Rhinitis in the Colonoscopy Patient

Laying in the recovery area I sneezed, hard, five times. My right nostril burned. I pulled the oxygen off and asked my husband what the O2 measurement showed on the monitor above my head. “94% – it just dropped 3%”. I took deep breaths and the number popped back up. As my nurse walked into the room, I requested removing the oxygen measuring device from my finger. She said “Let me get one more set of vitals”. I sneezed a few more times, my nose running and burning.

Coming home that afternoon after my colonoscopy I continued to sneeze, the burning sensation in my right nostril got worse and the runny nose persisted. It was time to do what any competent physician (or e-patient would do) – I googled it. Apparently this is a common problem after colonoscopy these days.[1] It turns out that with the addition of using propofol for colonoscopies, anesthesiologists insist that a high flow rate of oxygen be used during the procedure to reduce hypoxia (a low oxygen level) and the use of capnography, or measurement of carbon dioxide retention. In order to do this, as best that I can ascertain, they pump oxygen in one nostril and measure CO2 in the other. That’s a lot of hi-flow oxygen going into one nostril through a nasal Screenshot 2015-04-08 20.02.44cannula. There are studies related to the irritation this causes in patients as well as a reduction in patient satisfaction. It’s day three after my colonoscopy and I am still sneezing, my nose still burns and I still have a fair amount of rhinitis. Yeah, I’d say that’s a dissatisfier.

Just a heads-up to my patients about to undergo your routine endoscopy. The misery may not end once your bowels are back to normal. Take plenty of kleenex.

1. Li N-L, Tseng S-C, Hsu C-C, et al. A simple, innovative way to reduce rhinitis symptoms after sedation during endoscopy. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;25(2):68-72. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043006/

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130 thoughts on “Rhinitis in the Colonoscopy Patient

  1. Very interesting. These were my exact same symptoms yesterday after colonoscopy under propofol sedation. All day long I was dripping and sneezing to the point of taking diphenhydramine to make it stop. And yes, only one nostril (right) stung, burned, and tickled–triggering continued dripping and sneezing. This morning I searched “rhinitis after colonoscopy” and Google auto-filled the search string before I could even finish typing it! Then I knew this was a common problem. My original concern was some type of community-acquired bacterial sinusitis. The hospital had been undergoing some remodeling yesterday and they had the AC turned to a higher temperature than is customary in that setting. So the procedure area and recovery rooms were pretty warm. Worried me that I might have caught a bug! Thank you for posting this thorough review of your own experience.

    • I am experiencing the same with my left nostril following a colonoscopy. I started to sneeze++ in the recovery room and my left nostril is running. My left eye (Day 2) has started to run as well but I am not sneezing as much today. It’s like I’ve got a bad cold and it feels like something is sore in my left nostril.

        • I’m so glad someone wrote back to say when exactly their sore and runny nosed ended. It’s been so hard to find out the duration of this silent and untalked about side effect that comes from rubber tubing/oxygen/propofil. Thank you! I hope mine goes away in four days too. I had anesthesia, oxygen too for uterine surgery to remove polyps, and immediately noticed my right nostril was sore. It’s been running ever since. Has been two full days now.

          • I’m writing again to report that my nose dripped and sneezing continued for me for eight days. Today is the first day that I can say it’s going away and nearly gone. An anesthesiologist will tell u they’ve never heard of this, but clearly it’s, “a real thing!”

      • I just hand hand surgery for a cyst removal and woke up feeling great but then the sneezing started and by the time my husband got me to the car my eyes and nose were dripping and running like a faucet. This is day three for me and don’t feel much better. I haven’t had a cold in about seven years. All has to do with that blasted pronged oxygen tube they put in your nose I suppose and it has to do with the knock out drug and hose regardless of what type of surgery. Thank you for these posts as they don’t make me feel all alone in this.

        • I had the exact same thing happen to me after my colonoscopy. I had it this past Thursday and my nose still burns and I’m sneering. Does anyone have a treatment that will help this?I’m getting tired of this.

      • Oh my goodness! I just had procedure this morning.. have been sneezing my head off, left nostril irritated, and teary left eye. Started to google correlation between propafol and upper resp. issues, voila!

        • I had my colonoscopy this morning. Woke up from sedation with runny left nostril, irritated sinus (pressure on left), teary left eye, and sneezing. I’ve had several colonoscopies before but never with this complication. This doesn’t seem like a cold since it came on so suddenly (right after procedure) and I have no other cold symptoms.

    • Yes exactly the same … Due to excessive sneezing I have also just looked it up on Google to find out what on earth is going on …. Same procedure of a colonoscopy with a cannular for sedation and a tube in my nose for oxygen … At least I know now!

      • Me too. Had a colonoscopy yesterday and my left nostril and eye cconstsntly drip. The hospital nurse called me to ask how I was doing and I told her about my condition and she said she didn’t know if people had a reaction to the oxygen and she asked a colleague who said it did happen. I am miserable and can’t stop the runny nose and eye

    • I had a colonoscopy under proprofol yesterday and immediately upon waking up in the recovery room I was sneezing. I asked the nurse why I was sneezing so much? She said it is probably the air conditioning. Today – the 2nd day after I am still sneezing, my left eye watering like crazy and my left nostril running. I googled the symptoms after colonoscopy and found this is a common thing after colonoscopy after mod to deep sedation. I also called my Dr’s office and was told it is from the oxygen and tubing.

      • I had a colonoscopy yesterday and have been having these same nasal symptoms! I’m so glad to have found this site! I have just found one thing that may help to relieve symptoms: put some cotton or tissue in the effected nostril to mostly block the passageway. It seems like it might reduce the irritation and therefore relieve the dripping and sneezing. I just started doing this so time will tell if it might be a good temporary solution.

    • I just had a colonoscopy this morning and have been sneezing ever since. Thought I was crazy! Glad I googled it and found that others have experienced this as well. I will definitely let the doctor know when his office does their follow up call tomorrow.

      • I need relief! Thanks for this article. I just had a colonoscoy and my right nostril is burning and running. I thought I was having some kind of alergy attack. But than I remembeted I take Claritin everyday and did so after the procedure so I should not have a problem. Than I googled and here it is. Is there a way to get relief? They need to tell the nurses to grease our nostrils before the 02 is put on. I think that might help. Ineed relief.

