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Endoscopy and Digestive Diseases: Your Quick Guide

female doctor speaking with a female patient

Endoscopy is a useful tool for doctors to diagnose and treat a variety of digestive diseases. It can help to detect the cause of symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting; or to diagnose conditions such as ulcers, tumors, and infection. 

Endoscopy can also be used to treat digestive diseases, such as removing polyps (abnormal tissue growth) or placing a stent in a narrowed oesophagus or colon. Endoscopy helps doctors determine whether a patient has an obstruction, inflammation, an ulcer, or a tumor. 

It is also used to detect Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease, and other diseases that affect the digestive system. Endoscopy can also detect cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon. Endoscopy is generally a safe procedure with few complications, but there is a small risk of bleeding, infection, or perforation (a tear in the digestive organ). 

Most endoscopies are performed on an outpatient basis, meaning the patient can go home the same day. Depending on the type of endoscopy being performed, the patient may be sedated or may need to take a short-acting anesthesia. 

Conditions Detected Through Endoscopy

Endoscopy is an important tool for diagnosing and treating digestive diseases. It can help detect the cause of symptoms and detect cancer and other conditions. Endoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a variety of digestive tract problems. It is recommended to evaluate the following:

  • Growths in the colon (polyps)
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Gastritis
  • Ulcers
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Changes in the patient’s bowel habits (diarrhoea or chronic constipation)
  • Esophagus blockage
  • Pancreatitis
  • Ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Other problems in the digestive tract

Other than detecting diseases, endoscopy can also be used to treat the conditions discovered. Some examples include the ability to remove polyps, remove bile duct stones and place stents. Being able to carry out these procedures with an endoscope makes it minimally-invasive and hence patients often have a shorter recovery times compared to traditional surgeries.

Is Endoscopy Safe?

Despite the potential risks, endoscopy remains a safe procedure for most people. In fact, many of the risks associated with endoscopy are relatively low. In most cases, the risk of complications is much lower than the benefit of the procedure. 

Endoscopic procedures can be performed in an outpatient setting under local or general anesthesia. The patient is usually awake during the procedure and is monitored with an anesthesiologist present. 

The recovery time for an endoscopy varies, but most people can usually resume their regular activities the same day. However, it is important to follow any instructions provided by the doctor or endoscopist to ensure a successful procedure and a speedy recovery.

When it comes to safety, there are several factors to consider. For example, if the endoscopy is being done in an outpatient setting, the amount of sedation that may be needed can affect the safety of the procedure. 

Also, the doctor performing the procedure will need to be experienced and adequately trained to ensure that the procedure is done properly. It is important to discuss any medications and medical conditions you have with your doctor before the procedure. This will help the doctor to determine the best way to perform the procedure. 


If you are experiencing symptoms of a digestive disease, such as abdominal pain or changes in bowel habits, talk to your healthcare provider about whether endoscopy might be an appropriate diagnostic or therapeutic option. By visualising the inside of your digestive organs, endoscopy can provide valuable information for diagnosing and managing your condition.

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