. Jaime Krynski via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 7:17 am

    There are risks with many, many things in life. There are risks with pregnancy and many things associated with it. Are you never going to have kids because of them? Everyone is different and should decide for themselves. Seems like this is the only type of screening available today for this type of cancer. Hopefully one day there will be a less risky option available.

  16. Tony Munroe via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 2:46 am

    Universe was obviously looking out for me. I was scheduled but then the insurance decided not to cover it and I wasn’t about to spend hard earned money on something I didn’t think I needed in the first place. Again it was my doctor pushing because I had turned 50!!!

  17. Haley Johnson via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 1:53 am

    I admire you for posting the other sides of medicine. It takes a bold woman. Medicine has it’s place but it is certainly not all that it is cracked up to be at times.

  18. Same thing happened to me! I had far more problems after than I did before I had the what I thought was a painful procedure. They never did find anything. It took over two years to get better again. In hindsight I really don’t know if I would ever do this again myself. However, I would may be advise getting the scope just not the biopsy unless it was absolutely necessary.

  19. Susan Wassenhove via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 12:09 am

    My mother chose not to get it done so they didn’t find her cancer til it had eaten through the colon wall and spread to fat and lymph nodes now dealing with mets to the brain. She really regrets her decision to not get that colonoscopy.

    • I bet you wouldn’t have had her for as long if she woulda had the damn colonoscopy. My mother died from one but they dont tell you that. She also had colon cancer after they had her open from the sepsis. But I woulda been able to have more time with her without the damn colonoscopy taking her out of nowhere.

  20. Luke Miller via Facebook January 19, 2014 at 12:00 am

    This article is horrible! Completely inaccurate and paints a horrible depiction of an otherwise very important screening! I work at a
    Surgery center and to think of patients getting a colonoscopy without sedation is barbaric. Sixty patients a day??? Who is this doctor with superhuman strength and speed to be able to do this? I have seen many cancerous polyps removed or detected in time to have life saving surgery because of this procedure, or even to avoid surgery because a routine colonoscopy discovered something the patient otherwise would not have known about. Your bad advice/post could lead to someone not finding out that they have cancer.

  21. Lea McLaughlin Dewitt via Facebook January 18, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    The ONLY way to diagnose colon cancer before it becomes virtually untreatable is with a colonoscopy. Eschewing all modern medicine is as foolish as those who seek out modern medicine to cure all ailments. Embrace the good that medicine can do. This blog post is terrible advice.

  22. Glora Worden-Anderson via Facebook January 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    I know a lady who suffered a perforation. Infection set in, she had multiple surgeries trying to fix the problem and ended up dying from it in the end. A very slow painfilled death. I realize these situations are not the norm, but I also saw the pain and suffering in her face and the faces of her family. Cant say it was any better than dying of cancer.

  23. I think this is very bad advice. I have had several colonoscopies to rule out issues while others were able to be addressed. I have had no lingering problems. Yes, I had constipation afterwards but that went away once the anesthesia wore off which took about a week. My husband however had his first one 2 years ago at the age of 52 and had severe complications from a polyp being removed. He lost so much blood that he was hospitalized and needed surgery and a blood transfusion. Still, this is so rare (and we are both licensed medical professionals). As a matter of fact, his team saved his life. But we both realize that even though his biopsies were negative, they may not have been. You don’t have to have a family history to get colon cancer. ALL medical tests come with the possibility of dying. I had a patient come into surgery for cataracts….died as a result of an anesthesia reaction. You can’t predict these things and more than likely they aren’t going to happen. If there is a possibility of being diagnosed with cancer, wouldn’t you rather have it and know so you can fight it? If not, you are going to end up DEAD anyway…..we have to use common sense. Sometimes there are no symptoms..

  24. Sy IsDemented via Facebook January 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    There are risks with everything we do. There are risks for NOT getting a colonoscopy and for getting one. This should be a personal preference BUT this article has no real statistics just what they think the facts are. These are risks….just like walking out your door is a risk. Since people do not get them very often the risks are even less than when you walk out your front door and take a drive. Please do not scare people into not getting these. What next….scare us into not getting a rotted tooth pulled because of the risks involved in that too? I hope people talk to their doctors before they decide in not getting their colonoscopy.

  25. Janice VanOss via Facebook January 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    My mother died of colon cancer and had she had a colonoscopy she would be alive I intend to have one every 5years with a competent doctor and anesthesiologist. My first one was painless and easy,

  26. Susan Smith Hodge via Facebook January 18, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    With all the changes our insurance company is now requiring this if your over 50 if you dont do the required test you are non compliant and will pay double the cost for insurance and they will only pay half of what they would normally pay until you become compliant. It is the company we have from my hubbys work. Needless to say we will be paying more and getting less… and we are healthier than most of the guys he works with.

  27. I’m not sure I truly believe that removing the polyps is such a great idea. A friend had a bunch of “polyps”, at least that’s what the medical people called them, removed and they told her the growths weren’t cancerous but it was a good idea to get rid of them anyway. A year later she had cancerous polyps.

    I’m thinking maybe we should just leave our bodies alone at both ends. Let nature take its course and leave well enough alone. I’d rather die of natural causes than created problems.

  28. Then there is the concern for the scopes themselves. Many times, if not all the time, the procedure is done with a scope that has a biopsy channel. The concern with this is that whether or not the channel has been properly cleaned as it can harbor bacteria. During a medical instrument presentation, I had the opportunity to see the inside of a sample of biopsy channels and some of the supposedly “clean” scopes are not living up to that claim. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to clean what you can’t see. I would certainly have to question also question the efficacy of their cleaning procedures should the docs be doing 50 or 60 sopings a day. To me that right there is a very scary thought. If you do have to go and have this procedure done ask how and when the scope was cleaned. I promise you, it is not a 5 minute procedure. Truly, I have seen some pretty disgusting endoscopes that the docs put into their patients without thinking twice. You tell me, is it ignorance or greed?