        • I had my procedure Monday at 8am……it is Thursday morning and my nose is still running like a faucet, sneezing, coughing (post nasal drip) I feel like I have a bad cold. I stayed home from work yesterday because I work with seniors and I feel bad going to work and coughing all day. I have read this lasts about 4 days, hoping today it will stop……and I thought the PREP for colonoscopy was bad……this is ridiculous!

    • This happened to me today. Left nostril. Soooo irritated, nose running, sneezing. This is a game changer for me. I’ve had colonoscopies before without this problem occurring. Not happy.

      • Had colonoscopy yesterday and this has never happened before to me. Glad I goggled as thought I had gotten a cold. Can’t get anthing done from sneezing and catching the drips. Lol

    • Sing is all that helped me so sing, sing sing ..not sure why.. but tonight I put on Pandora and started to sing and I stopped sneezing.. colonoscopy and endoscopy friday..

    • Thank you for you response, as I have had the exact same symptoms. My nose has been not just running, but literally dripping since I got home a few hours ago. And yes, one nostril is burny and itchy. So, no huge deal. Beats the hell out of what I went through last night… 🙂 But, I wish someone had told me! How long does this last??

    • Day 2 after colonoscopy and I have been miserable with sneezing and nose running like a sieve. Took allergy tabs and not any better. My head feels like I have a sinus infection, I have been sneezing like I have allergies (which I don’t) and my left nostril in particular is literally dripping like a leaky faucet. Out of frustration I googled “runny nose after colonoscopy” and found this to be very common! WHY do they not prepare you for this side effect??? I appreciate the posts confirming my experience!!!

    • I have the same symptoms as everyone else (sneezing, CONSTANT DRIPPING right nostril 🤧and 😢right eye). I also started sneezing as soon as I came to. This is my third colonoscopy and I didn’t experience this with my first two. When I get my follow up call tomorrow, I am going to ask what was done differently from the last 2 times time. Hopefully I will have an answer to share.
      P.S. Thank you to whoever suggested sticking a tissue in your nose. It gives some relief, “short lived” but I will take anything at this point.

  2. Today was my third colonoscopy. Shortly after I awoke with a “stuffy” nose, I began sneezing with a “hay fever” like reaction. After I got home it has continued unabated and is very annoying. I wondered if it was possible to wake up with a “cold” but it made more sense to me that it was an allergic reaction. So I googled it. Wow. I do not have many allergies except dust, and some pet dander so I rarely get these symptoms without a cold. And of course none of this was in the short procedure unit. This article makes the most sense, given I did not go through any of this in my last procedures. I feel pretty certain it was from the nasal O2. I appreciate this information.

    • It’s the O2 but it is due to the anesthesia department using a CO2 monitor in one nostril and high flow oxygen in the other. This needs to change but won’t until patients start complaining.

      • Thanks for your input. Same thing here after a colonoscopy today. I am a RN and I figured it was the O2 and long nasal prongs but seeing your post confirmed it. They really do need to rethink this. Going in for a colonoscopy and coming out with full blown rhinitis was not part of the plan LOL.

    • i have the same with my colonoscopy two days ago! woke up with an allergy type stiffy left nostril and overnite goes to the right…very aggravating!! i thought a cold was coming on…i believe niw after reading all these accounts that its the anesthesia/ oxygen! ugh!

  3. I expperenced the same , I mention my sore nose a number of times to the nurses and commented that I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I felt shocked It had come on so sudenly , do the nurses/ doctors know the procedure can cause this ?? I would have greatly appreciated a warning . I will defenatly need extra time off work if I get it done again

  4. Same thing! I had it done today and I really want it to stop. Just when you think it is over, this misery starts!

  5. This happened to me as well. It’s been three days and my left nostril is still irritated and drippy, and I keep sneezing. Why do the doctors do this to us????

  6. Just went through the colonoscopy today and experiencing the same problem. Is there anything I can take over the counter to make it stop.?

  7. I just had a colonoscopy and have been blowing my nose since I woke up. I was not sick at all before the procedure and do not have any allergies. I recently (within the month) had shoulder manipulation under general anesthesia and did not have this same reaction. I also googled it and found I was not alone. I would love to know if I could avoid this the next time. I also work as a nurse in a same day unit and take care of patients who are having EGD’s and colonoscopies. I have never heard this complaint but will be more aware of it if anyone comes out with a runny nose.

  8. I can’t tell you how relieved I am to read your post. Had my first colonoscopy this morning so I had no point of reference to compare my symptoms to. I too thought it was a strong allergic reaction or coincidentally a cold was starting. My right nostril is like a faucet. I will be addressing this with my gastro doctor at my follow up visit.

  9. Day 7 after endoscopy sneezing has stopped but still feel the itch and burning in right nostril, eye is running and now have sinus pain. No fun….

  10. I just had a colonoscopy/endoscopy yesterday. I, too, have been sneezing like crazy. My right nostril is itching and dripping. I had never had this happen before with these procedures and had never heard it was a possibility. I just knew I didn’t have a cold. What actually causes this ? Is it a side effect of the sedation or from the nasal cannula ?

    • No–it’s a change in how anesthesiologist is monitoring patients. In the last couple of years more anesthisiologists are using a high flow oxygen in one nostril and a co2 monitor in the other. The consequence is discomfort in the high flow nostril and I suspect the placement of the cannula has something to do with it. Patients need to start complaining or it is not going to change.

      • Thanks. There are probably many people that have this happen and just assume they are getting a cold or allergic rhinitis. I was just glad to find out I wasn’t completely crazy.

      • I’m on day 5 and I feel horrible. I can’t even inhale thru my right nostril from the burning. I’ve tried benadryl and saline and Flonase. Nothing helps. Any idea how much longer this could go on? This is really so much worse than a cold!

  11. Are nurses prohibited from stating this after-effect? It seems the nurse spoke to me about everything but this. Right after the procedure (yesterday), the nurse came in and gave me a tissue box right away. But I was not informed about this until just now reading all the blogs.

