Upper GI Endoscopy – When You Need It & How It Helps

October 21, 2022

Dr. Atif Ahmed
Associate Consultant ,Gastroenterology

M.B.B.S, MD(General Medicine)
DNB(General Medicine) 
Fellowship in Advanced Endoscopy


Are you suffering from chronic heartburn or frequent nausea and vomiting? Are you experiencing unexplained weight loss? If that’s the case, you might need to get an upper GI endoscopy done. This medical procedure helps the doctor to examine your upper digestive system meticulously with a help of a tiny camera and an elongated flexible tube. So, you might be wondering what exactly the upper GI endoscopy is, how it’s done, and how it helps, aren’t you? Get all your queries resolved by reading this post below.

What is the Upper GI Endoscopy?

In medical terms, the upper GI endoscopy is called an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). The gastroenterologist is a specialist doctor who performs this endoscopy to diagnose and, at times, treat gastrointestinal conditions affecting the upper section of your digestive system. This medical procedure involves a thin, long, and flexible tube having a tiny camera attached to its end. It is done in a hospital or outpatient surgery department.

When Do You Need to Go for An Upper GI Endoscopy?

Your doctor or gastroenterologist can recommend the upper GI endoscopy when you suffer from persistent symptoms such as:

  • Black or very dark (tar-coloured) stools
  • Intense or chronic pain in your stomach
  • Vomiting, particularly if there is blood visible in your vomit or your vomit appears like coffee grounds
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss

How do You Prepare for the Upper GI Endoscopy?

You need to follow your gastroenterologist’s instructions when preparing for an endoscopy. You might need to:

  • Stop eating solid foods for about 8 hours before endoscopy and curb having fluids for about 4 hours before the procedure. This helps in making your stomach empty and ready for the medical procedure.
  • Stop taking certain medicines, such as blood thinners, a few days before the endoscopy. This is because having blood thinners before endoscopy increases your risk of bleeding if certain procedures are carried out during the procedure.

If you are on certain medications for diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension, or if you are taking vitamin, protein, or mineral supplements, you need to inform your gastroenterologist about the same and adjust them as per his instructions.

How the Upper GI Endoscopy is Done?

You need to lie down on your side or your back on a table in the procedure room. The healthcare team attaches monitors to your body to monitor your vital parameters, such as heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and other factors.

Through your forearm’s vein, the medical team gives you a sedative medication that helps you relax during the endoscopy. Also, an anaesthetic spray may be used in your mouth to numb your throat before inserting the endoscope into your mouth. The doctor may tell you to wear a plastic mouth guard to hold your mouth open.

The gastroenterologist will then insert the endoscope into your mouth slowly and ask you to let it pass down through your throat. You might sense some pressure in your throat; however, you won’t feel the pain. Also, the endoscope doesn’t obstruct or interfere with your breathing. The endoscope enters esophagus, stomach, and small intestine duodenum.

The endoscope’s end, which enters your digestive system, has a tiny camera that transmits images of your upper digestive tract to the video monitor in the procedure room. The gastroenterologist observes this on the video monitor to detect if any abnormalities are present in your upper digestive tract. If he finds something unusual, he takes its images for studying and further examination.

The gastroenterologist may inflate your digestive tract by using gentle air pressure. This allows free movement of the endoscope and better examination of the folds of your digestive tract. You might sense the pressure or feel the fullness of the added air. The gastroenterologist may pass special surgical equipment through the endoscope to remove a polyp or collect a tissue sample. A video monitor guides the specialist in this process of passing the tools and removing a polyp.

Once the procedure is finished the gastroenterologist will remove the endoscope through your mouth. Generally, the upper GI endoscopy gets completed in about 15 to 30 minutes.


After the endoscopy is done, you will be moved to another room or recovery room where you need to relax for an hour or so. The medical care team monitors you as the effect of the sedative subsides. On returning home, you may experience mild discomforts, such as gas, bloating, cramping, or sore throat. These discomforts subside over time. You need to take rest for the rest of the day after the upper GI endoscopy.

3 Key Benefits of the Upper GI Endoscopy:

On conducting the upper GI endoscopy, the gastroenterologist can observe your upper digestive tract and help investigate, diagnose or detect, and treat some health conditions. Here are some key benefits of this endoscopy. The upper GI endoscopy helps:

  1. Investigate the Symptoms: It helps determine the exact cause of the digestive discomforts, such as heartburn, difficulty in swallowing food, bloody vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and gastrointestinal bleeding.
  2. Diagnose: The upper GI endoscopy enables the gastroenterologist to detect the presence of gastric ulcers. Also, it helps the specialist to collect a tissue sample to test it for various disease conditions. Here’s a quick rundown of the disease conditions that can be diagnosed with the help of upper GI endoscopy.
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Blockages in the digestive tract
  • Redness and swelling (inflammation)
  • Ulcers in the digestive tract
  • Esophageal varices i.e. larger than normal veins present in your esophagus
  • Tumours and polyps
  • Cancer
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Damage resulting due to swallowing harmful substances, such as chemicals
  • Crohn’s disease affecting the upper section of your digestive tract
  • Infections
  • Celiac disease
  • Precancerous abnormalities. For instance, Barrett’s esophagus
  1. Treat: The gastroenterologist can pass special tools through the endoscope to treat some conditions of your digestive system. For instance, the gastroenterologist can use tools and remove a polyp. Also, an endoscopy can help burn a bleeding vessel to help curb bleeding, remove a foreign object, band abnormal veins in your esophagus, and widen a narrow esophagus. It also helps in performing laser therapy and inserting a tube for tube feeding into the patient’s stomach.

Combined with ultrasound, endoscopic ultrasound can help get images of certain organs that are hard to reach, such as the pancreas. Advanced endoscopes make use of high-definition video to produce clearer images. With narrow-band images, the endoscopes help detect precancerous conditions.

So, if you are suffering from chronic digestive issues or unexplained weight loss and need to get an upper GI endoscopy done, get in touch with us at https://specialisthospital.in/ or call for emergency on 080 4212 2222. Our expert gastroenterologists and a team of healthcare professionals will be pleased to attend to your complaints and help you get done with the upper GI endoscopy smoothly without any hassles. Our certified gastroenterologists use their best skills to investigate your upper digestive tract, diagnose the condition, and treat it effectively to help you obtain great relief and improved health. So, think no further, reach out to us, and get done with the upper GI endoscopy with our specialised medical care and treatment.

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