    • Ginger,

      Thank you for your comment. This is a well-know risk factor. It is practically impossible to properly sterilize electronic endoscopes just by using alcohol wipes between the procedures. They will inevitably carry viral and bacterial contaminants from previous procedures, particularly inside the water/biopsy channels.

  29. Tiffany, the reason you were having so much pain is because your doctor pumped up your large intestine with a lot air, so he/she can run through the procedure much faster. This pain was similar to what some people may be experiencing when they have excessive gases, except yours was stronger because there was so much more air.

  30. Just a quick question, have you ever had a colonoscopy without anesthesia? I’m just curious if you are speaking from experience or from what you have read. Because speaking from experience, I woke up from general anesthesia during a colonoscopy and it was incredibly painful. I would NEVER do one without anesthesia.

  31. I’m curious what you would say for patients undergoing screening for GI disease, not cancer. I am scheduled to have a colonoscopy as well as upper GI later this summer in order to diagnose the cause of my severe recurring abdominal pain. IBD and celiac are both probable contenders. Even though I know how to treat both through diet (as I’ve been researching in preparation), I cannot get the tax benefits without a formal diagnoses – nor the attention of allopathic doctors, if needed, down the road. So I feel, for me this procedure is necessary. It will allow me to get tax-exempt gluten free foods (mostly, almond meal – which is expensive for the quality stuff, and having that as a tax-exempt/refundable medical expense would be helpful) and also, for my own peace of mind, give me a specific diagnosis that I can use when explaining why I eat the way I do. (Instead of having people just blow me off as a “fad” gluten free eater).

    • When it comes to diagnosing chronic GI conditions, you need to do what you need to do. My analysis concerns solely colonoscopy-related risks among healthy, asymptomatic people who aren’t in a high-risk group for colon cancer, and it doesn’t apply to your particular case.

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  33. I want to thank you! The Suggestion made to reduce my intake was the first step in reversing the Problem my body was having while trying to recover from surgery. Since I am a Gastric Bypass patient this not only helped me reconnect with the limitations my body has but it put me on task! First I decided that getting my gut to talk to my rectum needed to be addressed. To encourage this communication I began to get rid of the medications & treatment options prescribed by the Doctor. No more Delcolax, Senaca or anything that had to Go through the GUT to reach my rectum. I added Magnesuim to my bath & discovered it calmed my fears so then I switchd to magnesium spray. I added Rescue Remedy so I would learn to forget the trauma & pain, not only is this a Great Product but it forced me to coach myself to forget every tie I used it. Sublingual Arnica & Belladonna reduced the inflammation. After I moved everything out of the Gut I noticed a huge difference. Once a week the muscles would try to remember & then fail the 2nd time until the 4th week & then it could communicate but the muscles still did not sinc up…..SO I knew my Body had healed but my Mind was the problem so I confessed I had little faith in healing, & that I felt I was not worth healing. A few Days later My Friend Jim prayed over me & I knew right away my body was healed. At my net elimination there was no fear, no tearing, no anxiety no bruising. My Body has function properly every day since……thanks for being a Part of the Process!

  34. My Mother died when I was 5 years old and she was 28. She was diagnosed in September and died in January. She had been complaining about symptoms for awhile, but back then, they thought colon cancer was an old man’s disease. I’ve spent much of my life trying to understand nutrition and particularly how to decrease my chances of getting colon cancer. I had my first colonoscopy shortly after my 30th birthday. clear as a bell. five years later, after a total disruption in my eating, including the reintroduction of meat to my diet, I went for my next colonoscopy and had three pre-cancerous polyps removed. I feel extremely lucky to have such excellent doctors as I have, who fought with my insurance companies for me to have these preventive procedures, who put me in twilight (and I woke during both, in fact I cried as I watched them snipping off the third polyp) and who took their time during both procedures. When the polyps turned up, it was a major wake up call. My mother’s brother died of colon cancer a year after my polyps were removed. Three of her four sisters have had polyps removed, one the size of a grapefruit. Now I’ve taken far more comprehensive preventive steps, I overhauled our entire diet, we’re 100% organic now, only lean pasture raised and finished meat, which I buy from a meat co-op at the natural food store by my house, and so far, not only have my gastro-intestinal issues cleared up almost 100%, but I’ve lost 55lbs. I understand that it is important to point out the risks of a procedure, but I hope that the people reading the article and changing their mind about having it done will reconsider, particularly if they are in an at risk group. You have the final say in how, where and by whom your procedures are done. You have the final say in what kind of anesthesia is used, in the frequency of the procedure, of the doctor(s) you see. do your homework but don’t rule it out altogether. If you’re in Chicago, I’d personally recommend either of my doctors, Dr. Markey at Illinois Masonic, or Dr. Barbara Jung at NMH.
    Gut flora becomes imbalanced a million different ways. If you’re aware, it’s no longer an issue and you can take the steps to avoid and correct it. When done correctly, it’s not a painful procedure, and there is no reason to go under to full knocked-out if your doctor is at all competent. Please, PLEASE don’t cancel a colonoscopy based on this article. This is one of the few cancers that can be treated the moment it’s discovered with one of the highest success rates, just because of this procedure which if FAR safer than, say, radiation and chemotherapy.

