Has anyone here had an endoscopy done? - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Has anyone here had an endoscopy done?


Hi everyone. I made a post a few weeks ago about going to A&E with abdominal pain. I had blood tests done at the time which revealed high liver enzymes. I went to an outpatient appointment yesterday where I spoke to a consultant for about 10 minutes. He asked a few questions and sent me for another blood test. He has given me a prescription for omeprazole which is a drug that reduces gastric acid production. He is also sending me for a "camera" exam which apparently means an endoscopy. I have never had one of these before, though I am aware of what they are. The appointment for that is for next month. I am nervous as this will be the most invasive procedure I've had done so far. Do you need to be sedated before having it done? How painful is it?

35 Replies

Yes this is a standard procedure with liver disease. Usually to look for varicose veins on the esophagus.

I've had a number of these in the past and although not painfull very uncomfortable. If you can control your gag reflex it helps a lot. I would recommend sedation. tried with and without and without was very unpleasant.

Hi, i had one done to check for bleeding ; i too am on omeprazole re gastritis; i have to be honest; its vile; but it is very quick; yes, its not painful, but as has been said very uncomfortable; i tried to almost pull at the camera thing to get it out and they had to sort of hold me down! i was awake; had the so called sedation; didnt seem to make any difference; But, is important you have this done, so it seems; so just bite the bullet; i've had worse procedures and if i can go through it then so can anyone! Remember, it is very quick. Basically a couple minutes from what i recall, if that.

RodeoJoe in reply to susieanna

In general it's 10 to 15 minutes. What you might be describing as quick may well be due to the sedation, definitely worth having.

susieanna in reply to RodeoJoe

Oh, perhaps you are right; it only literally seemed a couple minutes.

Definitely recommend having the sedation and the throat spray. Whilst it doesn't knock you out completely if you can remain calm, have the sedation you shouldn't really be aware of the procedure and certainly shouldn't remember it afterwards. The only thing with sedation is you will need to 'sleep off' the sedation for a couple of hours in the hospital and you can only go home if there is someone with you for next 24 hours. You can't drive or operate machinery in that period.

Little tip from hubby who has had multiple endoscopies - hold your breath whilst they put the throat spray in and this avoids triggering your gag reflex and makes the procedure a whole lot more comfortable.

All the best,


susieanna in reply to AyrshireK

Blimey, i certainly wont forget it; not meaning to scare anyone! maybe it was just the experience that i had.

Well the sedation always knocks me for 6 , as seemingly does everyone else in the recovery area. Maybe my hosp gives a slightly bigger dose. I have a lovely sleep , wake up , us usually before everyone else . Hang around for a little while , have a cup of tea and a biscuit ( think its really to see how your throat is) get given a written report of the results, with pictures, very interesting , then call my hubby to take me home. I have no issues with these at all , they have found several things , gastritis and candidasis on my first one , all sorted now, on the second one the start of hiatus hernia, that is sorted too now. I have no signs of varices at all . If you have to get banded it can be rather uncomfortable for a few days I am lead to believe.

susieanna in reply to Bermuda1

You were given a written report with pictures even; thats interesting.

Bermuda1 in reply to susieanna

Yes both times, and allowed to ask questions , they were full colour pics. It was interesting as they could explain to me the things they found and how they looked so that's was how they knew.

bobbycat in reply to Bermuda1

Yes ....found it hard to eat solid food for two weeks...but you get used to this after each lot of banding....

Good morning,

Before my liver failure / transplant I was diagnosed with Barrets oesophagus which is a change in the cells lining the oesophagus. This meant regular endoscopies. At first I tried with no sedation, not to be recommended. Since then I've had quite a few and I ask for the maximum intravenous sedation available. That way its almost like it never happened.

Bottom line - you have nothing to worry about.

As for a colonoscopy - now that's another story for another day !


redeyes2 in reply to LAJ123

I had my first one and I do not remember anything. They did it in the hospital under full sedation. Dr said it was to check for varices and bleeding. I didn't have that; diagnosis for me is also Barretts esophugus. He also informed me I have ulcers not caused by h pyloria (sp?). Needless to say even though the test was like it never happened... until a week later when I got all the news about this and was put on imeprazole. I swear I had no reflux and after taking it two weeks I started getting it almost everyday. They gave me a printout of a diet to follow... which other than not eating tomatoes, I pretty much was already doing. They never asked or told me about sedation prior til that morning.

Jim, just curious you said before your liver transplant, you got the Barretts. Did getting new liver change that or taking an anti-reflux med help or is it something that stays on and on? Thanks Red

i had one done with biopsies a month ago. I had the throat spray and sedation. I've had a few and not remembered the procedure to be honest. Had a sore throat that day and day after. Go for sedation though much better. Good luck 🍀 pls don't worry. Im also on the same drug for acid

sirgregor, it seems most people don't remember the procedure even; so you should be fine; i don't know what happened re myself and why i recall it so well, maybe it wasn't done all that great/ not proper care taken. Try not to worry anyway; there are worse things to have done.

