If you’ve been feeling unwell but have no apparent symptoms, or your symptoms point to several conditions, your doctor may request special diagnostic tests. One example of a diagnostic test is an endoscopy, which allows your doctor to look into your inner tissues and organs.
In particular, an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy lets your doctor examine your gastrointestinal tract. Let’s talk about the procedure and what your doctor can see during an endoscopy.
An Overview of Endoscopy
Endoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look inside your body through the use of an endoscope, a long and thin tube with a camera at the end. Your doctor will insert this instrument through a passageway, such as your esophagus or a surgical incision. The camera will then transmit the images to a monitor, so your doctor can examine the insides of your body.
There are different types of endoscopy for various diagnoses and treatments. Here are the six standard endoscopic procedures:
- Joint endoscopy or arthroscopy
- Lung endoscopy or bronchoscopy
- Large intestine endoscopy or colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy
- Urinary system endoscopy or cystoscopy and ureteroscopy
- Abdomen or pelvic endoscopy or laparoscopy
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy or esophagogastroduodenoscopy
Endoscopy may be combined with other procedures. For example, an ultrasound probe may be attached to the endoscope to visualize organs that are typically hard to see or reach.
What Gastroenterologists See with an Endoscopy
If you’re having unexplained gastrointestinal problems, your doctor may suggest an upper GI endoscopy. These symptoms include:
- Dark blood in stool
- Difficulty swallowing
- Abnormal changes in bowel movement
- Upper belly and abdominal pain
- Sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained continuous vomiting
An upper endoscopy lets your provider look into your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. On the other hand, a colonoscopy inspects the rectum and large intestines.
A unique technology, called narrow-band imaging, also allows doctors to better see into your digestive system. Doctors use endoscopy processes to investigate, diagnose, and even treat your symptoms. Here are what a gastroenterologist sees with an upper endoscopy and colonoscopy.
Your doctor may be able to detect abnormalities in your upper digestive tract with an upper endoscopy. These abnormalities can include enlarged veins in the esophagus, called esophageal varices. This abnormality is often associated with liver disease. Due to scars or clots in the liver, blood may not flow properly to it and reroute to smaller esophageal blood vessels, causing enlargement and possible ruptures or leaks. Your doctor can treat bleeding of the esophageal vessels during an endoscopy.
Your doctor can also find polyps and malignant or benign tumors with upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. To arrive at a more conclusive diagnosis, your doctor will perform a biopsy and take samples of the tumors. Biopsies can help doctors diagnose gastritis, celiac disease, and colon cancer. Another abnormality a doctor can detect with endoscopy is the precancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagus.
Your doctor can also find blockages in your digestive tract with the help of upper endoscopy and colonoscopy. There are many different causes of GI tract obstruction, such as scar tissue, tumors, and food. Swallowed objects can also get stuck in your esophagus. Aside from detecting blockages, endoscopy can also help remove them to clear your digestive tract.
Your doctor may also be looking for signs of inflammation during an upper GI tract endoscopy. Through this procedure, your doctor can diagnose peptic ulcers.
Other inflammatory diseases diagnosed through an endoscopy include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis refers to inflammation in the colon or rectum, while Crohn’s disease is the inflammation of digestive tract tissues. Both of these conditions are generally called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Endoscopy in Carlisle, PA
If you have the symptoms mentioned above, your doctor may suggest an upper GI tract endoscopy. Here at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates, you can trust our gastrointestinal experts to give you an accurate diagnosis through state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and prescribe a personalized treatment plan depending on your condition.
For questions and concerns, please call us at (717) 245-2228. You can also schedule an appointment through our online form. We look forward to serving you.