  35. I just read somewhere in the past couple of days that taking a good quality B complex is very important to urinary and colon health. I would imagine it can help after-the-fact, as well. I think there are sublingual methylcobalamin B tablets available for a reasonable price, and since they basically melt under your tongue (sublingual) there is no added stress to the system.

    That might be helpful to some folks here. The B vitamins are essential for a lot of body functions.

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  37. Im still looking for follow up treatment that will end this nightmare. There is alot of information out there for men or men who live an alternative lifestyle; but i cant find anything for Women. I never had problems with a spasms before & now I have them in the bladder, uterous,colon & rectum….My Gynocologist wanted to do a Hystroscopy & I had to decline…Id rather die

  38. Hello,
    I just wanted to let you know that there are some statements that should be clarified. General anesthesia does cause many of the complications you mentioned. However, general anesthesia isn’t given for a colonoscopy. Simple sedation is administered. As of billing, the doctor doesn’t benefit from having anesthesia given. That is a separate billing process.
    Hope that helps!

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky March 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm


      General anesthesia and “simple sedation” are technically the same, except with a “light sedation” patients are getting a much smaller dose of the anesthetic of choice, and for a much shorter period of time. And, yes, there are less risks vis-a-vis a major surgery, but the underlining risk factors are all the same, particularly among older people.

      In regard to the billing issues: Directly or indirectly, the money to pay for all colonoscopy-related procedures is coming out of your pocket.

  39. My grandmother had to have a colostomy (disconnected her “pipes” so that it came out in a bag on her side) after her colonoscopy where the docs perforated her colon. After a year of it healing, they “reconnected” her. These tests are not about a person’s health, they are about making money.

  40. Deborah Gordon via Facebook March 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Recent study suggests that 54% of colon cancer can be attributed to obesity and/or inactivity.

    • what does this single, unsited study have to do with whether people should have a colonoscopy or not?
      what are you trying to say?

  41. Charis Kehler via Facebook March 6, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Get your Vitamin D levels checked and you can reduce your risk of Colon cancer by up to 80% depending on other lifestyle variables. Sunlight is FREE and 10-20 min of exposure per day in a t shirt and shorts is enough to get your levels where they need to be for optimal health. Check out http://www.grassrootshealth.net for more info from Vitamin D scientists like this one. http://youtu.be/tOViNz9hru8

  42. My husband did not get out of bed for 6 weeks after his colonoscopy. He lost 30lbs and his body went into shock…the only thing that helped were higher and higher doses of steroids and antibiotics. within the year he was diagnosed with fistulizing (sp) crones disease and within 6-7 months after that he lost his colon/rectum and almost died from internal bleeding. Had I known what I know now things may have been different. But there are no regrets. He has his life back now. be informed!!!

  43. One of the few things I have ever found to help keep me *regular* is gelcaps of Tonalin CLA. This is conjugated linoleic acid and is found in many foods, mostly in dairy, meats and sunflower or safflower oil. I don’t use those oils in my daily food regimine so I don’t have them on hand, but I started using the CLA gelcaps several years ago along with my husband, who used to be into weight training when we were younger. I take the CLA first thing in the morning on a empty stomach, wait 1/2 hour or so and then proceed with my warm lemon water, etc.

    The CLA is also touted as a weight loss helper, but I don’t use it for that reason because I don’t need to. But it sure does help keep us regular and perfectly nice texture poops. About 1,000 to 1,200 mg daily, taken with warm water first thing in the a.m. Make sure it’s Tonalin CLA. I buy mine at Vitacost for about 15 bucks for 120 gelcaps.

  44. So the second surgury just dammaged the sphinter muscle more. I need a suggestion for a liquid diet book so I wont put any pressure on that muscle for a few months.

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      @Maggie: A liquid diet can actually make matters worse because it may turn your stools into hard pebbles. The safest way to manage this condition is by using this supplement as described, but only every day, and in a larger dose than required for keeping stools small, soft, and moist to reverse chronic constipation. Here is a link: http://goo.gl/tWrDJ

  45. My mother died of colon cancer when she was 50, we have no history of ANY cancer on either side of her or my dad’s family. I believe she brought her cancer on with her OCD. She would not drink water, she was afriad to use a public restroom and would hold it in. Anyway, I do not believe it runs in my family. I have had 4 colonoscopy’s because she died of colon cancer. The prep makes me extremely ill. I never take as much dulcolax as they tell me too because I get too sick, my whole body is so affected, it’s a nightmare for me to go through, the prep never starts working right away on me anyway and then last time I was not fully cleaned out. I would be thrilled to never go through this again. but have I ruined myself cuz I have gone through so many? I’ve also taken a ton of antibiotics in my lifetime. I am battling candida right now, I am on a homeopathic course. I am conflicted on getting another colonscopy. What is an alternative test to prevent colon cancer? Thanks

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 26, 2013 at 2:47 am

      @Prudence: There is no viable alternative to preventing colon cancer by removing cancerous polyps. That said, removing polyps doesn’t do much (if anything) to prevent a colon cancer, many of them are missed anyway (up to 30%), and more cancers in the colon are related to flat lesions, not polyps.

      In other words, polypectomy is a crapshoot. That said, colonoscopy for people in a high risk group has its value because it allows to detect early cancers, and treat them with less risks.

      Considering your family history, you should definitely get tested at least every 5 years, but do a safer prep, such as colonics, and insist on having no anestethia to avoid complications. This approach is well described in this article written by a medical doctor in Forbes Magazine: http://goo.gl/Gux75

  46. Please do NOT let this discourage you from getting a colonoscopy. DO make sure you have a Gastro Specialist who does this all day long. Also check them for complaints, etc. My brother and husband both had polyps removed during a colonoscopy and this prevents cancer. You do NOT want colon cancer.

