Endoscopy is a broad term that encompasses non-surgical procedures performed using a flexible tube (endoscope) with a lighted camera. Digestive health providers can view the lining of your GI tract either through the scope or on a video monitor. There are several types of endoscopic procedures used by gastroenterologists today.
Doctors often recommend endoscopy to evaluate:
- Stomach pain or gastritis
- Changes in bowel habits (chronic constipation or diarrhea)
- Polyps or growths in the colon
The course you take to prepare for your endoscopy will depend on your gastroenterologist and the type of procedure, but in general, patients should prepare to:
- Arrange for a ride, as many endoscopic procedures involve sedation and driving is not allowed for 24 hours following the test
- Cleanse the bowel beforehand
To view Northeast Digestive Health Center's complete endoscopy prep instructions, click here.
Recovery from Endoscopy
There is minimal recovery and minimal discomfort involved with an endoscopy. After the procedure, patients may feel groggy from the sedation and mild discomfort from the IV site. Patients will remain under observation for an hour or more as the sedative wears off.
Following an upper GI, patients may experience:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
Post-procedure symptoms from either procedure usually resolve within 48 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions about Endoscopy
Who needs an upper gastroenterology endoscopy?
Doctors may recommend an upper GI endoscopy to patients who are experiencing symptoms such as persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss.
Will I be asleep during my endoscopy?
In many cases, doctors perform endoscopy while the patient is under “conscious sedation.” In this type of sedation, the patient is relaxed and comfortable, but awake and able to follow commands.
How long does an endoscopy take?
An upper GI procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes, plus preparation time and recovery. A colonoscopy takes about 30 to 60 minutes.
What should I wear to my endoscopy?
Wear comfortable clothing that you can easily remove, as you will change into a hospital gown for the procedure.