Do You Need A Gut Check?

Digestive health is a crucial part of health and wellness. Different digestive diseases affect millions every year. Getting regular checks from a gastroenterologist can prevent future gut issues. Sometimes, a doctor may suggest a GI endoscopy. GI endoscopy is a standard test to check, diagnose, and even treat problems in the GI tract.

Mackinaw Surgery Center What To Expect During A Diagnostic GI Endoscopy

Two parts of the same system

The digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract or GI tract, liver, pancreas, and gall bladder. The upper GI tract includes the esophagus, stomach, and part of the small intestine. The lower GI tract has the large intestine, colon, rectum, and anus. An upper GI endoscopy checks the upper GI tract. A lower GI endoscopy or colonoscopy checks the lower tract. Endoscopies are helpful if the patient has trouble swallowing, stomach pain, bleeding, ulcers, or suspected tumors. The test goes beyond standard x-rays, giving more useful information.

Preparing for the procedure

Before the GI endoscopy, there is a series of tasks the patient must complete for a smooth exam. The medical team will need a breakdown of all allergies, medications, and supplements. This includes medicines for diabetes or blood thinners. The doctor will also need to know of any pre-existing conditions that may cause a risk. The doctor will use an endoscope. This is a long, thin, snake-like tool with a high-powered camera attached. Once inserted, the doctor has a full view of the linings of the examined area. Note, the patient cannot eat or drink at least 8 hours before the procedure. This is important as food can block the view of the endoscope.

Starting the upper GI endoscopy

During the GI endoscopy, the patient will be awake. However, the doctor will give a sedative so the patient can relax. For an upper GI endoscopy, the doctor will apply a numbing agent and mouthpiece. This reduces the patient’s discomfort. At the same time, the medical support staff will monitor vitals like blood pressure. Soon, the doctor guides the endoscope through the throat. An image of the GI tract appears on a nearby screen.

Steps for a lower GI endoscopy

For a colonoscopy, the patient will have a liquid solution and laxative. This clears the bowel the day before the exam. In the exam room, the doctor places the patient on the left side. Once ready, the doctor passes the endoscope through the anus. The doctor will soon have a full view of the rectum, colon, and large intestine. In both cases, the doctor may pass air through the endoscope for a more unobstructed view. The doctor also may take a biopsy or tissue sample for further testing. Issues like an ulcer or polyps get addressed using tools attached to the endoscope. In both cases, the entire process can take about 20 minutes.

Recovery and possible side effects

After the procedure, the medical staff moves the patient into recovery for the sedative to wear off. This is an outpatient procedure. However, the patient should arrange help to go home. The doctor will send the biopsy to a lab for further testing. With any procedure, there is a chance of complications or side effects. A tear in the intestinal wall, infections, or bleeding can happen, though these are very rare. For about 24 hours, the patient may have a mild sore throat, bloating, or cramping. In a week or so, the doctor will meet with the patient for feedback on the completed biopsy.

Get serious about digestive health today

An endoscopy is a practical exam to keep the digestive system healthy. The test can also detect early signs of cancer, saving lives in the process. Persons aged 50 and over are encouraged to get a GI endoscopy at least once every 10 years. If there is a risk of cancer, the doctor may recommend as early as age 40. For constant digestive issues, don’t wait. Speak with a GI doctor immediately.