To investigate your bowels a bendy long thin camera can be inserted into your mouth (gastroscopy) or via your tail end (flexible sigmoidoscopy).



If you are having problems with heartburn or acid reflux or swallowing problems (dysphagia) then a gastroscopy is needed to look at your gullet (oesophagus), stomach (gastric) and first part of your small bowel (duodenum).


Very tiny samples of tissue (biopsies) are routinely taken to send off to the laboratory to get more information than can be seen with the naked eye. This is usually done with a local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat in which case you can go home as a day case within the hour. Otherwise an injection can be given to you to calm you down and so that you don’t remember the procedure. In which case you will need someone to take you home and stay with you overnight to keep an eye on things.


Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

If you are having problems with bleeding from your bottom or have had a change in your bowel habit then a flexible sigmoidoscopy is needed to look inside your tail end with a flexible camera and potentially take tiny samples of tissue (biopsies) to send off to the laboratory to get more information than can be seen with the naked eye. This procedure does not require any anaesthetic and the feeling of wind subsides after you have gone to the toilet after your procedure.


If you have small internal piles (haemorrhoids) then they can be banded with small rubber bands also at this time. These small rubber bands only stay on for a day or so and pinch off and tidy up the internal piles. This procedure shouldn’t hurt but patients sometimes get a dull ache afterwards and I recommend that you take it easy for the rest of that day. It is normal to get a little bleeding after your banding procedure however this should normally settle down. If you take warfarin or other blood thinning medicines then biopsies and banding may not be possible.

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