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Do you suffer from digestive issues?
If so, you’re not alone – just look at the digestives aisle in your local drug store. There’s shelf after shelf of digestive aids.
You can find everything from heartburn medication and gas relief to treatments for diarrhea and constipation.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong within the digestive system and that can lead to a variety of symptoms, which is why we have so many OTC drug options.
But what if you’ve tried all of these medications without results?
This can be such a frustrating place to find yourself in. But you’re not without hope. There’s a procedure that can be done to help correctly diagnose your issue. It’s called an endoscopy.
Getting a diagnosis will help you discover what path you need to take to properly treat your condition.
What Is an Endoscopy and How Is It Performed?
An endoscopy is a non-surgical test that helps doctors determine whether you have an upper gastrointestinal disease or condition or not.
Doctors use an endoscope to perform the procedure. The endoscope is a long tube with a camera on the end of it. The tube is inserted into the patient’s mouth and down through their throat.
The tube travels through the stomach and upper intestines. The camera projects an image onto a TV monitor during the EGD procedure so that the doctor can see if there are any abnormalities.
The doctor can see the throat, esophagus, stomach, and the upper portion of the small intestine.
An endoscope can also be used in colonoscopies to view the colon and large intestine.
In addition to an endoscopy, your doctor might recommend an endoscopic ultrasound. This is a procedure that provides even more images of the digestive tract. It will give the doctor a more complete picture of what’s going on, allowing them to give you a better diagnosis.
An endoscopy can also be used to treat certain conditions.
Special treatment tools can actually pass through the endoscope to treat certain problems. For example, if you have a bleeding vessel in your upper digestive tract, your doctor can burn the vessel to stop the bleeding.
Doctors can also use this tool to widen an esophagus that has narrowed, clip off a poly, or remove a blockage.
Gastric Illnesses That Have Been Diagnosed Because of an Endoscopy Procedure
An endoscopy procedure is extremely helpful in diagnosing a variety of potentially serious digestive illnesses.
If your doctor recommends an EGD procedure, it’s likely due to the fact that they want to rule out one or more of the following conditions.
- Celiac disease
- Celiac disease
- Polyps or tumors
- Narrowing of the esophagus.
Having an endoscopy can help your doctor make an early diagnosis.
If there is a problem, they are in a better position to treat your condition with a proper diagnosis. Plus, the earlier they catch the disease, the sooner they can start a treatment plan, and the higher your rate of treatment success will be.
How do you know if you should talk to your doctor about scheduling an EGD procedure?
If you display any of the following symptoms, it’s time to talk to your doctor:
- Severe stomach pain
- Persistent heartburn
- Persistent nausea and/or vomiting
- Unexpected weight loss
- Chronic stomach pain
- A history of ulcers
- You’ve had a gastritis diagnosis
- You have difficulty swallowing
- You experience bowel changes, or have chronic diarrhea or constipation
- There’s blood in your stools
- Your doctor suspects polyps or cancer
- You have a family history of digestive cancers.
What You Need to Do to Prepare for an EGD Procedure
Before you have an EGD, there are some things you’ll be required to do to prepare.
First, you’ll need to fast for at least four to eight hours before your endoscopy procedure. You need to have an empty stomach so that your doctor can get have a clear visual of your digestive tract.
You should also talk to your doctor about the medications you’re currently taking. Some medications need to be stopped before an EGD can be done.
Don’t Hesitate to Have This Procedure Done If You’ve Have a History of Digestive Issues
If you’re like most people, you’re not a fan of medical tests, particularly those like colonoscopies and endoscopies.
These procedures aren’t as bad as you might think, though. The instruments that help doctors perform the tests have been improved over the years, making the procedures more comfortable for the patients. Doctors are also able to perform the test more quickly because of technological advances.
Gastric tests, like the EGD, can help you find relief and, depending on what’s diagnosed, they could potentially save your life.
If you have a history of digestive issues, don’t wait a moment longer. Don’t suffer in silence because of fear or embarrassment.
Talk to your doctor about getting tested so you can finally have an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.