    • No, I think it’s just a new problem and its from anesthesia not the procedure. Please complain to the hospital. Until people start complaining this will not change.

  12. I had rotator cuff surgery in April and started sneezing as soon as I woke up. The inside of my nose was very sore. It is now September and while my nose is better, it is not all better. Some days I don’t notice it and other days it’s uncomfortable. I am going to see an ENT Dr because I have another surgery coming up next month. Something different needs to be done.

  13. I also developed a fever which made be nervous along with the runny nose and sneezing. The fever is gone but cold symptoms are still hanging on. Did anyone else develop a low grade fever?

  14. Same thing here; I am in misery. The weird thing is that I can sleep perfectly fine, but as soon as I wake up the itching, sneezing and dripping begins. Does anything help this? Benadryl, Allegra, etc.?

    • oh me too! When I first woke up this morning I thought I was better (2 days following my procedure) but once I got out of bed, realized I was not. Its annoying!

  15. Kathy, based on your advice, I called the surgical center where my colonoscopy was performed, the doctor who did the procedure, and the anesthesiologist: No one wants to hear about this. I have been repeatedly told that I just have a cold or allergies. I know my body well enough to know what a cold feels like, and I don’t suffer from allergies. I keep telling them that I woke up from the procedure sneezing and with a runny nose and that those symptoms have continued for five days now. It has all fallen on deaf ears. The entire problem with the medical community in a nutshell – talking AT patients instead of WITH them. So frustrated…and sneezy.

    • I’m at a little bit of a loss as to how to bring this out. I think anesthesiologists just think this is “no big deal” and don’t want to admit to it being a problem. Also, I suspect it has some what to do with how the flow is positioned because not every one complains. But this has certainly hit a nerve in the patient population. It needs to be studied and fixed.

      • Well, I am feeling much better, but it was five days of misery. If they had let me know that this could be an issue or possible side effect, it would have been fine. It’s the lack of information that is infuriating. If it weren’t for this site, I would have thought I was going crazy. Thank you.

    • I am on day two now after having a colonoscopy with the oxygen in my nose mediately after waking up I started sneezing and sneezing and sneezing and sneezing my nose will not quit dripping this is ridiculous nobody told me about this I’ve tried Benadryl I’ve tried Allegra nothing is helping me this is Very disabling can someone tell me what to take to get some relief? The colonoscopy wasn’t bad it’s afterwords not been able to breathe or talk or walk and missing work terrible.
      I know I had a colonoscopy yesterday and I can’t quit sneezing and my nose won’t quit running I am so frustrated I don’t know what to do I’m going to have to call in work I’m so irritable and upset nobody told me about this side effect I would just rather have the old colonoscopy like they did before I had no side effects with it

  16. I am a physician and had never experience any symptoms after multiple colonoscopies and upper endoscopies. I had both procedures today and after 8 hours , I’m still miserable from the headache, sneezing , nasal congestion, sinus pain, severe ocular pain with excessive tearing. It’s a relief to know these are not uncommon. I’ll make sure I tell my gastroenterologist I would want a different type of sedation next time.

      • I had a hysterectomy one week ago. My nose has been running, sneezing, burning and my eye is tearing ever since I woke up in the recovery room. Several have asked, but no one has given suggestions on how to stop this. Any help would be appreciated.

    • I had a colonoscopy yesterday and I’m miserable I can’t quit sneezing and my nose won’t quit running this is so agervating and miserable I am so upset no one told me about the side effects I had a colonoscopy before and this never happened what did you do to quit sneezing and nose quit dripping I’ve taken Benadryl and Allegra and nothing seems to help.

  17. I had a colonoscopy yesterday – Immediately after waking up in recovery I was sneezing. I asked the nurse why I was sneezing so much and she said “it is probably the air conditioning”. By the time I got home my left nostril was running like crazy and the sneezing continued. The next day (today) My left eye has been watering all day in addition to the sneezing and left nostril running. I googled first and found this forum and than called my dr’s office – at which time the nurse told me it is from the oxygen and tubing and will go away in a day or so. I was not sick at all nor have I had allergies ever prior to going in for the colonoscopy and having gone to sleep for this procedure.

    • It’s not from the oxygen or the tubing directly, it is from the set up of high flow oxygen directed into ONE nostril. This is absolutely not necessary but have no idea if anyone is working on a better way to accomplish the aim of safely keeping patients oxygenating while not making them uncomfortable for days after the procedure.

  18. Thank you for your post! I had my colonoscopy on Friday, and I had a runny nose (right nostril only) and was sneezing constantly the minute I got home and all day Saturday. The sneezing finally stopped today (Monday). I still have a runny nose, but it’s significantly better. Your post and all the comments from others helped me figure out my problem. I emailed my dr.’s office about my symptoms.

  19. I have the same symptoms! After waking up from my colonoscopy today I started sneezing and my nose has not stop running. I am still feeling the same symptoms . I will be putting this down on my patient survey and turning it into my doctor I will also let her know how miserable it is. I just took a Claritin and I’m hoping that will make a difference .

  20. I had my colonoscopy Wednesday my nose was burning after my procedure and then the sneezing started then the watery eye and nose like a faucet only my right side. Today is Friday and still the same minus the sneezing as much. I have this procedure every 3 years and have never had symptoms like this before. Miserable indeed… I knew it had to be from the oxygen but very glad I found this post, As for medication to relieve this nothing has helped me to dry up. I know the feeling when people are saying miserable.. I think it’s down right annoying, I am pretty sure the nurse knew what was up with me and just handed me Kleenex.

  21. I’ve got the same thing and called the place where I had the procedure. The nurse said she’s never heard this. Maybe if more people speak up about it, someone will finally look into it. It’s painful, tickley, and liquid is just pouring out my nose. I can’t blow it fast enough.

    I’m considering flushing my nose netty pot style with salt water. I haven’t taken any allergy meds yet.

  22. Thank you for the information. I just had a colonoscopy today and it started with my left nostril tickling and then it started running. Glad I know why now. I popped a Vitamin C worried I picked something up.

  23. I just had an endoscopy today at 1pm and have runny nose, eye tearing, and frequent sneezing. This all started on the drive home. When will it end? Is it safe to take a Benadryl along with my nightly 2mg Ativan for sleep tonight? Is this too much sedation after the anesthesia today?

