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How an Endoscopy Works to Help Your Doctor Diagnose Your Gastrointestinal Condition

How an Endoscopy Works to Help Your Doctor Diagnose Your Gastrointestinal Condition

An endoscope is a long flexible tube with a camera and a light attached. It’s used to examine your internal organs without the need for a big incision. When an endoscope is used, the procedure is called an endoscopy. 

The team of gastroenterology experts at Gastro Center of Maryland has performed hundreds of endoscopies. We understand that you may have questions about why you might need an endoscopy, what to expect, and how it can help your gastroenterologist correctly identify the cause of your symptoms.  

Reasons to have an endoscopy

During an endoscopy, your gastroenterologist can see everything the camera is capturing on a screen, which means they can examine your digestive tract from the inside. Many different conditions with your digestive tract can have similar symptoms, and an endoscopy narrows down the potential reasons for your symptoms. 

An endoscopy may be used to diagnose the following conditions: 

Along with a physical examination, your medical history, and possible blood tests, our team can use an endoscopy to gain a better understanding of your condition and make appropriate treatment suggestions. 

Endoscopy can be a treatment, too

In some cases, the endoscope can be used to treat your problem. For example, polyps can be removed during an endoscopy. It can also be used to treat bleeding ulcers, remove objects, and open strictures. 

Different types of endoscopies

The type of endoscopy we suggest depends on multiple factors, but one of the most important is the likely origin of your problem. Although there are others, the following types of endoscopies are typically the most common. 

Upper endoscopy

An upper endoscopy examines the upper part of your digestive tract. We insert the endoscope through your mouth, then down your throat. Your esophagus, stomach, and the upper section of your small intestine can be examined with an upper endoscopy. 

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is used to examine the other end of your digestive tract. Inserting the endoscope through your rectum allows us to examine the lower part of your intestine. 

Capsule endoscopy

A different sort of endoscopy can be used to examine your entire digestive tract with a wireless camera contained in a pill-like capsule that you swallow. The device is about the size of a vitamin. 

Once you swallow it, the camera moves through your digestive tract, capturing thousands of images. Certain parts of your intestine can be difficult to see using traditional endoscopy, making capsule endoscopy more useful in some situations. 

What to expect

For both an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy, you’ll be sedated so that you’re more comfortable. However, you’ll also need someone to drive you home because the effects of the medication can linger for up to a full day. 

You may need to fast or take a laxative, which we provide, prior to your procedure, depending on which type of endoscopy you’re having. We give you thorough instructions beforehand so that you know exactly what you need to do both before and after your procedure. 

If you have questions about having an endoscopy or you think it might be a beneficial procedure for you, book an appointment at Gastro Center of Maryland. You can request an appointment online or simply give us a call to schedule.

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