A gastroscopy is one of the most used tests for diagnosing problems with the oesophagus (food pipe), the duodenum and the stomach.

Gastroscopy can be used to diagnose or rule out a wide range of conditions and it is also used for treatment in some instances too.

What is a Gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy is an endoscopy specific to your upper gastrointestinal tract and it involves using a narrow, flexible tube, the endoscope. Endoscopes have a light and a camera affixed to the end to allow the doctor to see images of your insides on a provided screen.

There are many reasons a gastroscopy may be used including:

  • To diagnose the reason for symptoms such as indigestion, difficulty with swallowing, pain in the chest unrelated to the heart, unexplained vomiting, or blood appearing in the faeces
  • To confirm or rule out a range of conditions including coeliac disease, Barrett’s oesophagus, oesophageal cancer, stomach cancer and peptic ulcers

Your doctor may also use a gastroscopy to take biopsies so they can test the tissue for a range of conditions, and it can also be used for treatment including to stop bleeding, to remove growths, removing stuck objects in the throat and even widening the oesophagus if it has narrowed.

Preparing for your Gastroscopy

You will be asked to fast before your gastroscopy as they work best when the stomach is empty. You should also provide a list of any medications you take in case they have an impact on the stomach, duodenum or oesophagus lining. The doctor and team will ensure you have all questions answered and are fully ready and informed before your gastroscopy.

During the Gastroscopy

A gastroscopy is usually a fast procedure, usually done within 10 minutes for the most basic of investigations, though it can take longer when treatments are being carried out. Gastroscopies can be carried out by specialist nurses as well as doctors and you should be ready to spend a few hours at the hospital.

Gastroscopy can be carried out under local anaesthetic or sedative, depending on your personal circumstances or preferences. Once this has been administered you the endoscope will be passed through your oesophagus and down towards your stomach. This can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t last long.

After the Gastroscopy

You should be able to go home quite quickly once the procedure is complete. If you opt for a sedative, then you will need to ensure you have someone to drive you home. Common side effects of endoscope include a sore throat, bloating and difficulty in eating regular meals for a day or so after the procedure.

Your examination results won’t be available immediately but those that are can be passed on straight away and your doctor can discuss the next steps with you there and then, or at a consultation at a later date. Any biopsy results will take a couple of days.

Dr Rehan Haidry is an experienced consultant gastroenterologist who carries out gastroscopies regularly for diagnosis, investigation, and treatment purposes. You can book a consultation if you have concerns or symptoms like those mentioned above and his PA will arrange an appointment for you.

To make an enquiry or appointment please contact Dr Rehan Haidry's secretary