Just had endoscopy and colonoscopy done last week. Throat spray and IV drip sedative were given. I felt wide awake; next thing I knew my daughter and granddaughter were in recovery room with me. The procedure was very quick and I never experienced any discomfort - no sore throat or anything. Relieved it's all over.

I have had three in three months due to a bleed in July. I remember most of procedure each time and no it wasnt pleasant as it takes a while to have them banded..BUT rather these any day than have a bleed.....I am just thankful for them....

I have had a couple done awake as the doctor said this would give them the best results. I had the throat spray though - I think that is standard whether you have sedation or not.

As other people have said, its not a pleasant experience. However one of the nurses gave me a tip that I've never forgotten, which I found so helpful and I always tell people even though its not very lady-like, so hear goes...

You are going to burp/belch because of the air pumped in, so lie back (well prob on your side) and just let it happen as this will make it easier. I have to say its the best piece of advice I've ever had so I like to share!

All the best x

I'll be honest, don't believe in beating round the bush, for me I find it very uncomfortable and dread it when I know I'm about to have one.

The throat spray is quite good but I'd highly recommend you ask for sedation. I've had it with both. Without sedation I find it a very traumatic experience. The initial discomfort is the gag reflex however this only lasts a short time, once the camera has passed a certain point I find I stop gagging. It's then for me just a very uncomfortable feeling as the camera is moved further in but that is bareable, just. During the procedure they may need to pump air into you through the tube, this is the next bit I find traumatic, it causes me to belch uncontrollably and in doing so often bring up some sick etc. This can be very unpleasant as it's difficult for you to clear your mouth/throat.

The procedure as a whole doesn't last very long but it can feel like forever when you're actually there.

Tell the staff you are nervous about the procedure, you should be offered the choice of sedation but if not ask. When sedated it is a lot better. I can remember laying down and the procedure about to start but that's it.

I'm sorry if I've been a bit frank here but I'd rather tell you how it is. Although please remember this is just my experience. We are all different and can deal with things differently.

I hope it all goes well for you

redeyes2 in reply to Identity75

OMG I just cant imagine why they would do it without sedation, that is awful. I am so happy mine just went ahead and included it. Sorry for all that had to go thru that. Red

Oh and on a slight side note I was suffering terribly with acid reflux etc until my gastro put me on omeprazole. This has worked wonders for me. I'd go as far to say I don't have any acid reflux now.


I am on omeprazole- rarely experience any acid reflux now. I have also had several endoscopies. I definitely recommend sedation. I tried without and they gave me sedation anyway as I was struggling. With sedation it is all over very quick. You get your throat sprayed, you lie on your side and sedation is administered and hey presto! next thing you know, you are in the recovery room. The first time it took me a week to fully shake off the effects of the sedative; I told my gastro and I think they reduced the amount of sedation they gave me next time; now I recover usually fairly quickly. Without banding, I was fine straightaway. If they have to band, I find the wind gets trapped in me and I end up taking painkillers to get over the pain (I rarely take painkillers).

As you can see, each person has a different response, which is in part no doubt due to the person carrying out the procedure and also your level of pain tolerance. I just try to relax and this works for me along with the sedation. The waiting is the worst part, so bring something along that relaxes you (music?), just in case you have to wait. All the very best- it is a very quick procedure (even with banding).

Hi I have had several Endoscopy's and as everyone else has mentioned - they are standard procedure and not no pleasant - or that's what I have found anyway, some people are lucky enough not to feel a thing...I have had 15-18 endoscopy's now and had varicial banding on all bar one, 28 varicies banded now... God for the sedation, and try not to panic, they are very calming and will have it done within 10-15 mins! expect to burp/be a bit windy if you get my drift esp if they put a bit of air into your gullet.

Good Luck xx

It's some years since I had an endoscopy (ERCP), so the proceduyre may have changed / improved. It still looks like most people had pretty much the same experience as me and regard it as unpleasant at best. Personally I would do pretty much anything to avoid having another. A colonoscopy however, I find much more tolerable and undergo it without sedation but ask for the relaxant (buscopan I think it is). If only you didn't have to drink all that prep though ...

I had this done with light sedation and throat spray to numb.I thought it was only minutes but it was 20mins.didn't feel a thing and they took polyps out and went down to small bowel . please don't be scared I was amazed how well I coped. xx

I would like to thank everyone who has responded. I still have some concerns about the procedure. I am worried about the sedation. When I think of sedation I assume that to mean being given a general anesthetic and being unconscious. Is that not what it is? I'm very worried about waking up feeling disoriented and not knowing where I am or what's going on. I have read that sedation often causes short-term memory loss. Is the memory loss strictly short-term? I honestly don't know if that's better than being conscious during the procedure. Also, who usually performs the endoscopy? Is it a nurse, doctor or a consultant? I am worried that I'll get a trainee nurse who has never done an endoscopy before, which will make it even more stressful. Is it likely that whoever is doing it will have another doctor or nurse supervising them in case anything goes wrong?

