A gastroscopy can be used to:
- Investigate problems such as difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain.
- Diagnose conditions such as stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD).
- Treat conditions such as bleeding ulcers, a blockage in the oesophagus, non-cancerous growths (polyps) or small cancerous tumours.
A gastroscopy often takes less than 15 minutes, although it may take longer if it's being used to treat a condition and is usually carried out as an outpatient procedure.
What you need to know:
- The duodenum and stomach must be empty during gastroscopy so that the doctors view is not blocked by particles of food. If the test is scheduled in the morning, you must not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the test. If the test is scheduled in the afternoon, a liquid diet- such as juice, coffee, tea, or broth is recommended for breakfast. Do not eat or drink anything for at least 6 hours before the exam.
- You can continue taking any important medications that the physician has prescribed. Simply take them with a small sip of water at least two hours before your appointment. This allows time for the tablets to dissolve completely.
- Antacids should not be taken on the day of the test.
- Smoking should be avoided as tobacco changes the normal colour of the stomach lining.
- Before the procedure, your throat will be numbed with a local anaesthetic spray. Most people choose to have a sedative when undergoing the procedure. The use of a sedative makes the procedure comfortable and will ensure that the experience is not distressing.
- A gastroscopy is a very safe procedure, but like all medical procedures it does carry a risk of complications.
- You can have this procedure if you are on blood thinning agents. Please inform the doctor if you are taking any blood thinning agents such as warfarin or clopidogrel/asprin. Warfarin should be stopped 4-5 days before your gastroscopy. Ecotrin/Disprin must be stopped at least five days before the procedure. Regular medications can also be taken as normal. If you are diabetic you should contact the office for specific instructions.