How is the test done?

Procedure of the investigationBefore any instrumental gastrointestinal examination, please inform your doctor about the use of possible "blood thinning" products (e.g. Aspirin protect, Astrix, Plavix, Clopidogrel, Syncumar, Warfarin), as histological sampling is not always allowed when taking these products due to the risk of subsequent bleeding complications!

Gastroscopy (gastroscopy): you must come to the examination on an empty stomach (no food for at least 6 hours before the examination). The removable denture must be removed before the examination. At the beginning of the examination, an anaesthetic spray is sprayed into the throat to reduce the feeling of nausea. The examination is typically performed in the left lateral position. The patient is given a mouthpiece with an instrument protector to bite on and hold in the mouth throughout the examination.

Through the tube, the examining doctor guides the endoscope through the pharynx into the oesophagus. It is very helpful if the patient flattens the tongue and holds it towards the lower palate. The instrument at the pharynx is more easily passed down the oesophagus if the patient imitates a swallowing motion at the doctor's request. Once the endoscope is in the oesophagus, everything should be allowed to flow out of the mouth. The air blown in causes a tight, full feeling, like when you drink beer or fizzy drinks. You should try to keep the air in, as it is the only way to examine the mucous membrane. A histological sample taken during gastroscopy is a painless procedure. The whole examination usually takes a few minutes, but this depends on what lesion the examining doctor finds. After the test, if an anaesthetic spray is used, you should not eat or drink for half an hour to avoid half-eating. Important: at Endomedix medical centres, gastroscopy can be performed under general anaesthesia, which completely eliminates discomfort and possible pain!

Colonoscopy (colonoscopy): only liquids (bubble-free water, tea) should be consumed one day before the test. The test requires a thorough cleansing of the colon. This can be done with bitter salts or other laxatives. Bitter laxative should be used as follows. The day before the test, in the early afternoon, 3 to 4 tablespoons of bitter salt dissolved in 2 to 3 dl of lemon tea should be drunk at the same time. Afterwards, plenty of fluids should be taken, as the bittersweet causes severe diarrhoea in the evening. In the morning of the day of the test, early in the morning, around 5 or 6 o'clock, a dose of ion exchange salt dissolved in 4 to 6 litres of water should be drunk over 1 to 1.5 hours to ensure that the colon is completely clean.

The test is performed in the supine position. Through the anus, the examining doctor inserts an endoscope with a thickness of a pinky finger into the colon. The instrument is then guided by artificial forceps up to the cecum or the last part of the small intestine, while blowing a small amount of air into the intestine to facilitate guiding the instrument and to allow the mucosa to be seen. The main part of the examination takes place when the instrument is withdrawn: the doctor then examines the mucosa of the colon in detail. It is also possible to take a histological sample and remove polyps or sources of bleeding. The time of the examination varies, usually taking between 15 and 40 minutes.

Important: at Endomedix medical centres, colonoscopies can be performed under general anaesthesia, which completely eliminates discomfort and possible pain!

Read more recommended articles on colonoscopy: before colonoscopy, colonoscopy procedure and After colonoscopy

For details on the urea breath test for Helicobacter pylori, see "How does the Helicobacter test work?" section.