What can I expect from an endoscopy?

22 August 2017

Q: My GP has advised me I need an endoscopy as I often suffer from stomach problems. This makes me feel very nervous! I’m not very good with hospitals to begin with and I don’t know anything about this procedure. What can I expect?

A: It can be quite frightening to be told you need an endoscopy and we welcome the opportunity to explain the procedures to our patients to help you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

The flexible endoscopes are slim and have an exceptionally bright light at the end which allow for thorough examinations to be carried out. During the investigation, samples can be taken for analysis and photographs may assist explanations to you, once you have recovered.

A gastroscopy investigates the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum for a variety of issues such as hiatus hernia, Barrett’s oesophagus or the helicobacter pylori enzyme. The consultant will help you to swallow the camera with minimal discomfort which will have no impact on your breathing. The procedure routinely takes between five and ten minutes.

A colonoscopy requires the bowel to be cleansed prior to the procedure so that the scope can be passed easily through the back passage and achieve a thorough check for infection, polyps, cancer or inflammatory disease. This procedure takes approximately thirty to forty minutes and some patients choose to watch the process on the screen.

Occasionally, the consultant may recommend an initial examination of the rectum and lower bowel with a sigmoidoscope which can be carried out in the outpatient department or in the endoscopy suite.

These procedures are usually carried out with sedation, Entonox, and for gastroscopy a throat spray, or a combination of these methods. Occasionally, for specific circumstances, a general anaesthetic can be offered.

Fully trained staff will remain with you to facilitate your comfort and ensure your safety throughout each procedure.

Karen Turton is the Endoscopy Clinical Lead at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.


The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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