Your gastrointestinal tract plays many crucial roles. It oversees the processing and digestion of the foods and beverages containing the critical nutrients your body requires to carry out life-sustaining functions. This collection of organs helps filter waste products and prepare them for proper evacuation.
When components of this system fail or are ailing, you can face serious health consequences. That is why diagnostic procedures are used to identify and treat gastrointestinal system problems. One specific process is called endoscopy.
Endoscopy is a specialized test that physicians called gastroenterologists use to capture live images of your digestive tract.
The procedure uses a state-of-the-art instrument known as an endoscope. The primary part of an endoscope is a camera that enables physicians to examine parts of the digestive system up close. The camera images are transmitted to a monitor.
Types Of Endoscopies
Gastroenterologists perform several types of endoscopies, including:
- Upper Endoscopy: Upper endoscopy is used to investigate the digestive tract’s upper regions, such as the esophagus, stomach, and the upper reaches of the small intestine.
- Sigmoidoscopy: This test is employed to look at the insides of your colon’s lower region, in addition to your rectum.
- Colonoscopy: This form of endoscopy assesses the large intestine, known biologically as the colon, in its entirety.
Reasons An Endoscopy Would Be Ordered
Your gastroenterologist might recommend an endoscopic procedure if you display symptoms like:
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Appetite loss.
- The expectoration of blood.
- Blood in the saliva.
- Blood in stool samples.
- Any digestive issue not responding to common treatments.
Your doctor might also order one of these diagnostic tests if you are middle-aged or older or have a family history of certain significant gastrointestinal disorders.
Occasionally, endoscopies are used to treat an existing problem. For example, doctors have used the procedure to fix active problems like bleeding stomach ulcers.
Illnesses Endoscopies Can Detect
These procedures have been successful in helping healthcare providers identify diseases such as:
- Gastric ulcers.
- Acid reflux disease.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Ulcerative colitis.
An endoscope might be used to spot various digestive network malignancies. It can be used to rule out conditions like irritable bowel disorder, which does not cause any visible gastrointestinal system abnormalities.
Though non-invasive, an endoscopy is a multi-step process.
Typically, you will be restricted in what you can and cannot eat or drink in the immediate hours leading up to the exam. These instructions must be taken seriously. Your test might need to be postponed if they are ignored or disobeyed.
Additionally, you will need to disclose any prescription, over-the-counter, or vitamin supplements you take with your doctor well in advance of the procedure. Certain drugs might either skew the results or carry the potential for negative complications.
Your gastroenterologist will provide you with written instructions a week or so ahead of the test. It is crucial that you carefully and thoroughly read these directives and contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if any issues need clarification.
Upon arrival at the medical facility, your medical history will be reviewed, and the procedure will be explained. Then, you will likely be asked to change into a hospital gown, and an intravenous line will be prepared through which you will receive any fluids and sedation drugs.
The Actual Procedure
Once the procedure is ready to start, administering medical staffers may ask you to position yourself on one side or the other. The method of administration will depend upon the type of endoscopic procedure being performed.
During upper endoscopy, the diagnostic tool is placed in your mouth and lowered down your throat. During tests like sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, the examining apparatus is placed in your rectum for a close examination of the region and your colon.
An upper endoscopy usually lasts anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Lower digestive tract examinations often take from 30 minutes to a full hour.
Upper and lower endoscopy comes with certain risks, such as bleeding, damage to the digestive tract, or the aspiration of digested food contents. Aspiration risk is typically low, provided the patient refrains from food or beverage consumption in the hours preceding the test. These tests are considered safe, and most people come through them without any problems.
If you live in Central Florida and are dealing with some type of lingering or bothersome digestive system problem, please contact us.
Our practice began more than 15 years ago and has emerged as one of the leading gastroenterology practices in central Florida. We perform a host of diagnostic procedures using state-of-the-art equipment in a friendly, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere where patient care is always a top priority. Contact us today!