An endoscopy is a fairly common nonsurgical procedure that the GI doctor uses to get a look at your digestive tract. The endoscope can be connected to a flexible tube ,or it can be inside a small capsule that the patient swallows. There are light and camera attached, and it gives the doctor the opportunity to see inside the body via a monitor.
There are a few reasons that your GI doctor or primary care doctor may suggest the procedure, and it isn’t something that should cause undue alarm. It is sometimes used as early detection or preventative measure, and a doctor may suggest one simply because of your age. Also, if you have a family history of issues in the GI tract, a regular schedule of endoscopy procedures may be advised.
GI Tract Problems that Require Endoscopy
If you are currently suffering from one of the following GI tract issues, you will most likely be prescribed an endoscopy by your gastroenterologist:
- Stomach Pain: suffering from severe or chronic stomach pain with an unknown cause can be a reason to undergo the procedure.
- Acid Reflux: severe or chronic acid reflux that is uncontrolled with medication may require an endoscopy to rule out an unknown cause.
- Bleeding: bleeding in the GI tract, vomiting or excreting blood can be a symptom of gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Ulcers: if your GI doctor suspects that you are suffering from ulcers he or she may want to take a look via endoscopy.
- Difficulty Swallowing: if it is painful to swallow or you find that you are unable to swallow an endoscopy may be performed to assess the esophagus.
- Family History of Cancer: you are at high risk for cancers in the GI tract due to family history.
- Constipation: chronic or prolonged constipation, especially when medications are not effective.
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: having conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease may require periodic endoscopies.
Risks of the Procedure
The risks of the procedure are relatively minor compared with the risks of having an actual surgery. However, people having an endoscopy may be at risk for chest pain, redness, and swelling.
At Digestive Disease consultants located in Jacksonville, we believe in assisting the patient until he or she fully understands the benefits of each treatment option. If you are concerned or have questions about your procedure, please feel free to call and speak with your doctor or one of the patient representatives.