Most patients get nervous when they are recommended an endoscopy. This write-up aims to answer questions that often arise in their minds about endoscopy treatment.
What is endoscopy?
This involves the passing of an optical instrument through the natural orifice and following the natural path of the body for viewing inside. While this is mostly done through the mouth or the anal passage, in some special cases, the instrument is inserted through the vaginal path, urethra, and the nostrils.
What does it do?
Endoscopic procedures detect abnormalities, if any, in the internal organs. Moreover, it also helps to remove polyps, take tissue samples, and place stents. The upper GI endoscopy further helps to remove any foreign object swallowed accidentally.
Who should get this?
If you have repetitive heartburn that does not go away with medication, persistent abdominal pain, chronic constipation, change in bowel habits, and blood in the stool you should undergo the procedure. Moreover, if your family has a history of colon cancer and you are 50+, you must screen yourself through endoscopy.
How to prepare for the procedure?
An empty stomach is ideal for conducting the procedure safely and entails the best results. So, you should not eat or drink, not even water, for about 6 to 8 hours before endoscopy.
Is alcohol permitted?
Alcohol is an intoxicant and it will add to the effect of the sedatives and other medications given during the procedure. As such, one should abstain from this.
What happens if I fail to complete the prep?
It is essential, necessary, and vital that you follow the doctor’s instructions. However, in case of such failure, you must consult the doctor.
What happens during an endoscopy?
The doctor may apply some local anesthetic or give a sedative. This helps to relax when the tool is inserted into your body. It never interferes with your breathing when inserted through the throat. Most of the patients have some uncomfortable feeling and some fall asleep.
What happens after an endoscopy?
You will be under observation for some time until the effect of the medication goes away and also to check for any post-procedure complication. There can be a feeling of numb-throat with bloating due to the pouring of gas during the process. You can take foods after the procedure unless you are instructed otherwise. But, you should not drive home even if you feel alert. This is because your reflexes could be down for the rest of the day.
How long does it take?
Usually, a GI tract endoscopy takes about 10 to 15 minutes and for colonoscopies, the time ranges from 15 to 3o minutes only. However, you may have to be under observation for another one hour or so.
Is endoscopy safe?
Yes, it is a relatively safe procedure. However, bleeding may be observed in some cases and this increases when a body part is removed. There is also a very remote possibility of organ puncturing.
Do I need an escort?
Better someone accompanies you. This becomes a compulsion if you have to be on the sedative.