A colonoscopy is a test to look inside your colon. It is done by a gastroenterologist, a doctor trained in looking at the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
The main tool used to look inside the colon is a colonoscope. A colonoscope is a long, thin (about the width of your little finger), flexible tube with a tiny camera and a light on the end. It is long enough to look at all of the large bowel and even the lower part of the small intestine.
A colonoscopy is the main way to check for diseases of the colon, such as colitis or cancer, and to remove colon polyps.
A polyp is a mushroom-like growth on the inside wall of the colon or rectum.
Polyps grow slowly over many years.
Some polyps become cancerous, and others do not.
An upper GI endoscopy is a test your doctor does to see inside part of your digestive system.
An upper GI endoscopy is done by a gastroenterologist, who has special training. An upper GI endoscopy can be done in a hospital or an outpatient office. Your doctor will look at the inside of your esophagus — the tube that links your stomach and your mouth — your stomach and the start of your small intestine.
An upper GI endoscopy can be helpful in finding health problems or figuring out the reason you are having certain symptoms, like trouble or pain when swallowing, pain in the stomach, or bleeding. In many cases, an upper GI endoscopy is a better test than X-rays, since the doctor is able to see more clearly.
An upper GI endoscopy uses a long, thin (about the width of your little finger), flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end, called an endoscope. This tube and camera gives your doctor a clear view inside your body.
Video Capsule Endoscopy
Small bowel capsule endoscopy is a way for your doctor to see inside part of your digestive system. A small bowel capsule endoscopy looks at the lining of the small intestine.
Unlike a traditional endoscopic exam, which uses a camera at the end of a thin, flexible tube (learn more about upper GI endoscopy tests), capsule endoscopy uses a camera inside a pill-like capsule.
You will swallow the capsule at your doctor’s office and be given all the information you need for the test.
The capsule is the size of a large pill — just over 1-inch long and less than ½-inch wide. Once swallowed, it travels through the digestive system, sending images to a device worn around your waist that saves them.
The capsule will not be absorbed or digested, but it will move through your digestive system and leave through a bowel movement. You may or may not see it in the toilet bowl. You do not need to retrieve or return the capsule to your doctor. Each capsule is designed for a single use and will not harm the environment or your household plumbing.
You will be awake and active during this test as the capsule moves through your digestive system, though you will not feel it.