Tips You Should Know from a Gastroscopy Clinic in Singapore
If you have ever experienced chronic or recurring symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, stomach pain, indigestion, sudden and unexplainable weight loss, vomiting, nausea, or heartburn, your upper gastrointestinal tract may be compromised. In this case, your best course of action is to visit a gastroscopy clinic in Singapore. Gastroscopy, also known as upper endoscopy, refers to the examination of the upper digestive tract using a thin, flexible tube called endoscope. If there is anyone who can provide expert advice on this matter, it is no other than Dr. Aaron Poh at Alpine Surgical Practice, a renowned specialist in this field. He is a digestive tract specialist with years of experience in endoscopic investigation through gastroscopy and colonoscopy, so you can be rest assured that you will get excellent care!
The digestive system is one of the most complex sections of the human body, starting from the mouth and down to the back passage or the anus. A gastroscopy provides the doctor a clear view of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the upper part of the small intestine) so it is commonly used to investigate and diagnose the condition of the digestive tract. Although an x-ray is another way to examine this part of the body, gastroscopy offers a greater advantage over x-rays because it is more accurate in detecting diseases and it can also be used to obtain small samples of tissues in an area to confirm if cancerous cells are present (biopsy). Furthermore, it is possible to utilize gastroscopy to treat minor bleeding the upper gastrointestinal area, widen a narrowed esophagus, treat ulcers and remove polyps, and remove any food or foreign objects that are blocking the esophagus and/or interfering with swallowing.
For more information about gastroscopy in Singapore, this article will discuss the following questions:
- What is the difference between gastroscopy vs endoscopy and gastroscopy vs colonoscopy?
- How do I prepare for a gastroscopy?
- What happens during a gastroscopy?
- What are the after-effects of this procedure?
Difference between gastroscopy vs endoscopy and gastroscopy vs colonoscopy
In a nutshell, endoscopy is a general term while gastroscopy is more specific. Endoscopy refers to the visual examination of the body cavities that is carried out by inserting a tiny camera at either end of the digestive tract (via mouth or anus). Gastroscopy, on the other hand, is a process where the camera is inserted from the top end, which is the mouth, to have a clear view of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. Gastroscopy, therefore, is a type of endoscopy.
Gastroscopy and colonoscopy are also known as endoscopic procedures. The former is specifically performed to view the upper gastrointestinal tract and it is supervised by a gastroenterologist or a doctor that specializes in gastrointestinal surgery. Prior to a gastroscopy, the patient is required to do a fasting for 6 hours. The latter examines the lower section of the gastrointestinal tract. During a colonoscopy. The doctor inserts the scope through the anus to view the condition of the rectum and the entire column. It takes about half an hour to complete the procedure. The day before a colonoscopy, the patient will be advised to take a laxative to clear the bowels (for a better view of the large intestine).
Preparing for a gastroscopy
Before you undergo a gastroscopy or upper endoscopy, you should talk to your doctor about any health issues (pre-existing conditions, allergies, etc.) that you have so that special attention may be provided during the procedure. You should also discuss the medications and supplements that you are currently taking so that you would know if it is alright to take them or not, or whether the dosage needs to be adjusted. You will be advised to avoid any medication that can thin the blood or affect blood clotting (aspirin included). Fasting for six to eight hours is also required; you can only consume clear liquids.
What happens during a gastroscopy
Gastroscopy is an outpatient procedure so this means you can go home on the same day and not spend the night in the hospital or medical facility. Some patients feel mild discomfort during the procedure, but it should not be painful. To dispel any fear or doubts, you should know that endoscopic procedures like gastroscopy are considered one of the safest medical procedures as it carries a low level of risk for the patient. In rare incidents where there are problems with bleeding, sedation, and infection, the complications are usually attributed to pre-existing conditions (so make sure that you inform your doctor about any health-related concerns beforehand!).
The doctor will provide sedation or another form of anesthesia, then he or she will apply a numbing spray to your throat to minimize discomfort. A mouthguard may also be provided to protect the teeth. The doctor will guide the scope with the tiny camera at the top into your mouth, pass the esophagus, and into the stomach and duodenum to assess the areas of concern. Air will be pumped to the endoscope into the stomach and duodenum to allow the doctor to see the organs better. The images or footage from the endoscope will be displayed on a video monitor. If necessary, the doctor may remove small pieces of tissue to examine further in a lab and/or perform other treatments. The entire procedure is over and done with after about twenty to thirty minutes.
What to expect after a gastroscopy
You may be advised to remain in the recovery area for at least thirty minutes after the procedure. Majority of patients do not feel any unpleasant effects after the procedure. Some feel drowsy (due to the sedative) or bloated (from the air that was pumped during the test) but most people do not remember anything about the procedure.
It is safe to eat and drink after a gastroscopy, but if possible, you should avoid driving or traveling on public transport alone, signing any legal or important documents, operating heavy machinery, or consuming alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours.
If you experience worsening pain in the throat, chest, or stomach, high fever, or difficulty in swallowing, contact your doctor or the medical facility for immediate medical attention.