to view an animated version of this test.
An upper GI endoscopy is a test that allows the doctor to see inside the throat, esophagus, and stomach. The upper part of the small intestines may also be examined. It is done with a flexible tube called an endoscope.
Upper GI Endoscopy
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Reasons for Test
This procedure is done to help diagnose the causes of:
- Unexplained belly pain
- Lasting nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty swallowing
- Blood in stool or vomit
or other tests of the digestive tract
An upper GI endoscopy may also be done to look for:
- Abnormal narrowing
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
- Excess bleeding
- Problems from anesthesia
- Damage to the esophagus, stomach, or intestine
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to test
The care team may meet with you to talk about:
- Anesthesia options
- Any allergies you may have
- Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before the procedure
- Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
- Whether you need a ride to and from the procedure
The doctor will give:
- Medicine to numb the throat
- A sedative—you will feel relaxed
Description of the Test
The endoscope will be put into the mouth. It will be passed through the esophagus and stomach until it reaches the small intestine. Images will be seen on a nearby monitor. Air may be passed through the scope. This helps the doctor view the area.
If needed, tiny tools may be passed through the endoscope. They can be used to take a
sample of tissue
for testing or do other procedures.
How Long Will It Take?
About 10 to 15 minutes
Will It Hurt?
Throat pain and bloating are common in the first few days. Medicine and home care can help.
Average Hospital Stay
Most people can go home the same day. If other procedures were done during the upper GI endoscopy, you may need to stay longer.
At the Care Center
The staff may give you something to eat and drink.
It will take a few hours to recover. Most can resume their diet.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have:
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- Severe belly pain
- Hard, swollen belly
- Black, tar-like stools or bloody stools
- Vomiting blood
- New or worsening symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Understanding upper endoscopy. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website. Available at: https://www.asge.org/list-pages/patient-informations/understanding-upper-endoscopy. Accessed February 12, 2021.
Upper endoscopy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/upper-endoscopy. Accessed Februry 12, 2021.
Upper GI endoscopy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diagnostic-tests/upper-gi-endoscopy. Accessed February 12, 2021.
Volkan B, Bayrak NA, et al. Preparatory information reduces gastroscopy-related stress in children as confirmed by salivary cortisol. Saudi J Gastroenterol. 2019;25(4):262-267.
Last reviewed January 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
Last Updated: 02/12/2021