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An upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of your oesophagus (gullet), stomach and duodenum using a flexible telescope (see figure 1).
A colonoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of your large bowel (colon) using a flexible telescope.
Your doctor is concerned that you may have a problem in your digestive system. An upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy is a good way of finding out if there is a problem.
A barium meal is an x-ray test of your upper digestive system.
Alternatives to a colonoscopy include a barium enema (an x-ray test of your large bowel) or a CT colography (a scan of your large bowel).
An upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy usually takes about an hour.
If appropriate, the endoscopist may offer you a sedative or painkiller.
The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into the back of your throat and down into your stomach. From here the endoscope will pass into your duodenum.
A colonoscopy involves placing a flexible telescope into your back passage and blowing some air into your large bowel to get a clear view.
The endoscopist will be able to look for problems such as inflammation, ulcers or polyps. They will be able to perform biopsies and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.
If you were given a sedative, you will usually recover in about two hours.
You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass.
You should be able to return to work the next day unless you are told otherwise.
The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the procedure and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
An upper GI endoscopy and colonoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with your digestive system.
Author: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.) and Mr Jonathan Lund DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)
Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com
This page is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.
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