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What Is Gastroscopy?
A gastroscopy is a test that looks at the inside of your food pipe (oesophagus), stomach and the first part of your small intestine (small bowel).
A doctor or specialist nurse (endoscopist) does the test. They use a long flexible tube which has a tiny camera and light at the end. This tube is called a gastroscope or endoscope.
You may also hear this test called an oesophagho gastric duodenoscopy (OGD).
Why you might have a gastroscopy
You might have a gastroscopy to find out the cause of symptoms such as:
- abnormal bleeding
- low levels of iron (iron deficiency anaemia)
- difficulty swallowing
If you have Barrett’s oesophagus you’ll have regular gastroscopies to check for any changes to cells in the lining of your food pipe.
During the test, your endoscopist takes samples (biopsies) of any abnormal-looking areas. They send the samples to the laboratory to be looked at under a microscope.
How you have a gastroscopy
Preparing for your test
You might have blood tests beforehand to check your blood levels and how well your blood clots. Tell your doctor if you’re taking medicines to thin your blood such as warfarin. Your doctor will tell you if you need to stop taking these or any other medicines for a while before your gastroscopy. You can’t eat for 6 hours before the test, but you might be able to drink sips of water up to 2 hours beforehand. Your doctor or nurse gives you written instructions about this before your appointment.