    I have had two in two years because of IBS symptoms and my Dad had colon cancer. The prep is not fun but you can prepare and make it better. Go online for some tips. The risk can be managed and it is worth it to prevent cancer.

  47. Thank you very much for your answers.
    For years I see ,ocasionally-not all the time- red blood on the toilet paper-some times just some traces and sometimes a drop- and a few times (in these past years) I have seen that red blood in the toilet water.I don’t know if its on or in the stools.
    This (blood on the toilet paper) was intense when I gave birth and I thought that it was related with hemorhoids or a fissure because it was red and not brown.I want to start the gaps diet because of these and other reasons.
    I will,although i hate the idea, get examined, after your response.

  48. @ zoi: You’ve been seeing blood in your stools, off and on, for 10 years???? When I mentioned blood in the stool, I didn’t mean blood on the toilet paper, I meant blood you can actually see without a microscope. Anal fissures can cause blood to show up on toilet paper and that happens to nearly everyone at some point in their lives. If you can see true, red blood either in or on your poop, you probably need to have it checked out. I’ve heard some talk about virtual colonoscopies but I don’t know anything about them, and I’ve also read about the DNA type testing mentioned in one of the posts above. I also don’t know how helpful that would be. So you’ll have to choose your own type of “doctoring” to find out the cause. And just because there is no family history, it doesn’t mean a thing. As I said above, you’re not your father or sister or mother or brother. You have your own physical make up and should look at your health accordingly.

    Food allergies can be known to trigger the onset of colon inflammation, so you might look at some things in your diet. Even foods that are “healthy” might be at issue, if you’re allergic to them. Try looking up nutritional ideas to support the intestine/colon, and I know there are some herbs that help support and replenish the digestive tract. Probiotics are excellent for this, even just plain acidophilus is nourishing to the whole body. You could/should consult with a MD or a ND about these problems.

  49. i see blood in my stools (not continously) for the last 10 years or so, this got worse after giving birth to my son 3 years ago and now is again a less often phenomenon.i have no family history of colon cancer.i was never examined physically by a doctor ,the only examination i had was an upper and down belly ultrasound that came clear. i dont want a colonoscopy but i do see blood occasionally.is there another test that i can have except colonoscopy?

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

      @Zoi: For the sake of your children, get examined ASAP. It may be just a fissure related to internal hemorrhoids, or it may be something else, but you can’t let this situation fester unchecked, and wait until hit with a massive blood loss.

      I repeat again: Dr. Daniel’s post and my underlining reporting concern the colonoscopy screening of HEALTHY people. Nowhere does Dr. Daniel (or I) “recommend” skipping diagnostic colonoscopies, and especially so when blood is present in stools.

  50. My uncle had this done just this week- immediately after he fainted in the bathroom out cold….they labeled it as dehydration. Even though he mixed all of that “clean out” with Gatorade so that he wouldn’t… But that is a whole other topic isn’t it! Poor guy, I told him a little but kept it simple and left an offer if he wanted to learn more.

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 21, 2013 at 11:56 am

      @Natasha: Yes, unfortunately these past-prep, past-fast, and past-anesthetic falls are quite common, particularly among elderly. And the risk of a major trauma (fracture or head) is also high.

      The causes are multiple: dehydration (the least likely), hypotension (blood pressure too low), and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The last two conditions are the most common, and they are often exacerbated by the interaction of prescription medication with anesthetic.

      There are several simple ways to prevent these problems:

      1. Reducing or stopping diabetes and hypertension medication while on the liquids-only diet. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.

      2. DO NOT DRINK GATORATE, particularly sugar-free. It may cause severe hypoglycemia.

      3. Take salt tablets with water, or salty broth (best) for good water retention, and use sublingual glucose tablets to prevent hypoglycemia.

      3. Don’t leave elderly people unsupervised for at least 24 hours following the procedure.

      I think doctors and nurses can do a better job on educating patients to avoid these residual complications.

  51. Hi Sarah

    I saw this picture yesterday and it got me very confused. I think it can make many people confused too!


    In it they say that eating a high fat based diet (whole milk, animal fats) will lead to colon cancer and can lead to breast cancer and advise everybody to eating a low fat diet and raw food instead.
    Could you please see and explain if that is heathy or not, if a high fat based diet (animal fats) can really lead to cancer or not and last but not least if eating only raw and a low fat diet can be a prevention to cancer?

    Thank you in advance!


    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm


      Dietary fat (the right kind) is essential for colon health. If you do consume a great deal of rancid or overheated vegetable fats they are, indeed, known to contribute to all type of cancers, including the cancer of the colon.

      To get a better understanding of this subject, please start here: http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats

      Now, in regard to dietary fat and colon health:

      1. Dietary fat triggers intestinal peristalsis. This action is essential for regular bowel movements. People who skip on fats are more likely to develop constipation. In turn, chronic constipation may lead to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This condition increases the risk of colon cancer by… 3200% (32 times.)

      2. Dietary fat is required to assimilate fat-soluble vitamins A, K, D, and E. Vitamins A, D, and E have strong anticancer properties, while vitamin K is essential to prevent bleedings, including the internal ones.

      3. Dietary fat is needed to assimilate calcium and magnesium. These two macrominerals regulate, among other things, all of our muscular functions, and are just as critical for a normal functioning of the large intestine.