  24. I had a colonoscopy yesterday and am too sneezing and only my right nostril is tickling and burning however I was given what can only be described as a sponge which was popped into my right nostril only, supplying oxygen, never heard of it being done that way but am still getting the symptoms as everyone else has described! Oh well at least I know it will pass and it isn’t painful just annoying!

  25. Had a colonoscopy about a year ago and propofol was used. Almost as soon as I awoke I had a massive runny nose…but just from my R nostril. Used about 10 Kleenexes right out the gate. Mine did not persist very long.

    Interesting to learn that the problem is due to the one nostril O2.

  26. Had a colonoscopy yesterday 12/7/16. Immediately, when the oxygen tube was put in my nostrils the right side starting burning terribly. Asked what was it, and was told it was oxygen. Said I’d had oxygen before and it never caused my nose to burn, thought I was having an allergic reaction. Was told it could be the plastic. I keep pulling the tube out saying something must be wrong, but they kept putting it back saying it would stop. He gave me the IV and next thing I was waking up and my nose was very painful. I took the tube out and asked nurse for tissue and starting blowing, thought I had something in my nose but only a little liquid came out. Then I started sneezing. I thought I had had an allergic reaction to something. No one said anything about this reaction being a common one because of the medication. Was a little afraid because I have asthma and a lot of sneezing can trigger shortness of breath. Thank God, didn’t have an asthma attack but have been suffering all day today trying to figure what to take to relieve symptoms. So glad this website is here so I have some idea what’s going on. Will definitely contact the doctor to let them know that patient should be advised of the side effects of this new procedure. Have had two prior colonoscopies without any kind of side effects.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

  27. I had a colonoscopy this morning and is soon as I woke up in recovery I started sneezing and sneezing and sneezing my nose is running and it’s been eight hours, this is miserable someone needs to report this issue. I called my doctor and asked the nurse she said take Benadryl and is not helping me at all. My nose is dripping like a faucet and I continue to sneeze. This is so frustrating!!!! I had a cold a couple weeks ago and just got over that about four days ago. This is ridiculous I’m so upset.

  28. Same thing for me today. I almost never sneeze, & this is ridiculous. So far I’ve only found one study that only deals with the type of delivery system:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043006/

    Hope the link works.

    I tried a Vick’s nasal inhaler, knowing that Camphor & Menthol are mild anesthetics, but it only helped briefly. Next, I sprayed a 2% Lidocaine solution (marketed for burns) onto a Q-tip & inserted it waaay up into my right nostril. This worked a little better than the Vick’s, but it wasn’t a magic bullet. If I come up with any other ideas, I’ll post them.

    Good luck to all
    Janet K, Rph

  29. Thank you for your post. I am suffering the same misery and your information was very helpful. I have had 2 surgeries, spinal and foot surgery in the last few years. A colonoscopy and this was my 3rd Endoscopy and never had this occur. This is day three after procedure. When the nurse called day after, I told her no after effect from Endoscopy but told her about severe nose drip, irritation of right nostril and constant severe sneezing. She told me probably from Anesthesia but could not give me an explanation. I will notify my doctor directly to make him aware. Strange also that as I noted in other postings that I slept through the night but as soon as I woke started sneezing again. Thank you again.

    • I had a colonoscopy yesterday, July 11, 2017, and when I awoke, I felt a pricking in my nose and took the oxygen tube out of my nose, but the nurse put it back in. I immediately started sneezing and sneezing and my nose ran constantly. As soon as I awakened this morning, it started all over again and has continued throughout today. I have to use paper towels, as Kleenex is not sufficient to collect the fluid. As soon as I take the paper towel from my nose, it drips on the floor, or my clothes. As the rest of you have been commenting, it is miserable. When the doctors office called this morning to see how I was doing, I told them I was having no problem from the colonoscopy but I have a pricking in my nose causing me to continually sneeze and my nose to drip like a sieve. She said she had not had this complaint before. I told her it was only in my right nostril. She said the Oxygen is administered in the right nostril. I thought perhaps I had gotten an infection from the oxygen mask until I googled and found this website. I’ve had three prior colonoscopies and have never had this problem before. Several comments I have read on this page said the anesthesiologists have started using a different method of applying the oxygen which is causing the problem. I tend to concur, since propofol was always used in prior colonoscopies and I never experienced this horrible problem before. I’m thankful to know the reason for my misery and that I’m not going crazy.

  30. I’m suffering from this. It’s horrible. You’d think that they would let you know it’s a potential side effect.
    I can’t breathe at all from my right nostril it’s that painful.

  31. Had a colonoscopy four days ago. The second one. I had forgotten how sick I got after the first one, until they took the oxygen off. I have been miserably ill with a head cold. Missing the rest of the week of work and most likely trudging through next week sick. I have asthma; I’m terrified this will get into my lungs before it’s done.

  32. Thank you all for posting. I had a colonoscopy yesterday and got severe rhinitis on the way home. Fell asleep after a meal and had severe sneezing on waking, right eye streaming. Woke up in the night with it as well. Right nostril burning. Washed nostrils with cold water, applied vicks liberally and turned the electric blanket on. Symptoms eased enough to go nacl to sleep. So relieved to discover it’s linked to the oxygen and not allergies.

  33. Just had my colonoscopy/endoscopy yesterday. Seems like a little thing to complain about but I have taken several OTC’s and nothing is working to relieve the symptoms. My nose is raw from blowing and and my eyes watery. What a mess LOL

  34. Well I guess I’ve joined the itchy, sneezy, drippy club. I had an endoscopy today and just like the rest of you, as soon as I woke up in recovery the itching n burning started in my right nostril. They had to give me benadryl but no one bothered to tell me what was going on. Funny thing is, I’ve had many surgeries and procedures under sedation, but this was the first time this happened. Hope it’s the last time

  35. I had a colonoscopy last Wednesday. Today is Sunday (day 5) and I am still not completely over the misery. I also woke up from the procedure sniffling and sneezing, and the rest of that day my nose was just like a faucet running with constant stabbing, tickling sensations. I began to rinse both nostrils with just plain water, and the stinging pain was horrible, but that seemed to help, so I have been continuing that up until now. The second day I called the nurse at the surgery center and she suggested Benadryl. I took two and it was no help. (The doctor who did the procedure never returned my call.) Yesterday the running nose began to slow down, but my eyes are still swollen and watery, and I have almost no sense of smell. I also am able to sleep, thank goodness, but when I begin to move around, the symptoms begin.

