Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - Has a... - IBS Network

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Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - Has anyone had a gastroscopy before?

Kweh123 profile image

Hi all,

Long time no see!

Over the last 2 weeks I have had horrible acid reflux and heartburn. Everyday I've had pain in my chest, indigestion or acid in my throat. I'm at a point where my throat becomes so sore during the day because of damage from the acid.

I've scheduled a doctors appointment for Tuesday and I know they're probably going to lean towards diagnosing me with GERD, which apparently is linked to IBS. Whoopee.

I was wondering if anyone has had a gastroscopy (camera down their throat) before? What happened and what was your experience?

It's always been one of my biggest fears having to have that procedure done and I know I'll need to have one to have the diagnosis of GERD confirmed. I have a phobia of vomiting and I'm terrified about having a tube stuffed down my throat. Whenever I have anxiety I get incredibly nauseous to the point I think I'm going to throw up. I know I'll be laying on the table working myself up and I'm going to panic myself with thoughts that I'm going to throw up, while having a tube in my throat. I'm tempted to request being put to sleep for the procedure but I'm very underweight at the moment (7 stone at 5 ft 6) due to IBS (I think) so I'm worried I won't be able to have anaesthesia or I'll end up dying under it. But I don't want to be awake during it either....

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Thank you x

33 Replies

Hi, those who suffer with IBD will know that an NG (Nasal Gastric) tube is fairly common practice, and is probably one of the first things they put in place, when admitting you, due to a flare. That is, unless you are me. I will only allow one to be introduced, through my nose, if I have had an operation of procedure, during anaesthesia.

When I was diagnosed with esophogitis, as you say, they have to insert a tube through your nose, down the back of your throat. They spray the back of your mouth, and throat with some form of anaesthetic which, I must say, was absolutely brilliant, I didn't gag, there was no pain. In fact, it, really, was over before I realized the tube was in.

I wouldn't go so far as to say I look forward to having one put in, but I am able to at least let them try to insert it now. The doctor who puts the tube in place has probably done thousands of these, and he is sitting right in front of you, so it is in his own interests to not have you vomit or swing out, if you feel too uncomfortable with the procedure.

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to FRreedman

Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I'm glad you didn't have a bad experience. Haha that's true! I guess it's just my anxiety making me worry about these things. I wish the procedure didn't have to be so invasive. If only an ultrasound could do the same job.

denvajade profile image
denvajade in reply to Kweh123

I too have had this procedure, all good! I went off lactose completely and the reflux and pain was gone. 🤗

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to denvajade

Awesome! I'm glad to hear you are better :)

I have had many times. Take the anesthesia. You don’t even know what happened. I have ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus due to reflux I didn’t know I had. It’s called silent reflux. It’s not a bad test with anesthesia. Feel better

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to Nanny23

Thank you :) So sorry to hear that reflux has caused you damage. I hope your ulcers and esophagus heal

Nanny23 profile image
Nanny23 in reply to Kweh123

Thank you.

Nanny23 profile image
Nanny23 in reply to Kweh123

Thanks. Hope you feel better too

Hi, if your in the uk you can opt for sedation and you won't know its happened. I have emetophobia and needed one a few years ago to check for stomach polyps. They used a spray to numb my throat, gave me the sedation and next thing I knew they had finished and I can't remember a thing. The doctor may not need you to have one at all, I have gerd and was never given a gastroscopy to diagnose me.

I hope I don't need one either! But I know my grandfather was diagnosed with GERD and he had to have one. I just want it to go away as I'm sick of experiencing these symptoms. Does the sedation put you to sleep or just makes you feel out of it?

I had mine at the same time as a sygmoidoscopy. I was given the spray and straight after the sedation was given through a cannula in my hand. I remember the nurse putting in the mouth guard and the doctor moving towards me with the camera and next thing I remember was the nurse turning the trolly round for the sygmoidoscopy. You won't know or remember anything but the sedation is mild enough that you will do what they tell you even though you can hear or see anything. Recovery was about 25 minutes and you will need to rest 24 hours afterwards and have a relative or friend with you to take you home until its completely worn off.

I see :) Thanks for letting me know the details. I'm afraid of needles so I'm not going to look forward to a cannula. This whole situation is just awful! Fingers crossed I won't need one at all but if I do at least I'll be more prepared. Thanks again!

I've never had this (but someone close has). Personally I'd interrogate the docs first - what will be done if/when GERD is diagnosed? If it's to rule out something else, that's maybe fair enough. If it's so they can decide on GERD meds, what are they....and would you want them? I would prefer a natural approach to meds You can find more via Google, starting with a stomach acid test and docs tend to try to reduce acid when it usually needs to be increased.

Before they label me/you as having GERD (or not), I'd want to know more.

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to userotc

Thanks for your advice. I'll be sure to ask questions about any medications they prescribe as I'm worried about them interacting with other meds I take.

userotc profile image
userotc in reply to Kweh123

I'd at least try to do the HCl pepsin test (last of 3 in link below) so you have questions for your doctor. E.g. if my stomach acid is low, why are you prescribing PPIs to reduce it?

