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Testing and Treatment for Gastrointestinal Conditions

An endoscopy is a safe outpatient procedure we use to diagnose and treat problems in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also known as your digestive tract. Some of the many symptoms that may lead your doctor to recommend an endoscopy include:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)
  • Stomach pain
  • Ulcers

Our team of gastroenterology providers at Baystate Health is here to help. We’ll make sure you have the information and care you need before, during, and after your endoscopy.

What to Expect During Your Endoscopy

Your doctor will give you instructions on how to prepare for your endoscopy. These instructions will vary based on the type of endoscopy you will have. Make sure you understand your instructions and follow them closely. This will help ensure that your procedure goes smoothly. Depending on your procedure, your preparation may include:

  • Adjusting what medications you take
  • Fasting the day before your procedure
  • Taking a laxative the night before (for lower endoscopies)

You will either be sedated (light anesthesia) or be under general anesthesia during your endoscopy. This will help you relax and be comfortable. You will need a responsible adult with you to drive you home after your procedure.

During an upper endoscopy, your doctor will insert a long, flexible tube called an endoscope through your mouth. Your doctor will then pass the tube into your stomach and the upper part of your digestive tract. During a lower endoscopy, your doctor will insert the endoscope through the rectum and into your colon (large intestine).

Depending on the type of endoscopy you’re having, your doctor may use soft air pressure to inflate your digestive tract. We will use a tiny camera on the endoscope to take pictures and video of your digestive tract. Your doctor may use small surgical tools through the endoscope to take tissue samples (biopsy) or to remove any abnormal tissue or growths (polyps) during your procedure.

Afterward, we’ll take you to a recovery area. You may feel groggy or tired while your sedation wears off. Once you’re ready, you can go home. You should relax for the rest of the day after your endoscopy, but you should be able to resume your normal activities the next day.

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Our Endoscopy Procedures

There are five common types of endoscopies that we offer:


A colonoscopy is a type of lower endoscopy. It’s the best method to screen for colorectal cancer. If you’re at average risk for colorectal cancer, your doctor will typically recommend that you start having colonoscopies when you turn 50 and then every 10 years afterward.

Learn more about our colonoscopy process.

Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)

An EGD is a type of upper endoscopy. During this test, we’ll examine your esophagus, stomach, and part of the upper intestine. We use this test to evaluate for and treat several conditions, such as:

  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Anemia (a lack of healthy red blood cells), which may be the result of bleeding in the upper digestive tract
  • Bloody stool
  • Chest pain not likely to be the result of heart disease
  • Chronic nausea or vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Ulcers
  • Unexplained weight loss

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

An EUS is a type of upper endoscopy we use to screen for and diagnose conditions in the upper and lower digestive tract, such as:

  • Bile duct stones (stones in the thin tubes that carry a digestive fluid called bile from the liver to the small intestine)
  • Digestive cancer
  • Lung cancer

We use a special endoscope with an ultrasound probe to see inside your digestive tract with high-frequency sound waves. Your doctor may also perform a fine-needle aspiration during the procedure, which involves using a tiny needle through the endoscope to take tissue samples for analysis.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

An ERCP is a type of upper endoscopy we use to diagnose and treat problems in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and bile ducts (thin tubes that carry a digestive fluid called bile from the liver to the small intestine), such as:

  • Digestive cancer
  • Draining blocked areas of the upper digestive tract
  • Gallstone removal
  • Liver disorders, such as primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) or primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), both of which involve inflammation of and damage to the bile ducts

During this test, your doctor will use an endoscope to view areas of your digestive tract and inject special dye to help improve visibility for X-rays.

Sigmoidoscopy (Flexible Sigmoidoscopy)

A sigmoidoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy is a type of lower endoscopy. Your doctor may recommend this test to evaluate the sigmoid (the lower portion of the colon). During this test, your doctor will use a type of endoscope known as a sigmoidoscope, a shorter version of the type of endoscope we use during a colonoscopy.

We use flexible sigmoidoscopies to screen for colorectal cancer. We may also recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy to monitor inflammation in your colon if you have ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

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