What is a Gastroscopy?
Gastroscopy is a commonly performed procedure where a slim flexible tube (Gastroscope) is inserted into the mouth to examine the stomach and 1st part of the small intestine (duodenum).
The purpose is to look for abnormal areas (eg. polyps, tumours, ulcers and gastritis), where biopsies can be done. Sedation will be provided to ensure maximal comfort during the procedure. After the endoscopy, the doctor will be better informed of the condition and the most appropriate treatment started.
Symptoms and conditions that may require a Gastroscopy
Some of these include:
- Abdominal bloating and belching
- Abdominal pain, suspected gastritis or ulcers
- Difficulty swallowing, vomiting
- Bleeding from the digestive tract (passing fresh blood, stale blood, dark tarry stools)
- Suspected growths or polyps in the stomach or duodenum (upper digestive tract)
- Erratic changes in bowel habits, from chronic constipation to diarrhea
A biopsy is also routinely performed to test for Helicobacter Pylori. This is a common bacterial infection, said to be present in 1 out of 3 people. It can cause the stomach to produce too much acid, leading to gastritis, ulcer formation and in some cases cancer. Once diagnosed, it is easily treated with a short course of antibiotics.
Preparing for a Gastroscopy
Our specialist will recommend a gastroscopy based on your medical history, symptoms and signs. Informed consent will be taken and options provided to you.
You will also be briefed on the steps for preparation, which include:
- Stopping ‘blood-thinner’ medications (eg. Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Warfarin, etc) up to 7 days before the procedure
- Stopping diabetic medications on the morning of the procedure
- Continuing other medications, eg hypertension, thyroid medications
- Avoid any food or drinks at least six hours before the procedure
Patients are expected to arrive at least an hour before the procedure. Once you are comfortably asleep, the procedure itself does not take more than 30 minutes.
After the procedure, patients are provided a light meal and refreshment. Our specialist will then meet you to explain the findings and provide you with your report and any necessary medications.