Endoscopy Before Hepatitis C Treatment
Getting an endoscopy is practically routine for us with hep C. Your doctor may order one every couple of years. It gives them a general picture of your gut health and helps to look for specific problems too. It is one of many tools doctors use to help evaluate if you have any scarring on your liver. One of the things it can reveal is esophageal or stomach varices. Letting your doc take a peek is part of the pre-treatment prep.
It's show-and-tell time for your upper gastrointestinal tract! Follow your doctor's instructions to the letter for a smooth sailing scope.
Preparing for an endoscopy
This begins with a period of a liquid diet only. It can start 24 hours before your endo. After that, a prescription or over the counter powder will be mixed to make an icky cold beverage. Chug it down and remember that many consider it to be the worst part of the whole thing.
What to expect
After drinking all the liquid, your stomach feels like a balloon. Your belly button may become an outie. Try and walk to help get things moving. Stay close to the bathroom!! You may need to make a run for it, if you get my drift.
Hopefully you get an early one, because you will be fasting and may also feel faint. Taking your medical history and prescription information makes it easier to fill out forms. Be sure and leave valuables, like jewelry, at home. Have someone there to hold your wallet. Most clinics like for your ride to stay close by. You will definitely need a ride home.
The medical staff keeps you pretty busy once you get back. They put you in a hospital gown and start an IV. Ask for a warm blanket for comfort. Try and take long slow deep breaths to help remain calm while you're waiting.
Soon you'll be wheeled into the procedure room. There will be someone to administer a light anesthesia through your IV. The room is usually brightly lit and cheerful. Remember, the staff have done this dozens of times. It's what they do all day. They have everything under control. Once you are sound asleep, they put a scope with a camera on the end of it into your mouth and down your throat. The light on the end helps the doctor to see the surface of your esophagus and stomach. They may take pictures.
Before you know it, you're fully dressed and sitting in a wheelchair with a cup of juice. Your ride will probably be invited back while the doctor describes what they saw. It may be best to eat soft foods for a bit and be ready for a nap. Your doctor has a whole new view of your gut health, and you have a day off to relax and recover from your endoscopy.
You can count one more thing off of your pre-hep C treatment checklist.
Have you been diagnosed with cirrhosis?