      4. Dietary fat neutralizes bile. The secretion of bile is an ongoing process. If this incredibly astringent substance is left intact in the small intestine, it gets down into the colon, and may cause inflammation, severe diarrhea, and all other problems associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

      In regard to fats and breast cancer. All of the above points (other than 3 & 4) apply to breast cancer just as well. The breasts themselves are the depositories of “animal” fat. When this fat is getting displaced with vegetable fats, the chance of getting hit with a cancer goes up, way up. Again, you can learn much more more about this on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s website.

      Finally, the illustration on Sarah’s Facebook page is not from Sarah, but from Mayo clinic. It contains a great deal of factual information, but if you aren’t well familiar with Sarah’s work in relation to wholesome animal fats, you may, indeed, find it confusing.

  52. I once knew a legal secretary. She was a very nice and kind lady, who sang beautifully in the quire in her church. She only had good to say about anyone. She had a father who was in his early eighties, and he was in good health. He never saw doctors. She worried about his health, and persuaded him to get a checkup. After the checkup, his doctor called her and said she had to persuade him to have a colonoscopy, because her father had never had one. It took her months to persuade her dad to have the procedure, as he was afraid of it, but she did.

    After the colonoscopy, his health deteriorated, and he was dead in two months.

    • @ Stanley: This is almost word for word what happened to my Dad except he was in his early 90’s. He grew up without doctors (on a farm about 70 miles from the nearest town with a doctor) and was absolutely the most healthy person I’ve ever known. When he applied for life insurance the company required him to have a colonoscopy. Inside of 6 weeks he was dead. And the doctor(s) told the insurance company that he had colon cancer and that’s what was also put onto his death certificate. They literally buried their lies. My family knew for a fact he had no colon cancer or any other problems.

      Allopathic meddling causes more problems than they’ll ever solve. WHY would a healthy person really even want one of these? It’s like taking a well baby to a doctor appointment and then the doctor uses it as an excuse to vaccinate. He deeply damages the emerging immune system of the baby, but doesn’t care as long as he’s following the modern medical code. It’s beyond disgraceful.

      I have a friend, whom I’ve known since high school and that was eons ago, who is a nurse in a clinic which does only colonoscopies, and she’s been there for at least 25 years if not more. The clinic is affiliated with Mayo Clinic. She told me recently that if you cannot actually SEE blood in your stool, don’t worry about your intestinal/colon health. She also said the doctors play the genetic/family association card almost 100% of the time, and that’s an inaccurate picture. YOU are not your father or mother or sister or brother. Also, she said if you DO have problems try to find something alternative to treat it, and never use chemo, surgery, radiation or any of the myriad drugs prescribed for this. She’s been keeping track for a long time, and her patients who do NOT follow allopathics do much better and live much longer. Imagine that.

      Read about the Natural Allopathic cancer regimines recommended by Dr. Mark Sircus. That will give you a good place to start looking.

  53. so far a colonoscapy has cost me a year of my life. By the time they fix ALL the complications of what they did after the discovey of 1 small polyp less than 2 cm inside the rectum it will have cost medicaid a quarter million dollars & I may never be the same again….Now a doctor wants to use a simular proceedure on my uterous & I cant bring myself to face any more pain.

  54. Konstantin Monastyrsky February 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

    @Bob, your doctors are right. You are, unfortunately, in a high-risk group, and you should be screened. Just find a good doctor to do this procedure, and follow the links recommended by Dr. Daniel.

  55. Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    @Rebekah: Dr. Daniel’s article doesn’t overstate anything, but simply states that there are risks associated with screening colonoscopies, and this conclusion is based on academic research, coming from the doctors who perform these procedures in the first place.

  56. Wow! You don’t know how useful this is to me right now. The doctors have been urging me to get a Colonoscopy because of my extensive family history (Grandfather died at 52, Dad at 53!!). It’s good to know about the anesthetic because I definitely understand the need to get this done. I will say that I keep myself rather healthy – its one piece of the motivation to keep myself extremely healthy (to live a longer life than Dad & Granddad!).

    Thanks so much for this info

    • Written by a PhD? Okay, so she has a PhD from an online unversity in ‘Nutrition Studies and Anti-Aging Therapies.’ Doesn’t sound a like a reputable field of study, more like a make-up-your-own PhD and get someone to grant you a doctorate. And why should we take her seriously knowing this and when most of her inforamation looks very similar, in both organization and content, from information on Konstantin Monastyrsky’s website?

  57. There are several points in this article that are valid. However, being a GI rep for the past 5 years, several things mentioned above are just false.

    1. There is not 1 gastroenterologist in the US that performs 60 colonoscopies per day…not even close. In fact, those that do 20-25 per day are looked down upon by their colleagues. Not sure where this number came from but it is so far off. Physically speaking, it would be impossible to perform 60 colonoscopies per day as a physician. The national average is 10-12 per day.

    2. There are risks with all medical procedures. However, colonoscopy continues to be the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening. With new technology coming every year, the adenoma detection rate will continue to move in a positive direction via colonoscopy.

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      @Kerry, I recommend that you read the underlining research in its entirety following the links at the end of Dr. Daniel’s article. This isn’t a matter that can be answered in one sentence, and the approach to prevention differs from person to person, depending on the multitude of risk factors.

  58. Is the the same as a cleansing colonic or colonic series?? I did several colonics during a cleanse, but felt like I did not do a deep enough cleanse as I got really busy and had to stop after a few weeks and feel like it made me worse – bigger belly, more intestinal issues….

    Any input on colonics?

