preparing for gastroscopy

A gastroscopy is a valuable medical procedure that enables a thorough investigation of the upper segment of your digestive tract. This will help to diagnose any gastrointestinal conditions. If you’ve been scheduled for this procedure, it’s natural to have questions such as how you should prepare and what you can expect on the day of the test.

To help, in this blog you’ll discover everything you need to know prior to undergoing a gastroscopy procedure.

How do I start preparing for a Gastroscopy?

Before your scheduled gastroscopy, you’ll be asked to fast. This means you should avoid eating or drinking, typically for around six hours prior to the procedure. Water can be sipped until 2 hours before the procedure. An empty stomach ensures the surgeon can get a clear view of what’s going on and reduces the risk of complications.

You should also inform the surgeon about any medications you’re currently taking, especially blood thinners or diabetes medications. You may need to adjust dosages or stop taking the medication before the procedure.

It’s crucial to provide your consultant with a complete health overview, so they’re aware of any allergies or conditions that might impact the procedure.

What happens during a Gastroscopy?

During a gastroscopy, you’ll be asked to lie down, and a mouth guard will typically be provided. The main tool used in this procedure is the gastroscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera at its end. This is gently passed down your throat, into your oesophagus, and then further down to your stomach and duodenum.

The camera transmits images to a monitor, allowing these areas to be examined in detail. The procedure is relatively quick, often completed within 15 to 20 minutes.

While it may cause some discomfort, it shouldn’t be painful. Some people experience a sensation of fullness or a need to gag, but these feelings are temporary.

Can I have a sedative before a Gastroscopy?

If you’re apprehensive about the procedure or wish to be more relaxed while it is being performed, a sedative can be administered. This won’t put you to sleep entirely, but it will make you feel drowsy and relaxed.

The sedative medication is usually given as an injection into the arm. If you opt for a sedative, it’s essential to note that its effects can linger for a while. This means you’ll need someone to take you home after the procedure.

Driving, operating machinery, and making important decisions are not recommended for at least 24 hours post-sedation. Discuss any concerns with your consultant, and they will guide you on the best options for your comfort and safety.

If it has been recommended that you undergo a gastroscopy, schedule an appointment with Mr Woodward to learn more about what to expect. He will address any concerns you may have and help to put your mind at ease.

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