  36. Thank goodness for this post and all you beautiful people. Had my first colonoscopy/endoscopy today. When they put the oxygen on my nose, I immediately commented that it felt like a lot… no comment. Then I noticed that it felt like one side was not in my nose. This explains it perfectly!!! No relief with Claritan, tried some Vaseline up the one nostril that’s bugging me (helped a short while), and then Neti Pot… nothing. Guess I’ll wait it out. Thank you for the perfect explanation. I’m going to suggest they add it to the take home information. Geez.

  37. Thank you for posting this information. While I’m sorry to see so many patients suffering from it, it’s good to know it’s common. I had an endoscopy and colonoscopy this morning and have been bothered with sneezing and a runny nose since then. The left side is a bit congested my right nostril is running, itching and burning like crazy. I took cold medicine and it has not helped. They do need to tell you this is a common side-effect.

  38. I had my first ever colonoscopy yesterday. I noticed when the nasal cannula was inserted it felt uncomfortable. I tried to adjust it a little, but, still somewhat uncomfortable. Afterwards, in recovery, I awoke to sneezing & burning in only in right nostril. I kept sneezing over & over. My nose was running like a faucet. The nurse brouget me a box of kleenex, which I used most of by the time I got home. At first I thought my allergies were really bad, but, I decided something wasn’t right & Googled the symptoms. Sure enough, I found this forum & discovered I’m not alone in my misery. This is terrible. I cannot even function like this. I too, have noticed it doesn’t effect me while I’m sleeping, but, as soon as I get up…burning, runny nose & watery, teary eye…only the right side. I had awful headache yesterday, but, not today. I do feel slightly feverish, though.
    Nobody told me this reaction could happen. It’s now, Friday night…I hope it gets better very soon. I will be calling the facility where the colonoscopy was done & report my symptoms. I will also be calling my doctor. They really need to use another method of sedation…this is not right at all! Thank you all for sharing your experiences.

  39. had my colonoscopy on april 4th, 2017 and showed the same symptoms as above. sneezing and nose running like a turned on faucet. i tried everything i could think of, nose sprays ( three different kinds), double zyrtec, cold medicine, saline solutions in the effected nostril (only) left one, I suffered through the second day, my left eye dripping and getting more and more swollen when my husband said try ibuprofen and tylenol. so i took one tylenol and one ibuprofen and -bingo- after a short time the itching in my left nostril stopped and , therefore, the sneezing! just thought i pass this on

  40. I had my colonoscopy this morning. Same itching, burning, tingling, sneezing with massive unrelenting drainage focused mainly on the right nostril. I’ve nearly gone through a box of tissue so far. I used Claritin, Sudafed and nasal spray before googling and finding out my efforts will be to no avail. Everything about my procedure was textbook until this. I will report it on the questionnaire and to the nurse who calls tomorrow. It’s pretty horrible. If anyone has found anything that works to alleviate the symptoms or speed up the recovery, please share.

    • I just had my first colonoscopy yesterday with similar experience. I told my husband I was sure it was the oxygen. Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts. I am so miserable. I am done with colonoscopy. I pray I never have the need for it again. I wish they had warned me.

  41. I’m so glad that I was curious enough to Google my runny nose as an after effect of anesthesia. Years ago, my mother mentioned that there were instances where she had been administered an anesthetic for surgery, and had experienced a runny nose or cold post surgery and wearing off of the anesthetic. I had therefore heard about a runny nose as a side effect of anesthesia but had never experienced it. I had my third colonoscopy yesterday….when I got home and proceeded to rest, my left nostril felt dry so I massaged it a little and then applied some saline solution. About thirty minutes later, my left nostril started to tingle/burn slightly and then I began sneezing. I am still sneezing today….also with a runny nose/nostril and having to blow my nose intermittently. I guess I’ll have to suffer through it or use some Benadryl or Ibuprofen even though the doctor recommended no aspirin, etc for the next 7 days.

  42. Exact same symptoms as listed above after my endoscopy. Now if someone can create a list of things to try to manage the symptoms I would be most grateful.

  43. Wow! I thought the pre-op procedure for a colonoscopy was , but the immediate sneezing and MAJOR runny nose AFTER the colonoscopy is even worse! With the multitude of complaints just in this thread why don’t anesthesiologists find an alternative procedure than the heavy oxygen flow through the nostril. And most say it will last 3 to 4 days? I certainly didn’t have this problem 4 years ago with the same gastroenterologist. Come on doctors – remember “Do no harm”?

  44. Like everyone else I googled side effects from colonoscopy anastesia as I woke up with a snuffed up nose and within a few minutes started sneezing and I mean hard sneezing. I have had a tissue to my nose ever since and it is sometimes driving to the floor before I can grab a new tissue fast enough! I have not had a cold in about 8 years and figured initially it was allergies or as thesaurus went on that I picked up a bug at the hospital. But it did not feel like a cold really although it is making me feel miserable and my nose is raw after an afternoon and evening. While I read about possible side effects from anastetic and understand why they feel the need to do this, it would have been good to know and I will inform my doctor at my follow up appointment about it. Thank you to the persons above who got me informed. Positive is it is not a cold.

  45. Me too!!! I just had vascular surgery and immediately after started sneezing and my left nostril running! I’m on day three and beginning to lighten up. Although this morning I woke with hives left side abdomen. I am thinking this may be due to the nasal spray I was using to help with the runny nose! Bright side: Hives and runny nose are lessening the irritation of incisions!

  46. I am so glad I found this thread. I had colonoscopy yesterday 8:00 a.m.. started sneezing in recovery and still miserable 24 hours later. I have taken an antihistamine, used my daily Flonase. Nothing helps. I got no sleep last night added to the no sleep the night before due to the wonderful miralax.
    This is miserable and glad to see I’m not the only one. I guess you just have to live through it. Fortunately I am retired and don’t have a job to report to.
    I will definitely add comment to any survey I get and will ask about this if any other procedures come up.

