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      Do You Need an Upper Endoscopy?

      If you have been experiencing swallowing problems, persistent heartburn, acid reflux, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, bleeding in the digestive tract, or unexplained weight loss, you may need an upper endoscopy.

      What is an upper endoscopy?

      An upper GI endoscopy, sometimes called EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy), is a visual examination of the upper intestinal tract using a lighted, flexible fiberoptic or video endoscope. Through the scope doctors can view the inside lining of your esophagus, stomach, and upper part of your small intestine.

      Doctors perform EGDs because it allows better visualization of the lining of the upper GI tract than X-ray, while also permitting biopsies and potential treatments. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists nearly 6.1 million upper GI endoscopies are performed each year in the U.S.

      What can the procedure diagnose/treat?

      It is highly effective is diagnosing conditions such as:

      1. Ulcers—which can develop in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum; occasionally ulcers can be malignant
      2. Tumors of the stomach or esophagus
      3. Difficulty in swallowing
      4. Upper abdominal pain or indigestion
      5. Intestinal bleeding—hidden or massive bleeding can occur for various reasons
      6. Esophagitis and heartburn—chronic inflammation of the esophagus due to reflux of stomach acid and digestive juices
      7. Gastritis—inflammation of the lining of the stomach

      The procedure also can be used for treatments like:

      1. Controlling bleeding
      2. Removing tumors or polyps
      3. Banding abnormal veins
      4. Removing accidentally swallowed objects or food that can’t clear the esophagus due to a narrowing

      Preparation, procedure, and results

      Your doctor will instruct you to not eat anything 6-8 hours prior to your procedure and may ask about any medications you are currently taking.

      The procedure is usually outpatient, meaning you go home the same day. You'll receive an intravenous sedative or another form of anesthesia as well as a plastic mouth guard to protect your teeth and mouth. The procedure usually lasts around 20 minutes, and most patients don’t even remember much about it. You should take it easy after your upper endoscopy due to the sedative, but you can go back to normal activities usually within 24 hours unless instructed otherwise by your provider.

      Results are usually available immediately at your appointment unless you have a biopsy or a polyp removed, then results will take up to a week.

      What’s next?

      We want our patients to know they do not have to – and shouldn’t – live with disruptive symptoms, inconveniences, or pain. If you want to learn more about an upper endoscopy, click here. If you have concerns and are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above regularly, call us at 815-397-7340 to schedule an appointment.