Good luck

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to userotc

Thank you :)

I have had this several times it is on the low side of uncomfortable but nothing to worry about not as bad as a dentist visit just relax & breath deeply

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to JimmyJackson

Thank you :)

Hi. I've had several. The first I did with only throat spray - NEVER AGAIN. I have also heard this from others. I have also done just sedative (you still gag because the gag reflux hasn't been numbed, although you aren't really with it, so at least you don't remember that much), and throat spray combined with sedative. It is quite clear to me what works best.

So, my advice to you is this: take the throat spray (it will make you feel as though you can't breathe - this is simply because you can no longer feel the back of your throat. You CAN breathe! Don't panic.) AND take the sedative that goes in through a cannula that has been put in your hand/arm. You then won't gag, and also won't be conscious of things happening/remember! Trust me, you need both. The nursing staff may try to convince you otherwise (if you take the sedative, you take up a bed afterwards for a couple of hours whilst you recover). Stay firm; go with both!

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to MrsMouseSJ

Thanks for sharing your experience with me. Why would you not have the throat spray by itself again? What was wrong with having it alone?

MrsMouseSJ profile image
MrsMouseSJ in reply to Kweh123

I think if you are a very calm person and are not at all unnerved by having a tube put down your throat and into your stomach for as long as it takes them to look around and potentially take biopsies, then you would manage fine. And some people are calm and relaxed by disposition. But I'm not that person!

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to MrsMouseSJ

Me neither!!

I agree, my experience was horrendous. Next time if there ever is one, I shall be sedated!

I had a gastroscopy earlier this year at a well known hospital in Cambridge UK.

I was very apprehensive but it was absolutely fine. You may gag a little as the tube goes down but you won’t vomit and you may feel some discomfort for a day or 2 afterwards. But you certainly won’t die during the relatively quick procedure and you can see your insides on the monitor which is interesting too. I elected not to have the numbing throat spray, but you will be offered it. My diagnosis was confirmed as GERD and I now take omeprazole daily....but my IBS hasn’t improved at all sadly.

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to Eleese

Thanks for sharing your experience with me. I'd like to see what my insides look like so I'm toying with the idea of not being put to sleep but I'll probably opt for the numbing spray. Has your GERD improved now you're on medication? I'm so sick of tasting acid in my mouth everyday and having sore throats on top of random indigestion.

My GERD is much much improved since I started taking omeprazole. I started off taking 2 doses per day but now just take 1 dose in the morning...& to be honest I have only had one or two small brief flare ups. I also took Ranitidine for several weeks but there were some safety concerns about that particular drug so I stopped taking it.

I wasn’t sedated during my procedure but it was offered.....I just decided to tough it out so I could get home un-aided asap afterwards.

My IBS continues however despite taking medication& watching my diet.

I would question there being much of a connection between GERD and IBS personally....I dont believe there is one

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to Eleese

I'm glad to hear it has improved. Yeah I see what you mean. I don't really want to spend hours in hospital in recovery afterwards as I hate hospitals.

Two of my family members have it so I assume it's another bad gene I've inherited from my family. Lots of conditions seem to be linked with IBS but I guess it's because they don't know what causes IBS so doctors just lump them together.

Eleese profile image
Eleese in reply to Kweh123

Agreed....IBS covers such a wide range of symptoms depending on the individual& has many triggers in different people. GERD is easier to diagnose& treat successfully generally speaking. Anyway good luck with your procedure...& don’t forget there will be a nurse there too and her/his job is to hold your hand throughout and talk you through it which helps you keep calm🙂

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to Eleese

Thank you :)

Your doctor might start you on a low dose ppi to see how you go so don't worry too much.


So sorry you are anxious about a gastroscopy. I have high anxiety myself and was very nervous. I also do not like anaesthetics as even with a small amount I take ages to wake and am very groggy afterwards. I took the option not to have an anaesthetic but my doctor suggested a pain killer injection so I'd feel less during the procedure. I took this and then proceeded using slow breathing only. I counted to 7 on a breath in and 7 on a breath out, keeping as still as possible. I swallowed twice during the whole procedure and my doctor said he was impressed with how calm I'd been using this method and has recommended it to others. My procedure took about 10 minutes. I'd definitely try this again if I had to have another gastroscopy as I walked out 10 minutes later after a cup of tea and drove straight home; something I couldn't have done if I'd had an anaesthetic or sedative.

Kweh123 profile image
Kweh123 in reply to Edgefield

Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I've been wondering about swallowing and if it was even possible during the procedure and if I'd freak out by not being able to do it. If I do have one I'll keep in mind about the breathing. Hopefully my anxiety won't distract me and make me freak out.

I'm still in the early stages of figuring all this out, got a gastro/colonoscopy due for tomorrow, but, get this, under general anaesthetic! The first time they gave me the normal sedation, (fentanyl!) and let me tell you, I was completely off my noggin. I didn't even know they'd tried the procedure. Didn't know what happened. I found a letter in my bag about a week later explaining that the whole thing was unsuccessful because apparently I was fighting them because the pain of the inflated colon was so severe (EMBARRASSING!). But yeah, don't worry about it, if you even know it's happening - I'd be extremely impressed!

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