An upper endoscopy is a test in which your doctor uses a thin, flexible tube with a lens and light source to examine the lining of the upper part of your intestinal tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine). The test is used to evaluate symptoms of persistent abdominal pain, nausea, difficulty swallowing, and gastrointestinal bleeding. During the procedure, biopsies (which are small tissue samples) can be taken to help test for Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes ulcers. They can also help distinguish between benign and malignant, or cancerous, conditions. Preparation for the procedure includes not eating or drinking for six hours prior to the procedure. Patients are sedated for the procedure and typically experience little or no discomfort. Patients will occasionally experience a mild sore throat or bloating after the test. More serious complications, which are rare, include bleeding, reactions to the sedative, and perforation. Someone must accompany you home from the procedure. Even though you may feel alert, the sedatives can affect you judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day.
For more information, please refer to the ASGE (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) website.