Gastroscopy (upper GI endoscopy) is a procedure that allows a doctor to view the inside of your body, this help diagnose and treat symptoms and conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestine or duodenum.
Gastroscopy is based on this principle, which is the direct examination of the interior region of our stomach through a small tube with a camera at its distal end. It is not only useful for detecting common problems (such as ulcers and gastritis), but also for other slightly more complex complications.
In addition, it is often used not only as a diagnostic test, but also as a preventive one. Many people have a personal history (such as excessive use of NSAIDs) or family history (gastric cancer) that warrants continuous and periodic evaluation for possible injury. Taking care of our bodies is key to healthy aging.
Finally, it is important to note that the people in charge of this evaluation are most often gastroenterologists. There are other specialists who are capable of handling upper endoscopies, however, the best direct clinical evaluation will be given by the gastroenterologist.
How do I know if I need a Gastroscopy?
The first thing you should know is that you need the evaluation of a gastroenterologist or, at least, an internist. These are the ones in charge of indicating you a study of this kind, based on several different findings. The most important ones are based on the following symptoms:
Gastro-esophageal reflux is all too common, especially in a society like ours, where stress levels are really high. Excess hydrochloric acid has a direct impact on the gastric mucosa, facilitating infection and secondary involvement of other organisms, such as helicobacter pylori.
In addition, reflux can trigger esophageal problems and even cancer in the long term. Not only do we experience it as that retrosternal burning sensation, but it can also manifest itself as episodes of coughing or dysphonia (hoarse voice) upon awakening. There are various treatments, but the most important thing is to perform a gastroscopy to check that everything is OK.
Dysphagia (incapable of swallow)
Another classic symptom is dysphagia or difficulty or problems swallowing. It can present in several ways, fluctuating, fixed, dysphagia to solids, to liquids, etc. However, it should be studied carefully.
Many diseases can cause dysphagia; there are some simple ones like Achalasia, which is fluctuating in course and alternates between problems swallowing only liquids or even solids. However, the most important ones are those that have neurological involvement and affect several systems at the same time. This is the case with multiple sclerosis, a chronic, incurable degenerative disease.
Whatever the case, usually more than a single evaluation is needed. This means that not only would a gastroscopy be necessary, but also X-ray studies, barium studies, etc.
Abnormal Weight Loss
"But, doctor, I'm losing weight... that’s great... what's wrong with that?" Losing weight isn't wrong, what's wrong is that you can't control it. If you start losing weight progressively, without some behavior that really justifies it, things may not be ok.
Unjustified weight loss is a classic sign of alarm.
As we always say, it is not just any pain, but a pain related to the intake of food. In your case, your pain may be relieved by eating, which means that you are producing too much acid and, most likely, you have a gastric ulcer.
However, if the pain occurs within minutes or hours after eating, it means that the ulcer is in a slightly more distant area such as the duodenum, which can also be checked in a conventional gastroscopy.
Remember, this study is intended to determine the health status of your stomach and its surroundings. We must not only check the physical integrity, but also that everything is working properly.
There are other gastric causes that can also trigger abdominal pain, such as gastritis or gastric emptying problems, however, your doctor oversees diagnosing them and determining whether gastroscopy is necessary.
Another classic sign is bleeding, which manifests itself a little differently from other systems. Gastric ulcer may be the reason behind the blood loss.
This can manifest itself through vomiting blood, known as hematemesis, or even the deposition of black stools. Why black? Because blood is also digested with gastric acid and takes on that color. Early medical care is crucial to avoid major complications.
English Doctor Barcelona: Better Technology, Better Professionals
Imagine if you had to shove a thin, semi-rigid tube down your throat; nothing pleasant, right? However, in many cases there may be no better option to diagnose and act quickly based on the disease or symptoms you have.
That's why you should have trained and professional staff, able to make the process as friendly as possible and make you feel confident. At English Doctor Barcelona we not only have very experienced specialists, but also the best equipment and sedation devices to make the whole process as painless as possible.
At English Doctor Barcelona we understand your every need and we prepare for it. We take care of you and your loved ones, with more professionalism than any other.