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      @Ig: Colonics aren’t the same as colonoscopy prep with electrolyte solution or polyethylene glycol (PEG). The latter is far more harmful because they use chemicals that affect intestinal flora, kidneys, and cause neurological damage. You can read more about it here: http://goo.gl/RR9dl.

      That said, colonics is a perfectly viable tool to prep people for colonoscopies, and far more safer than using PEG solution.

  59. Hmmm….I’ve had two colonoscopies myself, each of my 4 siblings(all under age 37) have had at least one, and my mother has had a few. No bowel perforations happened. No adverse reactions or prolonged problems from the prep. If you have a good healthy whole food diet, which we do, you shouldn’t have a problem “recovering” from the prep. None of us have had ANY problems. Follow your doctor’s recommendations. Ask them if they’ve perforated a bowel during a procedure. Google the doctor & read reviews. But DON’T cancel a scheduled procedure or delay your colonoscopy as a result of this article.

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

      @Rebekah: Some people drive drunk without killing anyone or themselves. That doesn’t mean that drunk driving is any safer. Dr. Daniel’s post points out to risks. Yes, they are minor in the overall scheme of things, but tell it to those healthy adults with zero risk for colon cancer who got killed or maimed by a botched screening colonoscopy.

  60. Eh, colon cancer could be an issue for anyone whos spent any time in there life on a bad diet so even I would be reluctant to skip out on testing. But is it possible to use natural-based laxatives?

  61. what ever natural therapy you would do for cancer of the colon is probably what you should be doing on a regular basis anyhow – so save the money for the test and put it to better use in caring for your diet.

  62. I have had many colonoscopies under conscious sedation (Fentanyl) as I have Crohn’s. All of them have been extremely painful, even when the Crohn’s was in remission. I remember grabbing the doctor’s arm once and yelling several times. I have a very high pain threshold too. My father was healthy all his life and never took any prescription drugs or drank alcohol. He never ate white bread, always good rye or whole wheat. Sadly, he never had regular check ups (since he always felt great , hiked in his 70s, had great teeth, no family history, etc.). At age 76 he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer as he had a very bad pain in his side. Shortly after this he died. It definitely could have been caught early and treated with regular check ups, etc.

    If I could get out of having a scope, I definitely would, as it is so painful for me. To suggest doing this without any type of sedation, for me, would not be an option. The medical profession certainly has its shortfalls but if you have ever been really sick, you thank God for the advances we have in medicine and the drugs that help when you are really sick, through no fault of your own. I don’t like taking drugs either but when you are really sick, you beg for them. If you don’t know this feeling, count yourself lucky indeed.

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 11:45 pm

      Please don’t confuse “screening colonoscopies” for healthy people with zero risk for colon cancer and “diagnostic colonoscopies” for people with life-threatening disorders, such as Crohn’s disease. Just like we don’t (yet) advocate preventive chemotherapy, we shouldn’t advocate screening colonoscopies for healthy people who are not in a high risk group for colon cancer.

  63. It is too bad the health profession shoves it down our throats without telling us the potential risks and side effects! My mother recently had one, but she drank bone broth and other homemade beverages instead of the sugary ones they recommended.

  64. My Grandma went for a routine colonoscopy and was given a clean bill of health and told to come back for her next one in 3 years. Eight months later (after her first one) she was dx’d w/ stage 4 colon cancer. She died less than a year later. When she was sick, I was doing a lot of research for her and came across many stories online of people developing colon cancer shortly after a clean colonoscopy and it always left me wondering.

    And on the flip side, I know someone who went for a routine colonoscopy, was dx’d right then w/ stage 4 colon cancer, underwent aggressive treatments and 5 years later is still cancer free!

    I haven’t decided if I’ll ever sign up for one or not but I’m hoping for some more research to be out before I need to make that decision!

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      That’s exactly what academic researches are saying – according to the research published back in 2006, the screened patients in all of the studies developed colorectal cancer “at the same rate as would be expected in the general population without screening” in the next few years, even though they have removed all found polyps.

      According to the American Cancer Society, up untill now (that‘s in 2009) “…there are no prospective randomized controlled trials of screening colonoscopy for the reduction in incidence of or mortality from colorectal cancer.” In other words, the recommendation to undergo colonoscopy screening is based entirely on its income potential, not proven health benefits.

      The National Cancer Institute is even more explicit: “…it is not yet known [in 2008] for certain whether colonoscopy can help reduce the number of deaths from colorectal cancer.” and “Whether virtual colonoscopy can reduce the number of deaths from colorectal cancer is not yet known.”

  65. I had one when the Dr. was searching for the problem I was having. They didn’t find the problem from that test but I did have a ply up which they removed. My problem was a hernia all that time that I found. I couldn’t keep food down as it was causing a blockage. What gets me as they didn’t inform me of these dangers or tell me how to get my system back in order.

  66. How is referring to light sedation as “general anesthesia” presenting full facts? Informed consent requires the accurate disclosure of the risks vs benefits of any procedure before it is undertaken. I agree with always doing your own due diligence, but make certain you are getting the facts.

  67. I just had a colonoscopy about two months ago. I wish I had read this before then. I never had heartburn until I had the colonoscopy. For almost this whole time I had severe heartburn and it got so bad they had to put me on omeprazole to force my body to cut back on stomach acid. I think I can come off this now because heartburn hasn’t bothered me for about a week. Yes they put me to sleep so they could ram it through. Because of good clean living, I had no other problems. I promise it will be my last one.

  68. Angela Boblitt via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I have two friends that have had this procedure and it has saved their life as advanced cancer was detected. I have another friend that had one without anesthesia and said it was very much painful and they would never do it without again.

    • Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      The purpose of “screening” colonscopies in healthy people isn’t to diagnose “advanced cancer,” but to prevent one by removing polyps,

      When you present yourself to a doctor with bloody stool, and he/she prescribes a diagnostic colonoscopy to confirm the presence of the tumor, you are saved by overall treatment (surgery, chemo, or both), not by colonoscopy.

  69. Heather Pickle via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    They ARE starting to use anesthesia here for colonoscopys and egd’s. My mother died of colon cancer at age 42- she could still be alive today if she’d had a colonoscopy done in time. I get them now every 3 years and have never had a problem. I see more and more YOUNG people being diagnosed with colon cancer. I think the risk of the procedure is very small with a reputable dr. Don’t be too hasty in disregarding this VERY important test.

    • @Heather: That is not true. Screening colonoscopies do not prevent the death from cancer itself in the group of people with genetic cancers. Before repeating the same “sales pitch” for screening colonoscopies we all already know, please review the source material in the respective links. The mainstream research clearly states that screening colonoscopies do not prevent or reduce the incidence and/or mortality from colon cancer.

  70. Thank you for posting this. I’m in my 60’s and have never had a colonoscopy, but lately I’ve been wondering if I “should.” Most of my friends do get this test on a regular basis, because we are told to. But they also get mammograms, and I’ve never had one. I have no known risk factors for colon cancer and don’t believe I have any symptoms, so I won’t get any routine colonoscopies after reading this.

    I appreciate this important warning about colonoscopies and I will instead look into ways to promote colon health more.

  71. I am Liveing this NIGHMARE! My sphter muscle started to spasm a year ago after colonoscapy. When I questioned how to make it STOP they offered little or NO treatment. 4 months later they removed the Polyp that was less than 2 CM inside the rectum & the spasms continued, My Sphincter muscle is doing Isametrics & tightening small & smaller till its become a pastry bag .I had a second surgury last week to take care of a fissure because the rectum cannot heal dues to the amount of FORCE I have to use to relief Myself. 7 of the 10 doctors I have seen over the last year simply accuse me of being mentally ILL & offer salutions like visulazation & Hypnoisis; neither will help reduce the strength that Muscle has gained by spasming constantlyfor a year so I am probably going to have to have a 3rd surgury to cut an inner muscles. Thank you soooo Much for Giveing this problem a voice so Other’s can learn exactly how life changeing it can be!

    • Maggie, you need to reduce the volume and size of your stools, and stop straining. This is the only way to reduce the pressure on your rectal muscles. My site provides plenty of instructions on how to accomplish this in the Gut Sense section. Just follow the links at the end of Dr. Daniel’s post.

      • Thank you for the information I will go & read it right away. My Stool is small because I have had gastric bypass. There is no lady like way of conveying the problem since the second surgury, the sphincter muscle litterally refuses to dialate & the muscles behind it are createing exsploiding eliminations. The condition sounds amusing but it creates so much preasure it not only makes the rectum spasm but the bladder too. I feel like I need a supervised recovery program.

  72. I know two individuals personally, who went to reportedy *the best lower GI doctor in town* and they both spent weeks in the hospital, one almost died, from perferations in their colon from colonoscopies. I doubt I will be following the standard recommendations to have one after witnessing their experiences.

  73. I had colon cancer at the age of 19 – bizarre, I know. Unfortunately I’ve had a lot of colonoscopys (I’m 34 now). I never would have considered having them done without anesthesia, because they have always been a little bit painful for me. Are you saying that’s only because the doctor is taking advantage of my sedation and jamming the scope faster than necessary?
    Reading this article is really frustrating for me. Since my last colonoscopy, I have discovered real food. And have been on the GAPS diet for about 8 months. The last thing I want to do is jeopardize my progress, but it sounds like there are no alternatives for me?

  74. I had both a colonoscopy and endoscopy about 5 years ago after some digestive distress. Everything was “normal” according to the doc. but they still wanted me to take medications. Shortly thereafter, I was fortunate enough to discover a holistic wellness center that specialized in Muscle Testing and the use of wholefood supplements as well as education about a whole food diet. I’ve been a client there ever since and my helath has improved significantly. I no longer turn to the traditional medical community for these types of routine screening tests and after reading this article I’m even more grateful to have discovered other options.

  75. Loryjean Pratt via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Some people have difficulties even with “light sedation”. Risks are different by individual, which is why I object to the “everybody HAS to” approach. If full facts are presented and all risks acknowledged, then each can choose in an informed manner.

  76. Kimberley Moore via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Betty I was about the same thing. Versed is usually used, similar to Valium. That is not general anesthesia. I have a family history of colon cancer on both sides of my family…I’ve been with them for many of these procedures and never had a perf. I’ve always been allowed to stay with my family during the procedure and play “fly on the wall” as an undercover RN…paying close attention the whole time. I’m sure it pays to research who is doing the procedure and that they don’t hurry through. My mother’s last one took around an hour. Also, the only irrigation that was used was normal saline, she did do a prep with mag citrate the night before and fixed all that with raw milk, kefir and probiotics.

  77. I watched a man die from a botched colonoscopy in a hospital; it was a horrible way to die and I shall never forget his suffering, nor the suffering of his family.

  78. Colonoscopies are not done under general anesthesia but light sedation from which the patient quickly awakens. Replenishing with probiotics afterwards is wise. My sister’s cancer was caught in early stages so I will not so quickly “throw the baby out with the bath water”.

    • Betty, general anesthesia and light sedation are technically the same, except with “light sedation” patients are getting a much smaller dose of the anesthetic of choice. That is why when colonoscopies are done in the hospital setting, a nurse anestithiologist or anestithiologist M.D. are always present.

