Upper GI Endoscopy After Care: Common Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Upper GI Endoscopy After Care: Common Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

Getting The Upper Hand With Upper GI Endoscopy

Made up of the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract is prone to various acute and chronic conditions that require treatment. In many cases, a surgeon or gastroenterologist will use upper GI endoscopy to assess and treat such conditions. During the procedure, the doctor uses an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera attached to the end. The surgeon can assess and treat issues in real time by passing the endoscope through the patient’s mouth. The procedure is performed with the patient under general anesthesia and requires no incisions. However, there is a post-operative period where upper GI endoscopy aftercare is essential.


Reasons for endoscopy

An upper GI endoscopy helps assess conditions that impact the GI tract. The procedure is especially useful when physical examination and blood tests fail to reveal the source of a patient's symptoms. Common conditions that can benefit from endoscopy include gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, dysphagia, and cancers. Problems with motility in the esophagus can also benefit from endoscopy. With endoscopy, the doctor can also perform tasks like biopsies or treatment of a long-standing illness. From there, lifestyle changes and medication can help further manage or even reverse the specific conditions.

Common symptoms after surgery

Upper GI endoscopy is a low-risk and well-tolerated outpatient procedure. However, the patient will require aftercare for a smooth recovery. When the patient wakes up after surgery and is settled, the medical team will explain how to treat symptoms, when eating is possible, and address complications. The primary symptoms after endoscopy include mild throat irritation, hoarseness, and soreness. Additionally, patients might feel bloated or gassy due to the air introduced during the procedure.

When to be concerned

Most post-op symptoms and sensations are generally considered normal and part of the body's response to the procedure. However, while rare, other symptoms can be concerning. For instance, persistent or severe chest pain should not be ignored. Other concerns include signs of infection, like fever, redness, swelling, or nausea. Some patients may have difficulty breathing or swallowing. Should symptoms persist or increase in intensity, contact the medical team.

Managing symptoms

There are several ways to manage symptoms during recovery. The doctor will prescribe pain medication to manage the pain and soreness that are common after endoscopy. Additionally, staying hydrated helps relieve discomfort. Sip water slowly during the day to avoid irritation. Lots of rest and avoiding high-inflammatory foods are vital to recovering with minimal pain and discomfort. While most symptoms resolve quickly, some patients have more prolonged bouts of discomfort. Discuss these with the doctor and visit an emergency room for any concerning symptoms.

Aftercare matters

Upper GI endoscopy is essential for uncovering acute or chronic issues in the mouth, throat, and esophagus. While quick and practical, the patient needs a short recovery period. Some post-operative symptoms can resolve quickly, while others can take several days or weeks. Any delayed symptoms or complications should be addressed by the medical team. Adherence to aftercare strategies will ensure the patient has the best outcome while encountering minimal complications.

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