Preparing for Your Endoscopy: What You Need to Know

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Suppose your doctors have scheduled you for an endoscopy. In that case, they will use a thin tube to directly examine your upper or lower digestive tract, including the intestines, and display the findings on a video screen. It’s essential to note that the medical team at Valley Surgical RGV recommends specific preparations to ensure the best possible results. The primary purpose of this procedure is to visualize your stomach, esophagus, and large colon. If medically necessary, the doctors may also perform biopsies or remove polyps. Additionally, they will provide you with detailed discharge instructions to follow at home.

Guide on Endoscopy Procedure Preparation

Before the procedure, your doctor will provide instructions to follow carefully. It is advisable to adhere to your doctor’s recommendations and seek clarification if you have any questions. Common instructions that most doctors provide include:

Fasting

It would be helpful to refrain from consuming liquids for approximately four hours and avoid solid food for around eight hours before the procedure. Doing this ensures that your stomach is empty when the doctor performs the procedure.

Discontinuing Certain Medications

Your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain blood-thinning medications several days before the endoscopy. The reason for this is because blood thinners can increase the risk of bleeding during the procedure. However, if you have ongoing medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes, your doctor will provide specific medication instructions.

What To Expect During Endoscopy

As endoscopy involves sedation, you won’t be able to drive after the procedure. Therefore, arranging transportation to and from the facility where you’re scheduled for the endoscopy is essential. After administering sedation, your doctor will insert a thin tube equipped with a tiny camera into your mouth, passing it down your esophagus. This tube sends images to a video screen, allowing your doctor to examine your digestive tract for ulcers, polyps, and other issues.

During the procedure, your doctor may remove polyps and take tissue samples. Once the examination is complete, they will gently retract the endoscope through your mouth. The entire process typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes.

What to Expect After the Procedure

After completion, doctors will take you to a recovery room. Next, your doctors will meet to discuss the next steps and inform you when to expect your results once the sedation has worn off. In some cases, you might receive your results immediately after the endoscopy.

However, if the doctor removes polyps or detects ulcers, tissue samples must be sent to a testing facility, which can delay the results. After the endoscopy, some patients may experience mild symptoms like cramping, gas, bloating, or a sore throat. These symptoms are usually temporary, but it’s advisable to contact your doctor if you have any concerns. Doctors at Valley Surgical RGV recommend that patients rest for the remainder of the day after the procedure and wait until the next day to resume their regular activities.

How To Prepare for the Bowel Prep

Before the test, follow these dietary guidelines:

  • Avoid solid foods for a day or two before the test.
  • Only consume clear fluids such as coffee, tea, water, clear broths, clear juices, gelatin, and flavored ice pops.
  • Do not consume milk or juices with pulp, like orange juice.
  • Avoid foods and drinks that are purple, red, or blue, such as cherry Jell-O and grape popsicles.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluids.

Your doctor will provide bowel preparation solutions to cleanse your rectum and colon. Some patients find the solution bitter, but consuming it all is essential for an effective procedure. You can make it more manageable by:

  • Drinking water or clear fluids after taking the solution to remove the salty taste.
  • Sucking lemon wedges to improve the taste.
  • Chilling the solution in the refrigerator for a better flavor.

Keep these points in mind:

  • Refrain from consuming solid foods once you start the bowel prep.
  • Plan to stay home the evening before the examination due to frequent restroom visits.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice regarding any medications to avoid.

What To Expect During the Recovery Period

Most endoscopies are outpatient procedures so you can go home the same day. Your doctor will use stitches to close incision wounds and carefully bandage them immediately. Plus, they will give you instructions for caring for the wounds at home. Afterward, you’ll wait for about one to two hours at the hospital as the sedation effects wear off. As said earlier, liaising with a family member or friend to drive you home is essential. Once you get home, plan to rest for the rest of the day.

Some procedures, like an upper endoscopy, may cause slight discomfort but usually involve minimal discomfort and minimal recovery. Post-procedure symptoms might include grogginess from the sedation, trouble swallowing, a sore throat, bloating, nausea, and mild pain where the doctor inserted the pipe. These symptoms usually go away within 48 hours. At home, drink plenty of water to eliminate the sedative. If possible, eat soft foods and liquids like broth for easier swallowing and less soreness. Consider sucking on popsicles or hard candies to soothe a sore throat. Additionally, a short walk can help relieve bloating. If you have undergone a cystoscopy to examine the bladder, expect some blood in your urine for up to 24 hours. Similarly, if you’ve had a colonoscopy, you might notice blood in your stools, which should resolve in a day. If it persists beyond 24 hours, contact your doctor.

What To Do if Any Complications Arise

Endoscopy has a lower risk of infection and bleeding than open surgery. However, like any medical procedure, it comes with some potential risks, including infection, bleeding, and rare complications such as chest pain, possible perforation, organ damage, fever, enduring pain near the endoscopy site, and swelling and redness at the incision area. If you experience persistent complications, it’s essential to contact the Valley Surgical RGV medical team for assistance.

Get a Proficient Endoscopy Today

Don’t postpone your health any longer. Our skilled medical team is here for you if you require an endoscopy. Contact Valley Surgical RGV today to schedule an appointment with our experienced specialists.

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