What is an Endoscopy?
Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a flexible tube that has a lighted camera on the end is inserted into the mouth or nose and used to examine parts of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract including linings, tissues, and organs. The procedure is also called esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD. What is an EGD used to diagnose? Several conditions.
6 Conditions Diagnosed by Endoscopy
What can endoscopy diagnose? It can help a doctor identify and diagnose diseases of the digestive system. Six of the most common are listed below.
Cancer and tumors
Doctors can find abnormal lumps, masses, or ulcerations in the upper GI tract using endoscopy and then, if appropriate, take a small amount of tissue in what’s called a biopsy. The tissue can be examined to determine if it’s non-cancerous or cancerous.
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Enlarged veins in the walls of the esophagus are called esophageal varices. These veins can burst and bleed, causing a person to vomit blood and have bloody or black, tarry stools. The bleeding caused by esophageal varices, which are often associated with liver disease, can be life-threatening.
Inflammation in the upper GI tract, which is commonly caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, can cause different types of ulcers (sores in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or small intestine) and other problems.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD
GERD is a condition where stomach acid is allowed to flow into the esophagus where it damages the lining. GERD can lead to what’s called Barrett’s esophagus, in which abnormal cells develop and can evolve into cancer.
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An esophageal stricture is an abnormal narrowing of the esophagus that can make it difficult for foods and beverages to pass through. Pieces of food can even become lodged in the narrowed portion of the esophagus. Strictures can be caused by tumors or GERD.
Celiac disease is a chronic immune disorder and digestive condition that damages the lining of the small intestine. It’s caused by eating foods that contain gluten. The digestive issues can worsen to the point that the body isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs.
Seek Medical Care if You Suspect You May Need an Endoscopy
Knowing what diseases can be detected by an endoscopy — those listed above and others — shows what a helpful diagnostic aid the procedure is. Do you need endoscopy for an ulcer based on your symptoms? Do you have other symptoms that could be associated with cancer or another disease? If you think you may need an endoscopy procedure, talk with your doctor about Baptist Health’s imaging and diagnostic services.
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