Endoscopy is a nonsurgical procedure used to examine a person’s digestive tract. Using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, your doctor can view pictures of your digestive tract on a color TV monitor.
Upper Endoscopy (EGD)
Upper Endoscopy (also known as gastroscopy, EGD, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy) is a procedure that enables your doctor to examine the lining of the esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach and duodenum (first portion of the small intestine).
Colonoscopy is a procedure that enables an doctor to evaluate the inside of the colon (large intestine or large bowel). The colonoscope is a four foot long, flexible tube about the thickness of a finger with a camera and a source of light at its tip. The tip of the colonoscope is inserted into the anus and then is advanced slowly, under visual control, into the rectum and through the colon usually as far as the cecum, which is the first part of the colon.
One widely accepted recommendation has been that even healthy people at normal risk for colon cancer should undergo colonoscopy at age 50 and every 10 years thereafter, for the purpose of removing colonic polyps before they become cancerous.
Colonoscopy may also be done for a variety of other reasons. Most often it is done to investigate the cause of blood in the stool, abdominal pain, diarrhea, a change in bowel habit, or an abnormality found on colonic X-rays or a computerized axial tomography (CT) scan. Individuals with a previous history of polyps or colon cancer and certain individuals with a family history of some types of non-colonic cancers or colonic problems that may be associated with colon cancer (such as ulcerative colitis and colonic polyps) may be advised to have periodic colonoscopies because their risks are greater for polyps or colon cancer.
How often should one undergo colonoscopy depends on the degree of the risk and the abnormalities found at previous colonoscopies.