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Gastroscopy is a procedure used to confirm or rule out the presence of illness including stomach ulcers and gastritis by looking at the upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the colon.

A long, thin, flexible tube with a small camera is passed into the patient’s mouth then the throat, and into the stomach. The procedure can also be used to remove tissue for testing (biopsy) and treat some conditions such as stomach ulcers.

The Need for a Gastroscopy

A gastroscopy can be performed to check the underlying cause of a person’s digestive symptoms, treat some conditions or check for cancer.

The cause of digestive symptoms

A gastroscopy can be done in order to determine what is causing one’s stomach issues, such as:

  • Indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain that does not go away or keeps on recurring even after taking medication.
  • Dysphasia (pain when swallowing)
  • Sticky and black bowels. This means that there may be blood from the patient’s stomach
  • A sick feeling of discomfort (nausea)
  • Vomiting blood

Treating problems

Occasionally, digestive system issues can also be treated with a gastroscopy. Gastroscopy benefits include:

  • Widens one’s esophagus if it’s too narrow and causes pain or difficulties when swallowing.
  • Stop bleeding inside one’s stomach or esophagus
  • Removes growths
  • The procedure can help doctors place a feeding tube into the patient’s stomach.

Checking for cancer

Some forms of cancer can be screened for via a gastroscopy, including:

  • Stomach cancer
  • Esophageal cancer

A little sample of tissue from one’s stomach or esophagus may be taken during a gastroscopy for testing, a process known as a biopsy. The tissue is then examined to find out if contains any cancerous cells.

Preparation for Gastroscopy

  • One should stop eating at least 6 hours before the procedure; however, the patient may be able to have small sips of water
  • The patient will be sedated to make him/her relax before the procedure begins
  • Since the sedative may stay in the body for about 24 hours, this makes some activities unsafe such as driving. Therefore, prior arrangement to have someone accompanying the patient is highly recommended.

The Procedure

  • During the procedure, a tiny camera-equipped on a thin, flexible tube is inserted into the patient’s throat, and into the stomach. At this time, one may feel he/she wants to be sick but this should stop once the tube reaches the stomach. Sedation often helps prevent this.
  • Air is pumped in to inflate the stomach. One may feel bloated and might burp a few times.
  • A sample of cells may be taken

After a Gastroscopy

After the procedure, the patient will be moved to a recovery room. He/she should be able to go home as soon as he/she feels ok to do so. For a majority of patients, this will be within a few hours.

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