Endoscopy: I have one on Friday. I have... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust

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Mamatembo profile image

I have one on Friday. I have not yet been diagnosed with liver disease, but I'm pretty sure I have it. (Ex heavy drinker with nausea, fatigue, brain fog, weakness)

I'm worried about general anesthesia and my liver.

If you have cirrhosis, do you get anesthesia for endoscopies? Do you have any reactions?

Also, general questions. Will they definitely see if I have varices? Is it painful? Any tips on food after? Any questions I should ask?

15 Replies

Hi mamatembo. You will probably be offered a local anesthetic, rather than a general,which will relax you completely so you won't feel any pain you may even drop off to sleep. You will need to have someone with you to drive you home afterwards as you may feel drowsy for a while. Nothing to worry about it's a straightforward procedure.

Best wishes


The endscopy is done either with just a throat spray to numb the back of your throat or a sedation. If you opt for the sedation (which is strongly recommended) you will need to remain at the hospital for a couple of hours afterwards and you will need someone to pick you up, drive you and stay with you for 24 hours afterwards.

The endoscopy itself whilst uncomfortable shouldn't cause you any pain. If you have sedation you should be less aware of the situation and shouldn't remember it. Sometimes some folks get a little bruised throat afterwards. If it is just an endoscopy you are usually able to eat fairly normally afterwards (soft food for first day perhaps).

If you have varices, then they will see them on endoscopy and it depends what your hospital does about them - some band straight away, others adopt a watch and see and I guess it depends on the severity of them. My hubby had a massive variceal bleed and required emergency banding (7 bands to stop bleeding). Over the next two years he was going for scopes every few weeks and had a total of 42 varices banded, finally eradicating them.

If you have banding then you can expect to be sore, especially on eating for up to 7 days afterwards. Even soft food and drink passing the banded varices can be sore but you need to persist in eating even with the discomfort.

After banding my hubby would have yoghurt, soft boiled/scrambled eggs, porridge, rice pudding, mash potato with things like soft fish. Once the discomfort starts to ease off then normal food would start to be added.

Hubby was due his annual endoscopy today but it obviously hasn't happened due to covid. He wasn't looking forward to it and has had some real moments going for his, he learned though that when they go to spray your throat ask them to wait whilst you hold your breath - holding your breath stops the spray from activating your gag reflex. Once that's done, hubby gets the sedation and says he just shuts his eyes and lets them get on with it. The procedure takes all of 5 minutes (if that) so don't panic about it. The calmer you can be, the better effect you get from sedation and before you know it, you are waking up and it's all by with.

All the best, Katie

I would check if they will sedate you or just use the throat spray only. My preference and only way is sedation (sleep). I have one every year, although delayed due to covid. Also ask when they have finished what they actually did. I had a surprise with one doc, he took two biopsies from the stomach area (No pain, I couldn't feel anything, felt absolutely fine) but they didn't tell me and I ate a curry that same evening. It was very painful for a good few days.

Trust1 profile image


Here is the NHS page on gastroscopy, if you would like a general chat regarding them do call the nurse led helpline at the Trust:


I had both the throat spray and sedation and really didn’t feel a thing! The funniest thing was when they were putting the brace in to keep my mouth open, I kept getting it wrong🤣

They will only give you sedation if you have someone to drive you home and be with you or if you are an inpatient. I am sure it will go well👍


Thanks everyone. They said I need to bring someone to drive me home as I will be put under. But I'm not sure what they will use for that.

I'll definitely try some ice cream after.

I'm pretty nervous. I wish I could go now. I hate anticipation.

AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to Mamatembo

It will be sedation (normally medazolam and fentanyl) rather than a general anaesthetic. You shouldn't be aware of or remember much about the procedure.

Best wishes, Katie

Oh, they also said they will be doing a biopsy. Thanks for the heads up!

Deansy profile image
Deansy in reply to Mamatembo

hi my wife had it done couple times she was bit sore she said it was just like a sore throat she had liver failure and she doing fine now just please stick to what nurse says take somone with you but thats just a lift you will be fine prayers are with you

Hi no no anesthetic they spray something that helps a bit wife had a few done without any problems never had any kind of reaction

Yes they will definitely see any varices or any other possible problems like hiatus hernias that kind of thing

From what the wife said not painfull at all just uncofatable uncofatable uncofatable uncofatable

And eat anything you want it goes down your wind pipe not down your food tract

Wish you well


AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to X19Dave

If you have varices these are in your oesophagus a.k.a. gullet a.k.a food tract and that is where the camera goes too (not down your wind pipe) so generally the advice (especially post banding) is soft food for a few days.


Ayrshire yes sorry you are correct it does go down the food tract not the wind pipe typing without thinking also you would not see a hiatus hernia down the wind pipe

But my wife never had any food issues afterwards and from memory which is very bad she was not told of any food restrictions but that probabilly depends on who and where it is done but did not have any banding done


AyrshireK profile image
AyrshireK in reply to X19Dave

Definitely soft food implications after banding, hubby has had 42 varices banded and at his worst he couldn't eat without pain for 8 days plus.

:) Katie

Hi very sorry for him hope he is now well we were lucky my wife did not need it done and with all the other problems she had she was very lucky not to have them


I had my endoscopy. Everything went perfectly. They were running behind schedule so I had to wait a long time. The anxiety during the wait was the worst part.

I have no pain and have eaten a few things.

Nothing was found but they did take some biopsies and I'll get those results soon.

Thanks for all of your support. I'm not from the UK but I like coming here because you guys are so supportive.

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