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Upper GI Endoscopy

Upper GI endoscopy allows your doctor to look directly into the beginning of your digestive (gastrointestinal or GI) tract. Your upper GI tract is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The duodenum is the first part of the small intestine.

Outline of human head and chest with head turned to side. Cross section of esophagus leading from mouth to stomach is shown. Stomach ends at duodenum, first part of small intestine. Endoscope is inserted through mouth, esophagus, and stomach and ends in duodenum.
During endoscopy, a long, flexible tube is used to view the inside of your upper GI tract.

Before the exam

Follow these and any other instructions you are given before your endoscopy. If you don’t follow the doctor’s instructions carefully, the test may need to be canceled or done over:

  • Don't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your exam. If your exam is in the afternoon, drink only clear liquids in the morning. Don't eat or drink anything for 8 hours before the exam.

  • Bring your X-rays and any other test results you have.

  • You will be given medicine to help you relax (sedation). You will need to have an adult drive you home after the exam.

  • Tell your healthcare provider before the exam if you are taking any medicines or have any health problems.

The procedure

  • You will lie on the endoscopy table.

  • Your throat may be numbed with a spray or gargle. You are given medicine through an IV (intravenous) line that will help you relax and remain comfortable. You may be awake or asleep during the procedure.

  • The doctor will put the endoscope in your mouth and down your esophagus. It is thinner than most pieces of food that you swallow. It will not affect your breathing. The medicine helps keep you from gagging.

  • The doctor puts air into your GI tract to expand it. It can make you burp.

  • The endoscope carries images of your upper GI tract to a video screen. If you are awake, you may be able to look at the images.

  • After the procedure is done, you will rest for a time. An adult must drive you home.

When to call your doctor

Contact your doctor if you have:

  • Black or tarry stools; blood in your stool

  • Fever

  • Pain in your belly (abdomen) that does not go away

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 3/15/2014
© 2000-2016 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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