People experiencing problems in their upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract may need an endoscopy, or an examination of those organs, including the esophagus, duodenum and stomach. A special diet, including suggestions about alcohol consumption, may be prescribed by your doctor before and after the procedure to eliminate any possible complications and protect the lining of your GI tract.
What is Endoscopy?
An upper endoscopy is an examination of the lining of the GI tract for the purpose of diagnosing, preventing or treating diseases of the stomach, pancreas, duodenum and esophagus. An endoscope is used to examine the lining of these organs to help the physician locate polyps, strictures, bleeding and other abnormalities.
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Patients may experience discomfort during and after the endoscopy from the air that is pumped into the stomach to expand it for easier viewing. The sensations of bloating and pressure should go away in a few hours after the procedure is finished. Sometimes there may be bleeding if a polyp is removed, or if the endoscope scratches, cuts or perforates the esophagus. Although rare, bleeding may persist up to 14 days after the removal of a polyp, according to the Gastroenterology Associates, and should be reported to your doctor.
No food or drink should be consumed for eight hours before your endoscopy exam. If you take blood-thinning medicines that may increase your risk of bleeding, the doctor will tell you to cease taking them a week beforehand. If you drink alcohol, your doctor may ask you to cease doing so several days before the procedure. Make arrangements for a ride home after the procedure because you will be drowsy from the sedation.
During the test you'll be sedated through an IV tube in your arm. The sedative may prevent you from recalling the procedure and may put you to sleep. In addition, your throat will be sprayed with a topical anesthetic to keep you from gagging when the endoscope tube is put in place. After the procedure your throat may be numb for an hour or two and you will be groggy from the sedative. You should not drink any alcohol after the procedure for at least 24 hours to avoid mixing it with the sedative and causing a reaction. The doctor will recommend a special diet after the procedure. In most instances, you'll be able to eat normally the following day.
All alcohol, including beer, wine, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages, can thin the blood and strip the mucosa from the lining of the esophagus. After an endoscopy, your throat, esophagus and stomach will be more sensitive than usual, and drinking alcohol may cause burning, pain and bleeding.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.