Colonoscopy is a diagnostic test that allows your gastroenterologist to see inside your colon. It may be requested if: you’ve ongoing diarrhoea, your bowel movements have changed, you’ve stomach pains or, if you’re bleeding or passing mucus from your back passage.
A colonoscope is a long, very thin and flexible telescopic camera. A colonoscopy procedure is usually performed in the hospital outpatient department and takes up to an hour. During the colonoscopy, photographs and samples of the cells, called biopsies, of the inside of the large bowel can be taken.
It can be used to look at the lining of your bowel for abnormalities. It’s the most effective way to diagnose bowel cancer and is used as part of bowel cancer screening. It can also see if there are any polyps (small growths usually non-cancerous) in your bowel and confirm conditions such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
A gastroscopy, also known as an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, is a day case procedure performed under local anaesthetic that’s used to look at organs in the upper GI tract including your oesophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine (duodenum).
It uses a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope with a light and a camera at one end that’s inserted through your mouth. The camera sends images of the inside of your organs to a monitor for your gastroenterologist to see if there are any abnormalities present.
Patients often have a gastroscopy to investigate indigestion, stomach pain and difficulty swallowing.
A gastroscopy can diagnose conditions such as stomach ulcers or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and also treat disorders including: bleeding ulcers, oesophagus blockages, polyps or small cancerous tumours.
Lactose intolerance quick test
Here at Duchy Hospital we can also perform a lactose intolerance quick test during a gastroscopy to detect lactose intolerance. It’s a simple test, based on the activity of the lactase enzyme in a biopsy specimen and results are available within 20 minutes. It allows your gastroenterologist to rule out lactose intolerance in IBS and dyspepsia and assess the degree of lactase deficiency in coeliac disease.
A traditional endoscopy uses a long, thin, flexible tube with a light and camera at one end, called an endoscope. It allows your consultant to see inside the organs in your body.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is used to look inside your rectum and the lower part of your bowel. It uses a thin, flexible, tube-like telescope, called a sigmoidoscope, which is carefully inserted into your back passage. It’s a quick procedure performed on an outpatient basis.
The examination is recommended if you’ve changes in bowel movements or you’re suffering from rectal pain. It aims to find out the cause of your symptoms and check for any inflammation, early signs of cancer and polyps. Biopsies can also be taken, polyps can be removed and haemorrhoids can be treated during a flexible sigmoidoscopy.