Getting ready for your gastroscopy

Some patients feel very anxious before their gastroscopy. It is completely understandable and the staff within the clinic are very experienced at helping you to navigate the nerves whilst ensuring that you feel able to complete the procedure.

A gastroscopy can also be referred to as an endoscopy or an OGD. It is a quick and routine procedure which can diagnose conditions such as:

– Acid reflux

– Ulcers

– Swallowing difficulties

– Hiatus hernias and indigestion symptoms.

It is also commonly used to investigate:

– Unintentional weight loss

– Abdominal pains.

One of the important things to remember is that the endoscope (the camera tube itself) will be going in a completely different direction to your breathing tubes. The beauty of the camera is that the team will be able to see exactly where they are at all times. At the beginning of the test, you may be asked to do a swallow – this is to open up the gateway to your oesophagus (gullet). Once the camera tube has passed this point, it’s likely that you will feel much more comfortable.

When you are preparing to go for your investigation you will be seen, initially, by one of the healthcare professionals from the clinic and given the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have about your procedure. Some patients find it comforting to ask for a running commentary throughout the investigation. It’s possible for the team to talk you through the test as it happens – for some, having the different sensations explained can be very reassuring. If this is you, please feel free to mention this during your initial discussion with one of the members of the team.

Don’t forget that if you are wanting to make use of the sedation during your appointment, you will need to have someone who can collect you from your clinic and take care of you after the test. The sedation can make you feel a little drowsy and some patients even forget a little about what happens during the test.

You will also be asked to fast before your investigation. This is to ensure that the team can obtain good views of each part of your gastrointestinal tract and to eradicate of any chances of vomiting during the test.

Preparing for medical tests can feel overwhelming. Knowing what to expect can help you to feel more in control of your experience and therefore less nervous. To put you at ease, and prepare for the tests, we recommend reading more about gastrointestinal investigations here.