What Is an Upper Endoscopy?
If your doctor has recommended an Esophogastroduodenoscopy a.k.a. an EGD procedure or upper endoscopy, you most likely suffer from symptoms that can be treated or diagnosed during the procedure. Gastroenterologists can use an EGD to see what is going on inside the upper part of your GI tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the upper part of your small intestine).
Perhaps you’re experiencing nausea, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, or persistent heartburn. Maybe your GI specialist suspects GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcers, polyps, or a hiatal hernia. No matter the reason for your EGD, be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you take and any allergies you have before the procedure.
What Happens During an EGD?
An upper GI endoscopy is best performed while your stomach is empty, so you shouldn’t have anything to eat or drink for 6-8 hours before the procedure. Before your EGD begins, your physician will probably give you a sedative to relax you and a painkiller or numbing medication to ease any discomfort.
You will be asked to lie on your side, and your doctor will pass an endoscope, a thin tube with a camera on the end, through your mouth to examine your upper GI tract.
How Long Does an EGD Take?
An EGD usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete.
What Happens After My EGD?
After the procedure is complete, you will be placed under observation for about an hour or until the sedative’s effects have mostly worn off. You will need to have someone drive you home and stay with you, and you’re not supposed to drive yourself for 24 hours afterward since your reflexes and judgment could still be impaired after anesthesia. You may have a sore throat or feel bloated, but these symptoms are normal and should dissipate within 24 hours.
When Can I Eat Again?
At this point, it’s been at least 7 hours since you last had anything to eat or drink. You may be hungry or thirsty, but don’t eat or drink anything until you can comfortably swallow. When you can eat often depends on your appetite and your recovery speed. If your throat has been sprayed with numbing medication, don’t eat anything for at least an hour after the procedure. When you feel you can do so, start slow by sipping water or other cool liquids.
Over the next 24-48 hours, eat small meals consisting of soft, easily-digestible foods like soups, eggs, juices, pudding, applesauce, etc. You should also avoid consuming alcohol for at least 24 hours after your procedure. When you feel like you’re “back to normal,” you may resume your normal diet.