April 13, 2024

Litum Health

Health Blog

What to Expect After an Endoscopy

3 min read

An endoscopy is a procedure that is done using a flexible tube (with a camera and light) that is passed through the nose or mouth. The procedure is done to visualize the gastrointestinal tract. The areas that are observed during endoscopy include the stomach, esophagus, and the duodenum (the small intestine’s first part).

Endoscopy is a procedure that is considered very safe, with most patients remembering little to nothing during the procedure with medication given. Complications are also very rare. The procedure can be recommended for various reasons and it is categorized into three — treatment of a disease, diagnosis of symptoms, and monitoring known illnesses.

Some of the symptoms that would require a need for endoscopy include persistent upper abdomen pain that’s unexplained, persistent nausea and vomiting, blood in the stool or vomitus, abnormal X-rays, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained anemia. Those with gastroesophageal (GERD) and have not responded to medications might also require an endoscopy.

Patients with a tumor or Barrett’s esophagus might need to have an endoscopy as well to assess if the treatment prescribed is working or if the condition has been managed. In some instances, endoscopy is also done to remove a foreign object that’s stuck in the patient’s esophagus.

At times, endoscopy is performed to open a narrow esophagus that causes swallowing problems. If endoscopy is recommended for your case, make sure you have a clear understanding why it needs to be done. It is also important that you ask what the goals of the procedure are and what you can expect.

What to Expect Before the Procedure

Generally, there is no preparation needed prior to the procedure. However, your doctor will provide clear instructions and guidelines in terms of what you should drink or eat prior. In general, those who will go through the procedure won’t be allowed to drink or eat anything at least 4 to 8 hours before.

Often, doctors will provide written instructions at least a week before the scheduled endoscopy. Make sure to read all the instructions provided and follow them strictly. Don’t think twice about asking questions if there are some things you are not sure about.

What to Expect After the Procedure

After endoscopy, patients will be given ample time to wake up fully. As soon as the patient is already alert, they will be given something to drink and eat. Although there is still a possibility that the patient will still feel dizzy and will have a little difficulty focusing. However, this is only until the effects of the sedation have fully worn off.

Most healthcare providers will recommend that patients should have someone who can drive or accompany them home. For the rest of the day, those who have undergone endoscopy will not be allowed to use heavy machinery, report back to work, or make major decisions the rest of the day.

Potential Complications of Endoscopy

Endoscopy is considered a very safe procedure and complications are very rare. However, the procedure does have a few potential complications, which may include reaction to sedation, perforation and bleeding. Some patients might experience some reaction to medication for sedation. Hence it is important that you need to inform your doctor if you are taking any long term medications or if you are allergic to any medications or food before the procedure.

Bleeding may occur at the biopsy site where doctors get some tissue samples for examination but it should subside on its own. However, if persistent bleeding occurs, getting in touch with the doctor right away is recommended. Lastly, there is also the possibility of a tear in the structures being examined although it is unusual.

To conclude, endoscopy is a safe procedure which is a relatively low risk procedure and there are many advantages of endoscopy including minimal morbidity and mortality. It is highly beneficial in treatment and able to diagnose conditions including ulcers, tumors and other chronic conditions such as gastritis.