It was a consultant who did mine,and it was diazepam and another drug.I've had the sedation twice as I also had colonoscopy.your aware but not if that makes sense.the consultant spoke to me right after I wasn't woozy at all.its quick acting sedation .I have a bad anxiety disorder and get so worked up and scared.I also had tube up nose no sedation just throat spray before I got tonsils out and didn't feel a thing.a nurse is by your side and am sure she stays with you they put a mouth guard in and as they Nunb the throat I didn't feel tube or gag or anything.please don't be scared,I know we are all different but tell nurse you are scared and just close your eyes and I hope you are like me and aren't aware.but you are back to normal quick.hope this helps and wish you good luck xxxx

Your procedure will be carried out by a doctor or consultant - they don't let students loose on patients when it's a procedure like this.

The sedation is usually a mix of fentanyl and medazolam and is very quick acting. My hubby has had several endoscopies and yes he dreads it each time BUT after learning the trick about holding his breath when they do the throat spray he hasn't had a single failed procedure - it hasn't triggered his gag reflex and doctor has been able to pass the scope without issue, the more relaxed you can be then the better the sedation works. When they put the bite block thing in his mouth hubby closes his eyes and he reports that although you're not fully unconcious the procedure takes place while you are in a sort of semi-sleep like state. At Edinburgh i've been allowed to sit by hubbies side until he goes through for his procedure and he is back literally within 10 minutes (he would swear he's been away longer but it is really that quick). He usually seems a bit groggy and gets wheeled back, tells me he loves me many times then sleeps the sedation off for a couple of hours. He then gets a bite to eat (couple of yoghurts normally) and a drink to make sure there is no swallowing issue and then discharged. He then normally sleeps some more later.

Easy for me to say but do try not to worry or panic, yep is isn't pleasant and some folks tolerate it much better than others but the calmer you can be the easier the procedure is and the better the sedation works.

You'll be back after it telling us it wasn't so bad.

All the best, Katie x

It's not a general anesthetic. The first time I had it the doctor explained it as something similar, please excuse the phrasing, to the date rape drug. Sorry. I don't believe it knocks you out but just calms and relaxes you and for me anyway left me with no memory of the procedure. I can remember laying on the table and having the guard put in my mouth, looking at the clock on the wall and counting the seconds thinking to myself this isn't working and then the next thing was back on the ward. My advice is have the sedation, it'll be a lot easier on you.

Secondly it will be a doctor or consultant that carries out the procedure. Normally with two or three nurses assisting. I've always had a nurse at my head throughout that seems to solely be there to comfort you and look out for you. They have always been superb with me and try their upmost to calm my fears.

Try not to worry.

You always fear the unknown I did on my second on it was a double play colonoscopy and endoscopy with the mild sedative I was done in an hour no pain a little sore throat and a new med ..protonics.. they are checking for swollen veins caused by Portal Hypertension if they see any they put a band on them I had 2 bands the second time again no pain you will learn a lot from these procedures and dry consultations... I have a strong feeling everything is going to be all right Prayers and Best wishes sent Have courage...

Have to be honest had several with and without sedation, without you get a freeze spray to back of throat, never enjoyed it just gag away and it will be over before you know it.

same as rodeojoe chose sedation, no problem at al , you shut your eyes and when you open then in a few minutes, presto its done, I am on Lanzoprazole , now going on abbout 15 year and never had a problem since.

Hi,I've had 3 endoscopies now and due another in 4 weeks,the problem with sedation is that they keep you there for a few hours which I don't want so tried with the spray,although I gag at the start (slightly)if you swallow when they say you actually make the whole procedure much easier as you help the probe pass down . Relaxing is the key and try to listen to the nurse holding your hand or shoulder as it helps.the actual procedure itself is over in 5 mins so keep thinking that. Best of luck but you don't need it

Huw x

Hey, I have had Cameras both ends :( You can have sadation & I would opt for this, I have had one without & never would again! The next time I had a sadation much better! you have to strave yourself for so many hours before, but you get a letter expaining all that to you. you have a canlula put in for the the sadation & then you are called in, you lay on your left side Then they start, the sadtion makes you feel relexed & sleepy, After they take you to recovery, when you are ok,they give you a drink & a sandwich. Then you get changed & they give you a report of anything they found! & a plan of action, It is not plesent but you will be ok :) I have had a few now so am kind of used to it! Try not to worry to much, know this is hard! once the sadtion kicks in you won"t feel anything much! You might have a sore thorat for a few days! but apart from that nothing. everything will be expalined to you. Good luck, I hope it goes ok foryou.

Hi I'm going into Huddersfield infirmary tomorrow for mine done I'm on fentanyl patches will they effect the procedure

AyrshireK in reply to Guyb

No idea, but you will be asked what medications you are currently on so make sure you tell them - take a note with all your current doses and meds. The sedation is normally midazolam and fentanyl so that might impact on what level of sedation they can offer you.

All the best with it.


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