Gastroscopy is an examination of the upper digestive tract (the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) using an endoscope — a long, thin, flexible tube containing a camera and a light — to view the lining of these organs.
It is an examination of the inside of the gullet, stomach and duodenum. It is performed by using a thin, flexible fibre-optic instrument that is passed through the mouth and allows the doctor to see whether there is any damage to the lining of the oesophagus (gullet) or stomach, and whether there are any ulcers in the stomach or duodenum.
The GP will decide when drug treatment alone is sufficient or whether an investigation by gastroscopy at the local hospital is necessary.
The procedure is painless and is usually done under a light sedative as a day-case patient in a specialised endoscopy unit.
Occasionally, after a discussion with the endoscopist, the procedure will be performed without sedation. When sedation is used, the patient will not be able to drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day.
Anyone suffering from stomach problems should consult a doctor who will, in most cases, treat the symptoms without a major examination.