  47. Had the endoscopy and colonoscopy this morning. Immediately upon “waking up,” right nostril was crazy itchy and I’ve been a waterfall ever since. Benadryl allowed me to sleep, but as soon as I woke and sat up, the buckets began again and I can’t believe this much fluid is in my body to begin with. I have to work tomorrow and am thinking of wearing a bandana across nose, robber-like, so no one has to see the involuntary nasal drip. And keep the tissues packed like a baby’s bib? There MUST be a better way. For all of it – including the Prep “beverage.” Nowhere near as painful as the diverticulitis, but almost as debilitating. I’m grateful to find this thread so I know I’m not alone.

  48. Thanks for posting. Had my first colonoscopy today. Procedure went smoothly. The aftermath not so. Dripping and sneezing is profuse. This may have a negative impact on my career. This can’t be acceptable medicine.

  49. I had colonoscopy surgery yesterday, and I too am suffering terribly from these same symptoms. I woke up early morning with what felt like a severe sinus infection and headache. A hammer to my big toe I imagined would be far less than the pain I felt in my head. Now, I’m not a doctor, but I am a pilot, so here is my uneducated but educated explaination and solution to your pain. Michael Jackson died from the use of propofol as a sleep aid. I suspect that propofol works as a anesthetic because it takes over your body and slows down its ability to maintain itself (respiration and heart rate). That is why we fall into such deep unconsciousness. Now, to counter this anesthesiologists pump in, through one nostril, near pure O2 (oxygen) in order to keep our cells and body alive. This insures that we do not lead to hypoxic asphyxiation, which leads to death. Now, pilots have to be mindful of this condition also. Because at altitude there may not be enough pressure to pump oxygen, or atmosphere into our bodies. And I say “atmosphere,” because we animals on earth’s surface do not breathe an atmosphere of pure oxygen. Without looking it up, I believe our atmosphere which we humans have adapted to live in only contains about 33% or less O2. Sometimes, other than when in emergency situations pilot will use our oxygen mask at a setting of 100% O2 to clear our heads and spike our awareness and mental processes. And then we come home to what we believe is Sinusitus caused by bacteria in the oxygen mask. So, in a sense, we are on an “oxygen high” or oxygen intoxication. I remember how good I felt after coming out of surgery. I had such good feelings and happy thoughts. I almost bought I and my wife brand new Ducati motorcycles as I visited the store coming home from surgery. Then the sinus trouble and headache, and sneezing the sentivity to light started. Intensified by the dry bright Las Vegas climate I live in. In otherwords I was suffering just like Migraine headache sufferers. Your cells are over-stimulated and now your sinus and head hurt. I also suffer over stimulation and pain from smelling perfumes and deodorants. So, the next morning, after a sleepless night, (I also had to call in sick from my next airline trip this morning) I.on an educated guess, took some Migraine formula aspirin and so far it has relieved the pain and sneezing. I hope this helps you.

  50. Oh, and also, your bodies, noses and heads are working feverishly hard to re-adjust to the non 100% pure oxygen environment we live in.

  51. I just had the same experience after an epidural with sedation. Could not understand why the sudden nose swelling and eye swelling and itchy painful nostril. Have had at least six of these procedures and never had an experience like this. Like everyone else I tried antihistamines and nose spray and found little relief. Putting aloe vera in my nostril did help soothe the burning itching. I don’t understand why at the same Center just four months ago I have the same procedure and had absolutely no adverse effects. This time however I had extreme nausea after the procedure and then this ridiculous swollen nose swollen eye condition. It is truly miserable but I agree with others that just a heads up about what it is would help.

  52. Same exact thing after my colonoscopy today and really, it is miserable especially after what the procedure puts you through. I came across this website looking for suggestions: https://forums.netdoctor.co.uk/discussion/16961/allergic-reaction-to-oxygen-nasal-tubing/p2

    A post suggested vibrocil nasal spray for instant relief. Could not find a pharmacy near me with it or a spray with its active ingredients (Dimethindene-Maleate and
    Phenylephrine). Called the hospital pharmacy and they suggested generic nasal sprays with the second ingredient and/or Afrin. I tried the generic with 1% Phenylephrine and the sneezing stopped immediately and tearing and runny nose are markedly improved.

    It’s only been 1.5 hours but if you’ve had severe rhinitis with this procedure, you know any relief is most welcome. Will be calling my gastroenterologist to wage a complaint in hopes that the procedure changes. Best to fellow sufferers!

  53. Same symptoms exactly. Called nurse at surgery center an she recommended antihistamine. Took one I had at home (Benadryl) and it helped.

  54. Many thanks to Back2ord for the 1% Phenylephrine tip. After almost 48 hours, with the rhinitis starting again this morning, I finally made it to the end of this thread and was ecstatic for something to try. I keep the generic version of this spray on hand for colds, but since I wasn’t stuffy, it hadn’t occurred to me to try it. I feel like a new person! One piece of advice, though. If you use it too often or use too much, it can cause rebound symptoms/stuffiness. The directions say a dose is 2 to 3 squirts, but I suggest trying to get by on less for the post-anesthesia rhinitis. Only one squirt seems to be working for me so far, and someone else suggested tylenol, which I may add to the mix. Although the anti-inflammatory properties of ibuprofen might work better, it is not recommended post-colonoscopy, as it may increase the risk of an internal bleed.

  55. Glad I looked this up. I had EGD and Colonoscopy, and this is not my first rodeo but it is the first time I woke up sneezing, runny nose and left eye watery. It is now day 3 after procedure and I am still sneezing, nose running and watery eye. I will be sure to complain to the Nurse when she calls me. This has never happened before.

  56. July 14, 3014
    Today after my Colonoscopy woke up with runny nose nurse claim it was my allergies. Stuffiness in right nostril. Never have had this issue before after a Colonoscopy

  57. Spent the day in bed with tearing eye ( left side) , dripping nose and headache. I usually roll with side effects , but this is crazy ! My prep for colonoscopy was a piece of cake compared to this. I’m 100% telling my doc about this . My husband is going out now to get some Afrin and hopefully that will work .

