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If you’re showing signs or symptoms of gastrointestinal problems, including acid reflux, heartburn, nausea, bloating, cramping, constipation, diarrhea or bloody stool, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic test known as a gastrointestinal endoscopy.
What is a gastrointestinal endoscopy?
A gastrointestinal endoscopy allows your doctor to see inside your digestive tract. A flexible tube is inserted into your body through your mouth, nose or rectum. This tube has a tiny camera and light attached to one end, which allows your doctor to see inside your digestive tract and even record the test in some cases. The images of your digestive system may be viewed on a video monitor or through a connected eyepiece.
In addition to being able to see your digestive system, your doctor can also use this test for some types of treatment. Instruments can be inserted into the tube that allow a physician to take tissue samples, repair damage, or stop bleeding.
There are two basic types of gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures.
Upper GI Endoscopy
Often used to diagnose GERD, this test takes a look at the top half of your digestive system, including your esophagus and stomach. The tube for this test is inserted into your nose or mouth. Mild sedatives or pain relievers are usually used during this test.
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The physician places a latex free (rubber) band around varices to reduce the flow of blood to the vein, thus, reducing further bleeding.
Examination of the anus, rectum and left side of the colon, usually to a depth of 60 cm.
Examination of all of the portions of the colon. Older patients and those with extensive diverticulosis are more prone to complications. Polypectomy (removal of small growths called polyps) is performed, if necessary, by the use of a wire loop and electric current.
(Esophagogastroduodenoscopy) Examination of the Esophagus, Stomach and duodenum.
Dilating tubes or balloons are used to stretch narrow areas of the esophagus.
Internal hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that develop inside the anus. These can be treated with a procedure known as hemorrhoid ligation.