If you have been recommended an endoscopy, it is natural to feel some anxiety and trepidation about the procedure. To put your worries at rest, this article will help you to prepare for the endoscopy, what to expect and the risks involved.
What is an Endoscopy?
An endoscopy is a procedure carried out to look inside a person’s body using an endoscope. Endoscopes are medical instruments that can visualize the internal organs of the body through small openings or incisions in the body. The procedure is typically utilized to examine the digestive tract, the airways, and other body parts.
Why are Endoscopies Necessary?
Endoscopies are typically carried out to investigate conditions that affect different parts of the body. They usually entail inserting the endoscope through an opening in the body, such as the mouth or anus, to examine a particular body part.
Types of Endoscopies include;
- Gastroscopy: examining the stomach
- Colonoscopy: examining the colon and rectum
- Bronchoscopy: examining the airways, lungs
- Cystoscopy: examining the bladder, urethra
What are the Risks of An Endoscopy?
The risks of endoscopy vary depending on the type of procedure and the overall health condition of the patient.
The typical risks of the procedure include
- Bleeding or perforation of the organs.
- Allergic reactions from anesthesia or sedation.
- Respiratory problems, cardiac arrest.
- Complications from medications.
How to Prepare for an Endoscopy?
Before the Procedure;
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for the procedure, based on your overall health, the type of endoscopy, the type of anesthesia used, and your digestive system’s condition.
For most endoscopic procedures, a person will need to fast for about 6-12 hours before the test. Fasting helps to remove food from the digestive tract, enabling the doctor to see it more clearly during the procedure.
Some endoscopies require the use of local anesthesia to reduce pain, while others require general anesthesia. Sedatives are also used to help reduce anxiety and keep you relaxed.
Tell the doctor about any existing medical conditions and medications you may be taking, including non-prescription drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. The doctor may instruct you to stop using certain drugs beforehand.
During the Procedure:
You will usually lie down on your side with your mouth open, or on your back if it’s a colonoscopy, while an endoscope is passed through your mouth or anus.
You will be given a chance to breathe normally during the test, and the doctor will closely monitor your breathing, pulse, and blood pressure.
After the Procedure;
You will be moved to a recovery area to rest and will be monitored carefully by the medical team. You may experience some mild discomfort, such as bloating and gas, after the procedure, which is entirely normal. These symptoms usually improve as the day wears on.
Endoscopies are essential in detecting and treating many medical conditions affecting different parts of the body. Preparing well for the procedure is critical, and patients need to follow the doctor’s orders concerning diet, medications, and fasting instructions.
Most Common Questions and Answers
- Can I eat before an endoscopy?
No, you should not eat or drink anything for at least 6-12 hours before the test.
- How long does the endoscopy take?
It usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Will I feel pain during the procedure?
You may feel some pressure or discomfort, but it is usually not painful.
- When can I return to normal activities?
You can return to normal activities within 24 hours.
- American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. Retrieved from https://www.asge.org/home/about-asge/newsroom/media-backgrounders-detail/gastrointestinal_endoscopy
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Endoscopy. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/endoscopy/about/pac-20395182
- Wexner, S. D. et al. (2020). Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(4), 557-63.