Be Prepared For Your Gastroscopy!


I had mine last week. Since it was my third gastroscopy, I've built up some experience!


What Is A Gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy is an endoscopic procedure that allows your physician to look directly into your esophagus and stomach. By inserting a thin flexible tube, the endoscope, the doctor gets a clear view of your stomach's condition.

The endoscope has got two channels. The first contains a tiny video camera and a light. This channel is used as a telescope. Various instruments can pass down the other channel to perform a biopsy, surgery or radio-frequency ablation .

Why This Examination?

Symptoms

You doctor performs a gastroscopic check to see if your symptoms are related to your digestive system:

Conditions

Your radiologist looks into your stomach to diagnose problems of your digestive tract: 

Preparation

Your preparation is simple. You need to be sober when you get there. That's all!

It means no eating or drinking, even water, for at least 8 hours before the procedure. This is important because the doctor can't inspect your stomach if it isn't completely empty.

I have always tried to plan it in the morning. Just need to skip breakfast and I'm ready.

Procedure

You lay down on a treatment table. Your doctor places a mouthpiece between your teeth. The endoscope glides through this mouthpiece, until it reaches the back of your throat. At this moment, he asks you to swallow, allowing the tube to pass into your esophagus. Modern endoscopes are thin and therefore easy to swallow.

The back of your throat is numbed by spraying a local painkiller. This gives you the feeling of a swollen throat, but in fact your throat doesn't swell at all.

If you are very nervous and need more help to relax, your doctor can give you an injection with a sedative. It calms you down, but doesn't put you to sleep. During the procedure you are be able to breathe normally.

Once swallowed, your doctor pushes the endoscope further down into your stomach. He pumps air into your stomach to make it extend. This makes the stomach lining easy to see. He checks your esophagus, the lining of your stomach and your lower esophageal muscle for abnormalities.

A gastroscopy doesn't hurt. The only thing you feel is a discomfort, presenting as a constant urge to clear your throat.

Biopsy

Your doctor takes a sample of stomach tissue, a biopsy, for further examination. This piece of tissue is only as small as a breadcrumb. Taking a biopsy is therefore completely painless..

The tissue sample is put in little jar and is sent to laboratory to rule out any presence of bacteria.



Side Effects

A gastroscopy is a routine test and is normally done without any problems. Some mild side effects are possible:

  • Burps and hiccups are not unusual after the procedure. This is the air that was pumped in during the procedure. Just let it go, it is completely normal.
  • Some people may have a mild sore throat the day after.
  • If you have had a sedative, you can feel sleepy for several hours, wich is the reason why you are not allowed to drive home yourself. 
  • You can't eat or drink for one hour after the procedure, because your throat is still numbed and you might choke.

If you are in good health, complications are rare.

Risks

If you have a history of heart problems, stroke or TIA, you need to inform your physician about it.

Barrett's Esophagus

Patients with Barretts esophagus , need an endoscopic check at least every 3 year to rule out any presence of dysplasia.

In patients with dysplasia, an early stage before esophageal cancer, endoscopic checks are performed every 6 months. These checks are done to rule out any the presence of tumors. 

In patients with esophageal cancer, endoscopic surgery may be necessary.


Did You Have A Gastroscopy?

How was your gastroscopy? Did it hurt? Were you nervous? Could you easily swallow the tube or did you need sedation? Did you experience a lot of burps or hiccups when it was done?

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Alma 
I had a horrible experience with mine. Felt i was suffocating. Retching and gagging all the time. And i could feel the tube down inside. It was terribly …

I chose to be awake Not rated yet
I would always choose to be awake in any procedure if at all possible.. I have read about ccomplications from sedation . Very rarely it can lead to stroke …

Unpleasant But Painless Not rated yet
My doctor was very gentle and talked to me during the entire procedure. He told me not to panic, what he was doing, how long it would last, and that it …

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