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Am I the only one terrified of the nasal scope?

Posts: 25
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello everyone...I am new to csn and appreciate all the positive feedback. I finished my radiation and chemo on 2/01. I was diagnosed with stage 4 scc of the tonsils with one node involved.I am feeling better these days but wish my taste would come back faster. I have a huge appetite but can't taste to much yet. It is getting better everyday though! My reason for the post is that i am terrified of the scope the Dr puts through your nose. I have done it twice so far and the first time the Dr almost needed a xanax to deal with me moving,got it done though. The second time however was different,the doctor was impatient and left the room without doing it. I took a ativan the second time but didn't help much. Is anyone similiar?? Thank you...Paul

Posts: 132
Joined: Apr 2011

I can not stand it either. I have had 4 of them. I can not put anything in my nose. I have no idea how to help you. I never tried to take any medicine to cope with it. I have foud out that it depends on who does it as to how much it hurts. Sometimes its not so bad. Lube helps alot. Good luck. David

luv4lacrosse's picture
Posts: 1410
Joined: Jul 2010

Is your Dr. spraying the numbing medicine into the nostril he is inserting the scope? if not, demand he use it, as it will make a world of difference. Also does he have you lean a little forward in the exam chair while having you look slightly upward? This alligns the passage and make the scope a little less intrusive.

Lastly, he may just suck at using the instrument.

Hope this helps


ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

Since I've had two ENT's I've made the following observations. The male was worse than the female. One used the numbing spray and one did not???? Different nostrils give different avenues and results. One is always a better shot than the other.

stevenl's picture
Posts: 587
Joined: Jan 2010

I agree with ratface. If my ENT scopes me on the left side it is much easier than the right.


MarineE5's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: Dec 2005


Just to add what has already been mentioned, I have had many scopes done on me. My Surgeon and Radiation Oncologist are both located at a Teaching Hospital. My Surgeon is the only one that Scopes me in his office. One thing that I have found that really is important is the numbing spray that they use. If I feel that I haven't had enough, I request another shot of it in each nostril. I am never sure which one the Surgeon will try to go through to see my throat, etc.

My Radiation Oncologist likes to let the new people get a chance at doing it and I seem to have a little harder time with them as they use a thin plastic sleeve over the scope for hygiene purposes. My Surgeon does not use this sleeve and the scope is naturally thinner. I now request that I have a GEL applied to the plastic sleeve along with a double shot of numbing solution prior to the scope. The numbing solution should last at least 45 minutes. If the Doctor does not enter the examine room in that time frame, I request another shot of numbing solution. If the new person would cause me allot of discomfort, I would tell my Radiation Oncologist, but that hasn't happened as he walks them through it slowly.

Since I have been doing this, I have had no problems.

My Best to You and Everyone Here

Greg53's picture
Posts: 848
Joined: Apr 2010


Good suggestions listed above. I found the same thing with going in different nostrils. Biggest thing though for me was the numbing solution. Also I have a major gag reflex. When I go in they not only spray in the nostril but in the back of the throat also. Kinda helps with that nasty gag reflex.

Good luck.


sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm not scared of the scope, I don't like it but I don't panic over it. I can sort of understand where you're coming from though, because I have panic attacks at the dentist.

I make sure they spray me, and wait for it to kick in. I think my left nostril is easier than the right. I gag like crazy.

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

I find it helps me to concentrate on breathing slowly, and tipping my head up a little AND rolling my eyes up to look at the ceiling. Hope it gets easier for you.

staceya's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2010

While possibly not pleasing to the doctor, I find the above makes the scope slightly easier.
I growl real quiet though, and hopefully he can't read minds.

TheDane's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Oct 2010

It's different for everyone.
I've had a terrible time with treatment - but the nasal scope never bothered me.
I've had it done 3 times by 3 different ENTs. The first 2 used the numbing spay and that does help. They should of course give it a few minutes to actually start working.
My problem was that although it hurt a little bit - it also triggered a tickle response that made me laugh. Not so bad, but not exactly helpful to the doctor I suppose.

Relish in your time with no taste!
My taste buds have come back screwed up and everything tastes so horrific and over amplified that now I'm dealing with mild anorexia because it has already conditioned me to dread eating anything.

Honestly? Have a couple of your favorite "drinks" before you get scoped.


Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

The scope is nothing compared to what you and most of us have been through.

It's just another tool in making sure you are healthy and checking progress. I don't particularly like it, but I tolerate it.

I have a deviated septum, the inside of my nose and nasal passages look like an S, LOL. On top of that I have allergies and sinus problems, so it's usually an adventure. My ENT takes a peak to see which nostril he can sneak up on for the less invasive scope that day.

I have learned to tolerate not having the spray as this also gets me out of there 15 or 20 minutes sooner. With the spray I'd get it, then wait for awhile for it to take effect.

Now he just lubes it up and goes for it...having to do the typical head turn, EEE, etc....

If it bothers you tremendously, se about getting a prescription for Xanax or something similar for the anxiety..


Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

Dr. asks which nostril & I prefer my right for some strange reason. Never been offered numbing spray. I pulled my head away once, that was uncomfortable. Now I just keep still & am used to it!

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Dr. asks, "Which nostril do you prefer".....

I say, "That guy sittin over there, use his nostril"....


sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

JG very funny. We need a like button. Lol

D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1576
Joined: Jan 2010

The scope is strange and weird and really uncomfortable, but it isn't really painful. Mostly just obnoxious. Personally, I REALLY REALLY REALLY HATE that my doctor has to shove his hand down my throat and palpate the base of my tongue. Gack! Gack! Gack! I have the world's worst gag reflex, and it's like a quick little visit to hell.


Posts: 25
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks for all the positive feedback everyone. I don't have to get another one till 10/11 some i have some time to relax. Again thanks for all the suggestions...

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Get yourself a new doctor, they should spray your nasal area first and then wait 15 min before trying to use the scope. They must give the med time to numb the area or it will hurt every time. I just did a scope this morning with my ENT it was not a problem at all, if the doctor is hurting you tell him as some of them forget that we are still human.

All the best to you and welcome here to CSN

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

I am very gaggy. My step mom makes fun of me all the time. I can just smell something I don't like, and gag. The nasal spray alone makes me gag. Never mind trying to cram your hand in my mouth, and my mouth doesn't open very far. My RO also remembers to wet his tongue depressor and the glove now, because if he doesn't, my mouth is so dry the tongue depressor sticks to my tongue. :p

Posts: 75
Joined: Nov 2010

HI Paul:;
regarding the scope....I assume it is flexible...I use to sell them many years ago..I don't think anyone ever uses the rigid ones any more ... Make sure they spray and get it numb...also if you breath in through your nose when they do it helps alot too...Just breath in and exhale through your mouth..If you uses any nasal sprays it also irritates the nasal passage..so lay off that...before you have it done... I have it done several times a year and its been seven years.. Ask them how many times they have done it ? If i get a new resident or fellow and it hurts i will not tolerate it...I am all for helping the Medical students at my University where i had my treatments learn but have my limits.too. MEL

dennis318's picture
Posts: 349
Joined: Feb 2010

all of my doctors love the scope, for 285.00 they can charge my insurance company for causing me discomfort for there amusement, they do spray the numbing spray and make me make wierd sounds, but I enjoy seeing no foreign objects for myself. it gives me a piece of mind leaving his office, as i have toilet tissue up my nostril. Hope everyone is doing well.....I have encountered a new job, and trying to get back to to normal life, I get very tired, and now have a co worker dealing with breast cancer..I believe i was sent...Take care Dennis

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