An upper endoscopy is a procedure performed by your physician to examine the lining of your esophagus, stomach and a portion of your small intestine called the duodenum. The procedure is performed with an endoscope. An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with a camera that is introduced through the mouth and advanced to the stomach and small intestine. It can evaluate for inflammation, ulcers, abnormal blood vessels and cancer. Biopsies or samples can be taken to assess for infection and to differentiate between cancerous and non-cancerous conditions. Common reasons to have an endoscopy include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, bloating, difficulty swallowing, anemia, weight loss and diarrhea.
The procedure will not be painful. Patients are usually sedated for the procedure by an anesthesiologist. Sedation is not mandatory. After the procedure, you may feel mild abdominal cramping or bloat from the air placed into your stomach during the exam. You will be able to resume a normal diet after the examination. You may not drive, operate heavy machinery, make critical decisions or drink alcohol for 24 hours.