Endoscopy FAQs

Endoscopy is a common, minimally invasive procedure that uses thin, hollow tubes (endoscopes) to see inside your body. Mercy gastroenterologists use endoscopy to help diagnose and treat a variety of digestive disorders.

How long does an endoscopy take?

The test usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. Your Mercy gastroenterologist will check the inside of your esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum).

What does an endoscopy show?

An endoscopy can detect ulcers, inflammation, tumors, infection, bleeding and other conditions. Your Mercy gastroenterologist may collect tissue samples (biopsy), remove polyps and treat bleeding during the procedure. And your gastroenterologist may find problems that don’t show on x-rays and other tests.

Is an endoscopy painful?

Endoscopy is a painless outpatient procedure. You’ll receive a sedative through an IV in your arm or hand, which helps you feel relaxed and drowsy. You may not remember much about the actual test.

What's the procedure for an endoscopy?

When you have an endoscopy, an endoscope (scope) no thicker than many foods you swallow is guided through your esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum). A camera attached to the scope takes pictures. Your gastroenterologist may also collect tissue samples (biopsy), remove growths or stop bleeding.

How do you prepare for an endoscopy?

A week or so before your procedure, you may be asked to stop taking drugs like ibuprofen or iron supplements. If you take blood thinners, talk with your Mercy provider about how to manage this medication. You’ll be asked not to eat or drink for six to eight hours before an endoscopy. Don’t take sucralfate (Carafate) or antacids the day of your endoscopy ― they make it hard for your Mercy gastroenterologist to see your upper GI tract. Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure, since you’ll be given a sedative. Talk with your Mercy gastroenterologist about any concerns you have about getting an endoscopy.

How long does it take to recover from an endoscopy?

After the test, you’ll be observed for a few hours until the medicines wear off. If your throat was numbed before the test, avoiding eating or drinking until your throat’s no longer numb and your gag reflex returns. When you’re fully recovered, you can go home. After the procedure, you may feel sleepy at first, and you might have a sore throat for a day or two. You won’t be able to drive or operate machinery for 12 hours after your endoscopy. Your Mercy gastroenterologist will tell you when you can go back to your usual diet and activities. And avoid alcohol for 12 to 24 hours after your procedure. 

What conditions can be diagnosed using capsule endoscopy?

Capsule endoscopy uses a tiny wireless camera to take pictures of your small intestine. You swallow a vitamin-size capsule, which reaches areas not accessible by traditional procedures. Capsule endoscopy is used to diagnose bleeding, diseases like Crohn’s and celiac, cancers, esophageal abnormalities, small intestine polyps and other conditions.

What are the side effects after an endoscopy?

Gas and bloating are common side effects after an endoscopy, since air is introduced into the GI tract during the procedure. Symptoms should subside 24-36 hours after your endoscopy. Contact your Mercy gastroenterologist for any concerns following your test.

Find a Location

Mercy has endoscopy locations across most our communities. 

Find an endoscopy center near you.