  58. I had a colonoscopy with proponal on Tuesday afternoon. Woke up with soft clot of fresh blood in right nostril, coughing, congestion, and complete laryngitis. I had none of these when I walked in. It is now Thursday night, and none of the symptoms have resolved in the least. None of these potential side effects of the anesthesia were mentioned to me in pre-interview of anesthesiologist.. There was an oxygen delivery device on my nose when I first woke up and the nurse quickly removed it.

  59. First time I have every had this side effect from this type of anesthesia. While I am relieved to find I am not the only one, it is MISERABLE. I agree that after the awful colonoscopy prep it just doesn’t seem fair to be this miserable immediately after. Right nostril completely plugged and sneezing up a storm. Has anyone had had relief from drugs like Sudafed? It looked like not. . . .

  60. Had a procedure done this morning. I’m sneezing like someone threw red pepper flakes in my face! To make matters worse, the hard sneezing forces me to run to the ladies room. I’m tempted to take an antihistamine, but do I really want to aggravate my dry eyes?

  61. Colonoscopy on monday, followed by sneezing and a torrent of dripping from my right nostril. Day 3 and no improvement. Benedryl helped a little but side effect is sleepiness. Allegra no help so far. My pharmacist thought the oxygen might have “burned” the tiny hairs in the nostril which catch the moisture from the sinuses. She said the hairs will grow back but it may be 3 or 4 weeks. Anesthesiologists should take care to moderate the intensity of the oxygen flow.

  62. Here’s the skinny! I had a Colonoscopy and an Endoscopy today. When I woke up my right nostril was itchy, burning and my nose was running like a faucet had been turned on. The, after about 5 hours I started getting stuffy but yet my nose was still running. I’ve been through almost a whole box of kleenex, mine and theirs combined. I’ve had kleenex stuffed up my nose while trying to do dishes and also care for my 5 dogs.
    I couldn’t take it anymore so I called the facility where my procedures were done and spoke with the nurse. Here’s what happens……. when you you lay on your side (left) the opposite nostril (right) does not get the same air flow as the one closest to the bed (left). So it dries out the membranes in there and when you sit back up normal it begins to it h and burn then your nose begins to run. Also, when you blow and blow and blow it’s causing congestion in your nose.
    The remedy: VASELINE put ya a Lil bit up in your nose to keep it moist. That should do it. Lord Don’t go spending lots of monet on products that you don’t need and won’t ever use again after a few days. Just get some vaseline. Walmart….travel section in the pharmacy area 99 cents. Can’t beat it! Good luck y’all.

    • Totally agree with the vaseline but think the nurse was being disingenuous — there is too much oxygen flowing on one side and, depending on how the delivery system is set up, it may be directly blowing on the membrane. This is related to only having oxygen delivered on one side. The CO2 monitor is on the other.

      • I agree. I had some injections in my neck and shoulder today under anesthesia. I was lying flat on my stomach with the oxygen tube on. And I have the exact same miserable side effects as everyone here. The new O2/CO2 explanation makes complete sense. I’ve had colonoscopies before with no problems afterwards. Glad I found this site to explain what is going on. And I have to go through this procedure 2 more times in the next several weeks. I’m definitely going to say something to the anesthesiologist!

  63. Thank you so much for this info!! I had a colonoscopy on Thursday and within 10 min. of being wheeled back into the recovery room and having those little tubes removed from nose, I started sneezing. The nurses had no idea about what would have caused my sneezing! The sneezing continued for 24-36, has mostly diminished but my nose/sinuses aren’t 100% yet. I’m still walking around with a box of kleenex and my left nostril is still sensitive. And air conditioning seems to aggravate it. Can’t believe more info didn’t come up in a google search. Thank you, again, for sharing your experience!

  64. Had a colonoscopy this afternoon. The procedure should have taken 40 minutes but because of difficulties,11 polyps were found and removed, the time taken increased to nearer 2 hours. I started of with gas and air but the high level discomfort experienced meant I was given sedation through the cannula fixed to the back of my right hand. Unfortunately, because one of the larger polyps proved difficult to remove I will have the procedure repeated in 3 months time as there could be a risk not all of it was removed.
    Within an hour of arriving home I developed constant sneezing and a very runny nose, all the symptoms of a heavy cold. Thinking this odd I Googled the symptoms and was amazed to see this is a very common occurrence amongst patients recovering from a colonoscopy procedure and is something to do with gas/air/sedative combination. I will raise this with the nurse who is scheduled to call me in the morning as I do find it strange no mention was made during my pre-procedure talk with the nurse two days ago.

  65. Just had an upper endoscopy procedure, woke up to a burning right nostril, teary right eye, sneezing all day runny nose on my right side won’t stop. So glad I found this I thought I caught a nasty bug while I was asleep. I called my doctor he never even knew about this, the mystery has been solved, I am surprised that my doctor was clueless about this.

  66. I had a colonoscopy Friday morning and started sneezing. My nurse asked if I was allergic to him. First day I sneezed all day long. I took Benedryl and other antihistamines I had and nothing helped. My sneezing has slowed down but my runny nose is still running on Sunday. I am miserable. I will definitely let my doctor know how the anesthesia they are using now is affecting their patients.

  67. Thanks to all who reported on this issue! I’ve had prior colonoscopies before but never with these symptoms? I just had a colonoscopy this morning and upon waking up, I had similar symptoms that were reported on this site.
    My right nostril is itchy and I have a runny nose and now i’m sneezing like mad!! I’m going to try half of an antihistamine and see how that works. I’m afraid of taking a full tablet because my stomach is stil a little queasy from the prep/cleanse that I did last night/this morning. I will also try Maggie’s suggestion of a little Vaseline in the nose and see how that works. Thanks again to all who posted to this site!

  68. I guess I get to make it into this club! I had my colonoscopy yesterday morning and by the time I left the facility I started sneezing and dripping only in my left nostril. All afternoon until bedtime miserable! Thought maybe it was from the plastic tubing. I awoke this morning with all the same symptoms mentioned in this post thread. I went in healthy and was assured that the prep was the worst part. I thought I would google my symptoms to see if anyone else had a reaction similar to mine. Now at least I know what I am dealing with. I will need to advise the facility that the prep wasn’t the only negative aspect of my experience. I am grateful to read of some possible remedies to try to relieve my discomfort.

