Endoscopy : I’ve been referred for an... - Pernicious Anaemi...

Pernicious Anaemia Society

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I’ve been referred for an endoscopy and biopsy to find out if my Low B12 is caused by coeliac disease (I don’t think it is, but I’ve had a couple of slightly elevated blood results.

I don’t have an appointment date yet but am getting quite stressed at the idea. I’m assuming a lot of others on here have gone through this. Is it awful?

25 Replies

Well, it's not pleasant. But it's not terrible.

I've had eight or nine (two this year) and I'm getting quite good at them.

You're given a choice between an numbing throat spray or sedation. With sedation you're not quite knocked out, they keep you in for a little longer, making sure you do not try eating or drinking) after the procedure, and you cannot drive home. I always go for the throat spray, because I like to leave ASAP and I like to drive myself home)

I learned meditation techniques and I use those to relax during the procedure. The report of my last one included the comment 'Amazing response under throat spray'.

Once you're sedated (or numbed) they slide a tube down your throat. The first little bit is the worst, with lots of gagging. Once it's down you don't really feel much at all.

They will take several photos of various areas of your stomach and duodenum and take small biopsy samples for later examination. It's quite a good way of determining the cause of a B12 deficiency because it'll spot coeliacs as well as H. pylori infection and autoimmune gastritis (the background cause of PA).

The whole thing shouldn't take more than 20 minutes and there are no lasting effects.

Any other questions, feel free to ask.

Cinders70 in reply to fbirder

Thanks @fbirder

FoggymeAdministrator in reply to Cinders70

Just to add to what fbirder says...I never have sedation because I want to be able to talk to the doctor after he's finished the procedure and not all of them come to speak to you afterwards when you're more awake. And escape from the hospital as quickly as I can 😉.

Agree...the first bit is a little uncomfortable (but not much if you can swallow the tube quickly) but after that...not so much and it's over very quickly.

Good luck.

Cinders70 in reply to Foggyme

Thank you! @Foggyme

I have had two a long time ago and for both I had sedation. I didn't know anything.

Like you, I was nervous but need not have been.

Cinders70 in reply to cocoa

That’s a relief to hear @cocoa Thanks.

Make sure you eat plenty of gluten .

My daughter had it. Sge chises to have sedation and only remembers being told to swallow and she was doing well. She said a slight sore throat after.

My mum had it . She had had loads of test up and down. She didnt have sedation and said it wasnt for long but would consider sedation If needed again. She didnt have any side effects though.

Good point on eating lots of gluten.


If you're in UK, might be worth reading this.

NICE guidelines Coeliac Disease


Thank you. Good info to have.

If you can face it , just take the throat spray , not the sedation . I think that greater care is taken with the procedure if you are completely awake . I just had the spray . It’s certainly not terrible . But you will gag a bit when the tube is first inserted , then when it’s removed . Other wise the procedure is completely pain-free . 👍


I have the pleasure next week both endoscopy and gastroscopy. Not something anyone particularly looks forward too, but personally I would like answers to my B12 deficit.

Everything so far except B12 has come back normal including IF and urea breath test, but I am struggling to manage symptoms with alternate day injections and 5 weeks till I have neuro follow up after MRI's.

You'll be alright, worst part is drinking the muck they give you to clear your tubes 😀

Don't stress, they will look after you

Cinders70 in reply to Bing67

Yes, I do really want to know what is causing my low b12. I think they have only asked for it because I’ve had a couple of slightly elevated coeliac blood tests though.

The second blood test was only just above the threshold so I’m really hoping it’s not that!

I have had several gastroscopies and frankly found it most comfortable to have sedation. Are you sure that they are not checking for colitis at the other end? If the latter, ask for a smaller probe which is much more comfortable and sedation is not necessary.

Cinders70 in reply to Retteacher

Hi, thanks for the info.

I’m just getting an endoscopy to check for possible coeliac.

Hi Cinders. I’ve just had my seventh colonoscopy and I’ve had three endoscopies too. They are the GI specialists go to tests as they reveal far more about what is going on in the accessible parts of your gut than anything else. Whether they are awful or not depends on whether you take the sedation and how good the examining professional is. For an endoscopy swallowing the camera, please take whatever sedation they offer and let them numb the back of your throat, then it will be uncomfortable rather than actively awful. You will have a sore throat for a couple of days. I have had two without and one with sedation, the after effects of sedation are worth it I promise. You will need someone to drive you home afterwards.

I have just had my first colonoscopy without sedation . I was heavily lent on to take gas and air instead . I am sure this is because it was a Saturday afternoon and they didn’t want to have me hanging around for a couple of hours afterwards ,recovering. Yes I was out of the place much quicker but lack of sedation meant I had no painkiller either and the gas an air did not really help the discomfort. In my confusion about trying to take a responsible choice and help out staff working on a Saturday, I forgot that the gas and air they were offering was nitrous oxide which is really bad for your B12 levels. I should have taken the sedation as it makes it all easier to cope with and the painkiller would have meant I got a good night’s sleep even with all the air rumbling through my gut .

Cinders70 in reply to Frogit

Gosh, I can’t believe they gave you nitrous oxide! Has it made you feel more unwell?

Frogit in reply to Cinders70

not feeling too good today, but it usually takes me a week to recover from the colonoscopy anyway.x

Cinders70 in reply to Frogit

Hope you feel better soon!

Hi Cinders, I agree with Frogit above - take the sedation, especially if you're nervous and especially if it's your first time. I went in unprepared and was put under pressure to not have the sedation in order that they could clear me out of the ward quicker - but then was too upset by the tube going down the throat for them to do a thorough job (to put this into context, I gave birth 3 times without any pain medication whatsoever, I'm not someone who jumps on whatever is on offer). Good luck with it!

I’ve just received an appointment for an ultrasound, so really confused now!

jox1 in reply to Cinders70

ah - that's a lot easier but won't tell anything about the state of villi. Just fyi as some have said sedation with gastroscopy is better. But there's a lot of variability in people's experiences here which makes me think different regions are using different drugs. For me I had throat spray and fentonyl as a sedative. I was fully conscious and coordinated with the sedative but everything slipped down the throat a treat. There was no side throat afterwards either so for me the experience was totally pain free- and the consultant operator was amusing and pleasant as well! Can't say the same about the colonoscopy though.... Good luck

Cinders70 in reply to jox1

Thanks @jox1 I chased up with the GP and have been told the consultant has asked for both an ultrasound and an endoscopy. Still waiting for a date for the endoscopy, I’m not sure if they are doing them during Covid or not.

Hi Cinders70,

I had top and bottom done at same time under sedation. I can remember them saying they were going to insert something in my throat, but nothing else until I suddenly awoke and apologised for snoring. They had just finished. The nurse told me that the sedative they used had a side effect of erasing any memory of the procedure. Well worth it I thought.

Cinders70 in reply to Budsa

I’ve had general sedation for having my wisdom teeth removed, twice. Sounds like the way to go, I can’t remember anything about the procedure, only getting out of the chair and walking out.

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