Occasional nausea and stomach discomfort are a natural part of life. On the other hand, constant nausea, pain, and vomiting are signs that you need an endoscopy. But what is endoscopy, exactly?
Endoscopy helps surgeons see and diagnose issues in your digestive system. Signs that you need one include constant nausea and difficulty swallowing. Endoscopy helps diagnose the cause of the problem, such as GERD or cancer. You’ll need to prepare ahead of time for your procedure. It can be uncomfortable but is usually painless.
Endoscopy in Evansville, Indiana
Our team of board-certified surgeons is here to serve Evansville and the tri-state area for their surgical needs. Many of our surgical staff have chosen endoscopy and colonoscopy as special areas of interest.
- Dr. Roberto Iglesias
- Dr. Todd S. Burry
- Dr. Kristi K. Peck
- Dr. Dharmesh M. Patel
- Dr. Anthony D. Kaiser
- Dr. Joshua M. Aaron
- Dr. Jay H. Woodland
- Dr. Andrea L. Jester
- Dr. Matthew S. Field
- Dr. Alex V. Baronowsky
- Dr. Katharine A. Lasher
- Dr. Samir Gupta
At Evansville Surgical Associates, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the highest quality of care from surgeons at the forefront of the latest surgical techniques.
What is endoscopy?
Endoscopy is a procedure that allows surgeons to see inside your digestive tract, also known as the gastrointestinal tract. It was originally used to allow surgeons to see inside the body. However, it’s become an important tool in fighting cancer at every stage, from prevention to treatment. It’s also helpful in locating the cause of symptoms you may be experiencing.
Endoscopy takes its name from the long, thin instrument used to examine your digestive system, called an endoscope. It consists of a flexible tube with a light and a tiny camera on the end. They often have tools attached at the end to collect samples of tissue for testing, known as a biopsy.
There are many different types of endoscopy, but our surgeons focus on two areas — upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. Also known as upper GI endoscopy, we use upper endoscopy to examine your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
This helps us find what may be causing:
- Difficulty swallowing
Colonoscopy is used to examine the inner lining of your rectum, colon, and large intestine. This procedure becomes an increasingly important part of your health care as you get older. According to the American Cancer Society, those with an average risk of colorectal cancer should get regular screenings starting at the age of 45.
Check out our services page to learn more about endoscopy at Evansville Surgical Associates!
Signs That You Need an Endoscopy
Signs that you need an endoscopy include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Persistent upper abdominal pain
Sometimes you’ll need an endoscopy sooner than on a yearly basis. In emergencies such as upper gastrointestinal bleeding, it’s recommended to get an endoscopy within 24 hours of your medical consultation.
What diseases can be detected by an endoscopy?
Endoscopy can be used to detect a wide variety of diseases and other issues. These include:
Short for gastroesophageal reflux disease, GERD is the result of gastric acids rising from the stomach and into the esophagus. Lack of treatment can damage the lining of your esophagus and eventually develop into cancer.
There are different types of inflammation such as duodenitis, esophagitis, and gastritis that affect different parts of your GI tract. What they all have in common is that they can lead to erosion and ulcers.
Ulcers, along with abnormal bumps and masses, may be a sign of cancer. In these instances, your surgeon will perform a biopsy to have the tissue analyzed. Stomach (gastric) cancer is the most common type found in the GI tract followed by esophageal cancer.
Also known as esophageal strictures, blockages can prevent the normal path of food and liquids into the stomach. You can even run the risk of food getting stuck in the esophagus due to strictures. Blockages can have different causes including tumors and GERD.
The swelling of veins in the walls of the esophagus is known as esophageal varices. These veins can eventually rupture and bleed, resulting in a scary situation for sufferers. Those with liver disease are at a higher risk, so it’s important that they get an upper GI endoscopy for treatment.
Preparing for Endoscopy
The most important part of preparing for endoscopy is to have an empty stomach. It will help you get the best results while also providing you with the safest experience. For the best examination possible, avoid eating or drinking for about six hours before the procedure, including water.
It’s also important to share any medications or supplements you may be taking with your doctor beforehand. Most will be safe enough for your endoscopy. However, some prescription medications and even over-the-counter medications can interfere with your exam. In these cases, you’ll need to stop taking them temporarily or adjust your dosage.
Make sure to talk to your surgeon if you’re taking:
- Blood thinners
- Anything with antiplatelet agents
You should also tell your doctor if you are allergic to certain medications and about any medical conditions you have. Informing your doctor about your medical history is an important part of your endoscopy preparation and helps protect your safety.
To learn more about the procedure, check out Worried About Your Endoscopy? 7 Important Questions Answered!
Is endoscopy painful?
“Is endoscopy painful” is a common and understandable question. Fortunately, the procedure is usually pain-free, but it can be uncomfortable. For many, it’s similar to a mild case of indigestion. Swallowing the small tube required for the procedure can also cause sore throat. To help reduce this, we use a local anesthetic and sedative to offset as much discomfort as possible.
Endoscopy allows surgeons to see inside your digestive system without the need for open surgery. Signs that you need the procedure include constant nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and difficulty swallowing. Endoscopy can help diagnose the source of your problems, such as inflammation or swelling. You should fast and inform your doctor of any medical issues and medications you’re on before the procedure. It can be uncomfortable but is usually painless.
Are you having recurring gastrointestinal problems? Call us today at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231 to schedule your appointment!
Evansville Surgical Associates has been providing comprehensive and compassionate surgical care for over 50 years. Call us at (812) 424-8231 or (800) 264-8231. We are available from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm if you would like to schedule an appointment.