Before an endoscopy

An endoscopy is a widely used diagnostic procedure that helps doctors examine the inner workings of the digestive system. This non-surgical procedure can assist in diagnosing conditions ranging from gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) to colon cancer.

While the procedure is routine and generally safe, it’s completely understandable that the thought of undergoing an endoscopy can stir up anxiety for many. In today’s blog, we aim to address these concerns and offer advice on how to ease your nerves before the procedure.

What is an Endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a procedure that involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera attached called an endoscope, through an opening in the body. This is usually the mouth or anus, and it gives the surgeon access to examine the internal parts of the digestive system.

Two common types of endoscopic procedures are colonoscopy, used to examine the colon, and gastroscopy, which is used to look at the stomach and part of the small intestine.

These procedures are conducted for a variety of reasons, such as screening for cancer, evaluating digestive symptoms, or even retrieving a foreign object from the stomach.

Why Do People Feel Anxious Before an Endoscopy?

Anxiety before an endoscopy is common and can be attributed to various factors. The main cause is the fear of pain or discomfort during the procedure. Also, despite the use of anaesthesia to minimise discomfort, the mere idea of having a tube inserted can be daunting.

Some people may also feel embarrassed about the intimate nature of the procedure, especially colonoscopies. Another cause often stems from the fear of what the procedure may reveal. The potential diagnosis of a serious condition can weigh heavily on one’s mind.

Understanding these root causes of anxiety can be the first step in managing it effectively.

How to Ease Anxiety Before an Endoscopy

If you are anxious about your endoscopy procedure, here’s a few ways you can put your mind at ease:

Speak to Your Consultant

One of the best ways to alleviate your fears is to speak directly with your surgeon about the procedure beforehand. They can give you a detailed walkthrough of what to expect and answer any questions you may have. For example, you can discuss options like sedation for helping with discomfort, and making arrangements for this (you will need to arrange a lift home).

Addressing your concerns with a professional can provide a sense of relief and leave you better informed about the procedure.

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

You may find it helpful to try out mindfulness and relaxation techniques to ease your anxiety. Methods like deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or even guided imagery can help you become more aware of the present moment and reduce stress. These techniques can be done shortly before the procedure to help you remain calm and focused.

Feeling anxious is a common reaction, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Book a consultation with Mr. Michael Stellakis, who can answer all your questions and provide expert guidance to ease your fears before undergoing an endoscopy.