How Do I Know If I Need An Endoscopy?

If a primary physician suggests an endoscopy, he or she will give a referral for a gastroenterologist. A suggested endoscopy is no cause for alarm, as an endoscopy is both a preventative and early detection measure. To decide whether it’s time for an endoscopy, there are several issues to consider.

1. Age
As we age, we are more likely to experience gastrointestinal problems. Although such issues can occur at any age, the likelihood is higher in people who are closer to retirement. Those who are approaching 50 who have never had an endoscopy should ask a physician about having this procedure performed.

2. Family History
If any of your family members have suffered from GI tract issues, a doctor may recommend periodic endoscopies. Although not all issues in the GI tract are hereditary, periodic endoscopies can assist with early detection if you are genetically predisposed to certain illnesses.

3. Current GI Tract Problems
Regardless of hereditary factors, any patient with GI Tract problems could potentially benefit from an endoscopy.  Some of the most common reasons for undergoing an endoscopy include:

-Stomach pain
-Possible acid reflux
-Bleeding in the GI tract
-Possible ulcers
-Pain or difficulty swallowing

Diarrhea, cramping and bloating may accompany some of these symptoms. If symptoms are persistent and a physician does not think an endoscopy is necessary, it may be wise to get a second opinion. The key to successfully treating any of the aforementioned issues is to pinpoint them early on.

Many people are not familiar with gastroenterology or the endoscopy procedure. Endoscopies replaced x-rays, which were not very helpful in pinpointing various GI tract disorders. However, an endoscopy makes early detection and treatment possible, which greatly reduces the likelihood of future invasive surgeries. Fortunately, this is a low-risk procedure that typically creates only mild levels of discomfort.