What does an endoscopy do?
At the Centers for Gastroenterology, there’s a lot of terminology thrown around that you may not be familiar with unless you have a medical background or degree! Allow us to explain more about what we do, and the terminology associated with it.
What is an Endoscopy?
For us, an endoscopy is a normal procedure that we perform for patients every day. For you, it may be a word you’ve never heard before! So, we’re here to unpack just what an endoscopy is and what it is used for.
Endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person’s digestive tract. Gastroenterologists use an endoscope, which is a thin tube attached to a light and camera, to view the inside of the digestive tract. There are two types, an upper endoscopy and a lower endoscopy, also called a colonoscopy. These two procedures scope out different parts of the digestive system and can help your doctor to check the health of these parts of your body.
Why might I need an endoscopy?
Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy to better assess your digestive tract, especially if you have symptoms such as stomach pain, ulcers, difficulty swallowing, diarrhea, gastritis, etc. This procedure allows your doctor to visually examine an organ without having to perform surgery or make a large incision. Endoscopies are very helpful because polyps, or growths in the colon, can be removed during an endoscopy which can help prevent cancer, or biopsies can be taken to check for the presence of disease.
The upper endoscopy includes examining the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine. This procedure is commonly used to help identify the causes of bleeding, swallowing problems, nausea and vomiting, heartburn, and chest pain. It can also help find ulcers, tumors, or inflammation. Upper endoscopies are more accurate than X-rays for detecting growths such as cancer and in general for examining the upper intestines.
The lower endoscopy is most commonly referred to as a colonoscopy but can also be called a sigmoidoscopy depending on how far up the colon is examined. During this procedure, the large intestine, colon, and rectum are examined. Lower endoscopies are used commonly to identify polyps or growths in the colon, evaluate for causes of digestive tract bleeding, or changes in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation.
The endoscopy is a normal, routine procedure that will help your doctor in assessing your health. Our physicians recognize that it can be uncomfortable or intimidating to talk about these subjects with your doctor, but we want you to feel as prepared as possible. Please ask us any questions or concerns you have. We perform endoscopies at the Harmony Surgery Center, Skyline Endoscopy Center, and the Greeley Endoscopy Center starting in 2020! If you’re curious on the preparation instructions for your procedure, please see our prep instructions page for more information.