      • that is totally false. yes a nurse anestesist must administer any sedation. but sedation and general anesthesia are nothing the same. in GA most pt’s have to have an airway placed to support breathing. In sedation, a pt wakes themselves. there is no reversal or need to airway support.

  79. Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 11:33 am

    You couldn’t pay me to get a colonoscopy. Just add this to the other deadly test .. mammograms that cause more problems than they solve.

  80. Dawn Lane via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

    It not often fails to catch many of them the cancers, or not only fails to catch many of them? Just checking to be sure what that sentence meant.

  81. There are times when the procedure is necessary. My husband is a good example – he is now 40, and gets screened regularly since his 20’s as his mother died when she was 38 with colon cancer. She died only 3 months after detection.

    Everyone being screened? Probably not necessary considering the risks. But those who are at high-risk, it can save lives. Benefits vs. risks.

  82. I’ve had multiple colonoscopies due to ulcerative colitis…there just isn’t a better way to monitor the disease. I’ve never had a doctor use general anesthesia nor had any complications (choose your doctor wisely!). You make a good point to make sure you work on keeping your gut healthy. Sometimes, as the previous poster with a family history of colon cancer affirms, some of us do need colonoscopies. We should be careful in who we choose and how we care for our bodies before and after the procedure.

    • @Crazy4boys: Please don’t confuse “diagnostic colonoscopies” of people with chronic or life-threatening conditions, such as internal bleeding or ulcerative colitis, with “screening colonoscopies” for healthy people.

      That is what Dr. Daniel’s post is all about: the high risk of colonoscopy screenings among healthy, non-symptomatic people in a low risk group for colorectal cancer.

      • I don’t feel like I did confuse them. The tone of the article, however, is such that some persons who might need a colonoscopy and should get one, will be scared away from them. It’s important to know the risks, as mentioned by the doctor, but sometimes they are necessary.

        • I agree. My father had rectal ca at 55 so I will continue to get regular colonoscopies every 3-5 years. I don’t think we should scare people off from having the procedure when warranted but also agree that an article about replacing gut flora would be a good match here.

          I didn’t even know healthy people had screening colonoscopies… crazy!

  83. Howard Gray via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 11:08 am

    My friend got perfed, they had to immediately remove a foot of his intestines. What did he get from it? a foot long scar on his stomach and weeks of pain. Stoopid procedure!

  84. Christine Ten Eyck Myers via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Every invasive procedure like this has risks. Thank you for this article, as most doctors gloss over the risks as if there weren’t really any at all. If you haven’t done one, I’d love to see a blog post on how to restore your intestinal flora after the destructive cleansing that needs to happen before a colonoscopy. I’ve had two – both necessary, in my opinion – but I know I messed up my intestinal health in the process.

    • I had to endure 2 different prep days because the first doctor’ office gave me the boot after I complained about being made to wait all morning and part of the afternoon for my “appointment.” They said perhaps I could find someone else in town that could do it for me that day. What jerks. I went to the larger clinic in town the next week to have it done (that’s why I had to do another prep). My stomach problems began after these 2 preps. I finally went to a naturopathic doctor. He told my I had dysbiosis and prescribed a slew of digestive enzymes and whole food vitamins. I was in tough shape. I feel so much better now. Never again will I go through that experience.

  85. Alicia Cousineau-Ingram via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 10:55 am

    I had a colonoscopy at age 25 for IBS with a family history of colon cancer. I went to an old school doctor, not knowing any better. I was out for the procedure but woke up when the scope turned and cried out in pain. He gave me more sedation. It took a long time to come too and the dr kept checking in me knowing he gave me way too much. It was awful. The prep is the worst part. Can’t be good for the body. I never want another!

  86. Kathleen Lester via Facebook February 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I have digestive disease, and I believe the last one almost killed me from blood loss and the side effects of the solution your are supposed to drink. I then spend a whole year on their drugs because everything worsened significantly after the proceedure. After continuing to get my blood work and researching what these drugs were doing to me (which include cancer and other risks), I weaned myself off the meds against their wishes and continued to utilize them for bood testing until I did. Once I had completely weaned, I never went back. I spent the next year and a half healing myself…I do still have digestive disease. I don’t believe I will ever truly be cured. However, apart from flare ups that happened due to hormonal balances after the births of my two children, I am largely symptom free and consider myself in remission for the most part. I will never have a colonoscopy again unless there is a clear indication for doing so. I truly believe the risks outweigh the benefits, in many cases, especially in cases like mine which could be treated with good (not conventional) nutrition, probiotics, and patience. I am glad that the more extreme things exist for those who truly need them, but I do wonder how much digestive disease could be avoided in general by eating intelligently and avoiding processed foods.

  87. With a first degree relative (my dad)diagnosed when his colon cancer was already stage IV, refusing wasn’t an option for me–my dad died just a little over a year after diagnosis. I dreaded my first colonoscopy terribly but it wasn’t as horrible as I imagined.

    On the all liquids day I had plenty of my homemade kefir and homemade bone broth on both prep days. I drank electrolyte water instead of sugary Gatorade for the prep. I didn’t have any side effects from the process and my gut seemed none the worse for it. Yes, there are risks, but this is one cancer that CAN be treated early with good results.

  88. Konstantin Monastyrsky February 19, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Dear Kaayla and Sara,

    Thank you very much for sharing this important information on your blog. I’ll be monitoring this comment section, and welcome questions from your readers!

    Konstantin Monastyrsky, the author of Fiber Menace


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