It is performed regularly to determine the cause of various abdominal discomforts, such as pain, nausea, difficulty swallowing or burning, among others. In addition, gastroscopy is the most effective method currently available to find the cause of bleeding originating from the upper gastrointestinal tract.
In addition, through this test, malignant tumors can be detected in their initial phase. Using gastroscopy, the doctor can take tissue samples for biopsy.
What is it?
Gastroscopy, also known as upper digestive endoscopy, is a medical test that is used both for the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases that affect the upper digestive tract: esophagus, stomach and duodenum.
Gastroscopy is done through an instrument called an endoscope ; a flexible tube more than 100 centimeters long, which is inserted through the mouth and advanced until it reaches the upper intestine. The endoscope incorporates a video camera at one end, which allows the doctor to view the organ precisely in real time.
The endoscope has a series of channels inside it, through which the doctor can insert different instruments to treat various conditions, such as the removal of polyps, as well as take tissue samples for biopsy.
Why is gastroscopy done?
There are a number of reasons why a gastroscopy is frequently performed. Those that occur most frequently are those that we explain below.
Esophagitis is an inflammatory disease that can damage the tissues of the esophagus . Generally, the cause of this disease is related to stomach acids; It can also be caused by the consumption of certain medications, as well as allergies.
This condition causes difficulty swallowing and sometimes chest pain. It is essential to diagnose esophagitis in time, for which gastroscopy is performed. Otherwise, it can cause severe damage to the tissue that lines the esophagus.
Gastritis occurs when the tissues that line the stomach become inflamed ; it is one of the most common digestive system diseases among adults. Generally, it is an acute gastritis that lasts a few days; however, sometimes chronic gastritis can also occur.
The most common cause of gastritis is infection of the stomach by Helicobacter pylori bacteria . The symptoms that accompany this condition are loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and pain in the upper part of the belly. If gastritis is not treated, it can cause bleeding in the lining of the stomach, and with it, blood in the stool .
A duodenal ulcer is a benign lesion that develops in the wall of the duodenum , usually due to hypersecretion of gastric juice.
The symptoms that the vast majority of patients present are pain, a feeling of heaviness, gas, nausea and vomiting. Gastroscopy makes it possible to diagnose this disease. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, its treatment consists of taking medications and adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
Another reason why the doctor may request a gastroscopy is the suspicion of a hiatal hernia . It is a condition that arises when the upper part of the stomach lodges in the chest .
The most common symptoms are heartburn, persistent abdominal discomfort, difficulty swallowing, and bad breath. Regarding the causes, hiatal hernia generally has its origin in obesity, smoking and repeated vomiting over a long period of time.
The presence of blood in the stool can also lead the doctor to request this test. It occurs when the stools are black, which is known as manes; This implies that the blood present in them comes from the upper intestine.
As we have pointed out, gastroscopy is a test that, in addition to diagnosing certain diseases, also serves as a treatment for some of them. Well, it can be used for therapeutic purposes in the cases indicated below.
- Remove foreign bodies that the patient may have swallowed and that have remained in the upper intestine.
- Remove polyps located in the upper intestine.
- Treat certain bleeding from the digestive system by cauterizing the vessels responsible for them.
How is gastroscopy performed?
Gastroscopy is a medical test that is performed on an outpatient basis. During the procedure, a sedative is usually administered, so it is advisable to be accompanied.
It is not recommended in those patients with hypotension, severe arrhythmias and respiratory failure. In the case of pregnant women, gastroscopy is not recommended.
It is essential not to ingest water or food during the eight hours prior to the gastroscopy ; in this way, the intestine is clean and the doctor can visualize it in an optimal way. In addition, this reduces the chances of vomiting, which implies a risk if vomit enters the airway during the test.
To begin the gastroscopy, first an IV is taken into the patient’s arm to administer the sedative.
A device is then placed so that the mouth remains open throughout the test, and an anesthetic spray is administered to the mouth and throat ; in this way, discomfort is minimized and, in addition, the introduction of the endoscope is considerably facilitated.
Once the instrument is lubricated, the doctor proceeds to insert it through the mouth; the patient is asked to swallow to pass through the pharynx more easily. Thus, little by little the endoscope advances until it reaches the duodenum.
As we have pointed out, at one of its ends the endoscope incorporates a video camera, which provides real-time images of the surface of the intestine ; these are visualized by the doctor through a screen.
If at any time the doctor observes some type of abnormality, he can proceed with the application of tools such as micro forceps or micro scissors to take a biopsy or remove polyps , for example.
Once the gastroscopy is complete, the endoscope is carefully removed and the patient remains under observation for one to two hours, until recovering from the effect of the sedative.
For the next twelve hours, it is not advisable to drive or operate heavy machinery. It is important to see your doctor about when you can eat and drink normally.
Are there complications?
Gastroscopy is a very safe test . Side effects from sedative medications are rare. As for the anesthetic spray, it is common for the patient to notice a bitter taste in the mouth , as well as some inflammation in the throat.
During the introduction of the scope, some people feel short of breath, but this is completely normal. It is also common to feel discomfort, such as gas or abdominal cramps during the procedure.
After the test is finished, bloating and gas are very common side effects.
After the test is done, the doctor again views the moving pictures of the intestine and examines them carefully to make a written report. It describes the state of the organ , as well as any type of anomaly detected.
In addition, if a tissue sample has been taken for a biopsy , the samples are studied in a laboratory for an additional report with the results.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.