  69. I’ve read several posts and they describe precisely the experience I am having one day after my procedure.
    I was about to tear my hair out! My left nostril was so sore, dripping the entire day like a tap and my nose is red raw!
    It may be a fortunate coincidence but I have just bought some peppermint flavoured gum and voila! My nose is feeling a lot better and the dripping got better. How bizarre!!!!

  70. I go in for endoscopies about every-other month while I try to get data relating to EoE. I often get the same thing, which lasts for about three days. I’m told it’s just the oxygen drying out the sinuses. The best solution I’ve found (apart from asking them to turn the oxygen down beforehand) is to use a tissue as a dam, like you would for a bloody nose. It stops the irritation in your upper nasal passage.

  71. POSSIBLE BROKEN NASAL CARTILAGE – After colonoscopy – Feels like the left lateral cartilage in my nose is moving around whenever i breathe through it. This tickles and sometimes i sneeze. Nose drools also.
    Was on left side, but know they often reposition you to facilitate passage of scope through the colon, and wonder if the left lateral cartilage got damaged.
    The facility said it was from the oxygen cannula, that it can irritate the nose. Hope that’s all it is; it’s only 2 days after the scoping.

  72. Day 2: I talked to my Dr’s assistant today about this horrible rhinitis (left nostril causing me to multiple-sneeze all day long, have a runny nose and watery itchy eyes) and told her how I discovered I am not alone. She tried to tell me that she was having allergy issues today and that perhaps that’s what my issue was too. I told her I do not have allergies while I looked up the local pollen count because my husband wasn’t suffering (which he would if the count were high). Today’s pollen count was at a medium and hubby wasn’t bothered at all and he worked outside all day. I cannot imagine that I am the first person to complain about this. She was very quick to disclaimer how great my Dr is… which I was not contesting at all. He was working on the other end, for cryin’ out loud! I said, “I have no problem with my Dr, it’s the cannula in my nose that was the problem!” LOL I have to endure another colonoscopy in 6 months so we shall see about a full face mask next time. I do know that one of my previous three colonoscopies I did have a face mask and I’m betting the same for the other two as well since I’ve never had this happen before. I’m going to check with my former Dr tomorrow.

    There are studies on this too https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043006/

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49836630_A_Simple_Innovative_Way_to_Reduce_Rhinitis_Symptoms_After_Sedation_during_Endoscopy

  73. Thank you for you responses, as I have had the exact same symptoms. My nose has been not just running, but literally dripping since I got home a few hours ago. And yes, one nostril is burning and itchy. So, no huge deal. Beats the hell out of what I went through last night… 🙂 After reading so many responses, apparently this is common, but why didn’t anyone’s doctor or post-op nurse mention this???

  74. Well this happened to me yesterday at my colonoscopy! This was my 3rd colonoscopy over about 15 years and it never happened before. Got home and had itching in my left nostril and started sneezing ALL DAY. Of course I googled this reaction and saw I wasn’t alone. The sneezing continued until I woke up this morning. The sneezing was constant and so disturbing! So happy it stopped but there has to be a reason if it’s happening to so many people!

    • I had my 4th colonoscopy (with a new Dr and facility) over a week ago, same thing but NEVER the 3 previous times. It was so horrific that it caused rhinitis (runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing) for at least three full days. I even called the medical assistant who denied ever hearing such a thing. After speaking to another medical professional, she agreed that the cannula irritates the inside of the nose which can cause the inflammation and that brings on all of those symptoms I mentioned.

      My husband’s colonoscopy was four days ago and he requested that they use a mask on him because he wasn’t going through the bs I just went through. They were able to find a mask and he walked out of his procedure 100% fine! So, now I know… and now you all know… you should request a mask. I plan on letting them know when they call to confirm the appointment with me. I have to go back in about 6 months.

      Here’s the kicker… As soon as the rhinitis started to clear up, my right eye remained rather itchy and the eyelid stung. The itching and burning was also above my eyebrow and in my scalp! I have shingles! Now, whether this is all coincidental, I don’t know. People get shingles from either low immunity or stress. I hadn’t been sick with even a cold in at least a decade though stress can run a little high, however, I was freaking out about the rhinitis issue and feeling like crap. It’s all too weird. However, I will NEVER EVER allow a cannula near me again!!

  75. Based on the number of comments, possibly our medical community should realize this a REAL thing and discuss it with patients. My colonoscopy / upper endoscopy was yesterday. I sneezed really hard several times in recovery and my nose started running and it hasn’t stopped. Allergy medication – doesn’t touch it. For all the terrible stories and nervousness about the procedure – it was not a big deal. THIS however, is MISERABLE to deal with! I get to look forward to doing the upper endoscopy again in 4-months.

  76. Right eye was light sensitive, left nostril burns a little and runs. Slightest tickle makes me sneeze. I had a colonoscopy as well, this morning. Propofol was used for my procedure, also. Truthfully I had sinus pressure weeks prior to the procedure, so I thought that the anesthesia wearing off, was normal. Hindsight being what it is, I’m glad they found nothing. I’m actually relieved to see this is common, just hoping it doesn’t last long.

  77. I had my latest colonoscopy on 9/28/2017. Before this one, I had about 6 or so colonoscopies with “conscious sedation” — not completely knocked out but comfortable. All of them went well with no side effects. This was my second one with propofol but my first with a nasal canula with oxygen. I found out later that I was also given a “breathing treatment.” I went in perfectly well and feeling good. I woke up with fever and a bad cough. At home, my temperature was 100.6. I called the colonoscopy center, and the gastroenterologist wanted me to go to an emergency room for an x-ray; she was concerned about pneumonia. Instead, I called my primary care physician, who asked me some savvy questions (Do you have chest pain? Are you out of breath when you are sitting down?” etc.). He suggested that I wait a day or and call back if I got worse. My fever slowly subsided, but I coughed more than 2 weeks. This propofol-oxygen system is ridiculous!! If I ever have another colonoscopy, I will not accept the same kind of anesthesia and breathing management.

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