An endoscopy is a procedure that involves a gastroenterologist (GI doctor) introducing an instrument (endoscope) into the throat (for upper endoscopy) or anus (for lower endoscopy). The purpose is to confirm— and, in some cases, treat – the underlying cause of persistent heartburn, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, and/or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Since endoscopy is a somewhat invasive procedure, it does require forethought and adequate preparation. As such, when your doctor schedules you for an endoscopy, they will provide you with detailed pre-procedure instructions, which you need to make sure you follow to a tee.
Below are five things to keep in mind prior to your endoscopy appointment to ensure your safety and that you reap the greatest benefits of the procedure.
#1 Don’t Delay or Skip Your Endoscopy Appointment.
It is not uncommon to feel some level of anxiety or hesitancy prior to any type of medical procedure, but don’t let it cause you to delay or skip your endoscopy appointment altogether. Doing so means you miss the opportunity to know the culprit in your symptoms and receive prompt medical treatment— which is especially crucial for potentially life-threatening conditions like cancer.
#2 Inform Your Doctor About Your Medical History, Current Health Condition, and Medications You’re Taking.
Your GI doctor will want to know your medical history, current health problems, and medications, so make sure to be forthcoming about these details.
Your doctor will tell you which of the medications you’re taking you need to stop taking temporarily and which ones you need to change the dosage in the days leading up to your procedure.
#3 Do Not Eat and Drink Anything as Instructed.
You’ll need an empty stomach up to eight hours prior to your procedure to ensure accurate results and your safety. Eating or drinking before your endoscopy appointment can put you at risk for aspiration – when something you swallow goes down the wrong pipe and enters your airway and lungs.
#4 Make Sure You Understand the Inherent Risks of the Procedure.
Although endoscopy is a generally safe procedure, it comes with very minimal risk of complications, which include bleeding, perforation of the gastrointestinal tract, and infection. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning that the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the risks.
Informing your physician about your medical history and current health condition as well as carefully following the pre-procedure instructions they’ve provided can help you further minimize such risks.
#5 You Need to Arrange for a Ride Home.
Since endoscopy is an outpatient procedure which may be done under general anesthesia, make sure to ask someone to drive you home after.
The medication will take some time to wear off after the observation period, so you may need to take a break from work or other responsibilities while you recover.
Endoscopy in California
At inSite Digestive Health Care, our board-certified gastroenterologists are dedicated to ensuring unparalleled patient experience for endoscopy and all other diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. This means you can count on our providers to take all necessary measures to ensure that you’re comfortable and safe and that you achieve the best possible outcome.