Upper Endoscopy: Benefits, Preparations, and Risks

Upper Endoscopy

to Your Health

Upper endoscopy is a common test used to diagnose and manage problems in the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine, also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It is a safe and simple procedure, and even with the preparation, it is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in approximately 30 minutes.

What Is an Upper Endoscopy?

Upper endoscopy is a procedure that examines the inside of a person’s esophagus, stomach and small intestine using a thin, lighted tube known as an endoscope. During the procedure, the doctor will insert the endoscope through the mouth and into your stomach and small intestine, allowing them to inspect the lining of your GI tract and to identify any abnormalities. It is also possible to take small samples of tissue during the procedure.

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Benefits of Upper Endoscopy

Upper endoscopy is an effective way to evaluate and diagnose the cause of various gastrointestinal conditions such as ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, gallbladder disease and abnormalities in the esophagus.

Upper endoscopy can help identify the causes of unexplained abdominal pain, vomiting, or other GI symptoms, and can also be used to screen for certain cancers.

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Preparing for an Upper Endoscopy

Prior to an upper endoscopy, it is important to discuss your medical history and any medications or supplements you are taking. It is recommended to avoid certain medications, including certain herbal products and vitamins and supplements, which can interfere with the procedure.

Your doctor may also advise you to follow a special diet or provide you with an oral solution to clean the small intestine the night before the procedure.

Upper Endoscopy Risks and Side Effects

Upper endoscopy is a relatively safe procedure, however there are some rare risks and side effects associated with the procedure, including: bleeding, infection, abdominal pain, and perforation of the gastrointestinal tract.

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Your risk for complications increases if you have certain medical conditions such as any active bleeding disorder or if you are on certain medication such as anticoagulants.


Upper endoscopy is a safe and effective procedure that can be used to diagnose and manage various gastrointestinal conditions. It is important to discuss your medical history and medications with your doctor prior to the procedure, and to follow any dietary instructions given. Although there are some rare risks and side effects associated with the procedure, it is important to remember that most patients experience no ill effects.

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