An endoscopy is a special diagnostic test that allows your doctor to see the inside of your digestive tract with an instrument called an endoscope. A gastroscopy (also known as esophagogastroscopy or esopahgogastroduodenoscopy) is a type of endoscopy that focuses on examining the esophagus (the part of the intestine that carries food from your mouth to your stomach), the stomach and the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).
Learn more about how to prepare for a gastroscopy, what you can expect during the procedure, and why your doctor may have recommended this examination.
Why are you having a gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy may be done if you are experiencing:
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Digestive tract bleeding
- Changes in bowel habits (chronic constipation or diarrhea)
In some cases, your doctor may have already diagnosed a problem and is using a gastroscopy to treat a condition. During the gastroscopy, tissue samples, or biopsies, can be taken to help diagnose many conditions,
How should you prepare for a gastroscopy?
In most cases, there is very little you need to do to prepare for this procedure. Your doctor may ask that you abstain from eating or drinking for 6 to 8 hours before the exam.
Immediately before the procedure, you will probably be given a sedative to help you feel more relaxed and comfortable during the exam.
What happens during a gastroscopy?
After being given a sedative, you will be asked to lie on your left side on an exam table. A long, flexible tube known as an endoscope or gastroscope will then be inserted into your mouth. It will pass into your stomach. The endoscope has a tiny light and camera on the end of it, which projects an image of the inside of your body onto a monitor in the exam room. Your doctor will be able to diagnose many conditions just by seeing them on the monitor. Your physician may also take biosies to evaluate the tissue under the microscope. After several minutes, the physician will slowly withdraw the endoscope.