A gastroscopy is an examination of the stomach. The doctor uses a kind of viewer (endoscope) to look into the patient’s stomach to assess whether there is something wrong with the stomach. Many people who have to undergo such an examination are very reluctant to undergo such an examination. Why is that and how bad is a gastroscopy really?
What exactly is a gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is also called endoscopy. The esophagus, the inside of the stomach and the beginning of the duodenum are viewed with an endoscope. The endoscope is a tube with a very small camera, which is inserted through the mouth through the throat and esophagus.
When do you have a gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is performed if you have been suffering from stomach complaints or abdominal complaints for a longer period of time. Consider, for example:
- Stomach ache
- Sore esophagus
- Non-cardiac chest pain
- Pain in the upper abdomen
What can be seen through a gastroscopy?
The doctor can use a gastroscopy to see whether the esophagus, stomach and duodenum show any abnormalities. Examples of the abnormalities that can be found are:
- A stomach ulcer
- Duodenal ulcers
- Troubled tissue in the stomach or esophagus
- Inflammation of the stomach
- Inflammation of the esophagus
- Esophageal hernia, also called diaphragmatic hernia
Biopsies can also be taken during gastroscopy. Small pieces of tissue are then removed and examined for certain bacteria or abnormal cells.
Is a gastroscopy really such a serious examination?
Many people who have to undergo a gastroscopy first look on the internet to find experiences of people who have already undergone such an examination. And then you come across the wildest stories. People who think they will suffocate during the examination, who panic completely and complete horror stories.
The fact is, however, that this investigation, provided one remains calm, is not such a horror at all. When you have to undergo the examination, it is good to keep the following tips in mind:
- Remember that the examination does not hurt.
- The examination does not hinder breathing, so you can continue breathing as normal.
- Gagging when the tube goes in is completely normal, it will stop once the tube is past the throat.
- Burping is also normal, some air is blown into the hose, which then comes out again, there is no need to be ashamed. The doctor and nurses are not used to anything different.
- If you remain calm, you will not have a sore throat after the examination.
- Breathe in and out calmly, the examination will go better.
- If you are afraid of gagging, ask for a numbing spray. This is injected into the throat and reduces the gag reflex.
- Remember that the examination is over after five minutes
Can you undergo a gastroscopy under anesthesia?
In extreme cases, sedation (light anesthesia) is given during a gastroscopy. But actually it is preferably not done. There are also risks associated with sedation, so it is actually more stressful for the body than the examination itself. The idea that a gastroscopy is scary usually leads to a bad experience with such an examination. This makes you so nervous that you work against the tube (endoscope) because of the panic, which can cause the examination to be traumatic.
Will you receive the results of the gastroscopic examination immediately?
Whether you receive the results immediately will depend on what the doctor saw during the examination and whether biopsies were taken. If a fracture or stomach ulcer is visible, the doctor may tell you immediately. If biopsies have been taken, these pieces of tissue will only be examined later and you will only receive the results at a later time.