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HF 4330

Getting Ready for Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Your doctor wants you to have an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (EGD). This handout will tell you about the test and how to prepare for it.

What is an upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy?

This test looks at your esophagus (food tube), stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. A doctor will pass a viewing tube through your mouth into the stomach. This test will help find the cause of abdominal pain, heartburn, and trouble with swallowing or bleeding. An EGD is better at finding many problems in the upper GI tract than an X-ray.

During the test the doctor can also take a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) to send to the lab if we need to look at an area more closely. Doctors take biopsies for many reasons and you will not be able to feel this part of the test.

1 Week Before Procedure

  • Arrange for an adult to drive you home. You will not be able to drive or return to work after your procedure.

  • You may take a cab or bus only if you have an adult who can go with you.

Health Changes

Tell us about any major health changes, illnesses, or recent hospital stays.

Blood Thinning Medicine

You may need to stop or adjust your blood thinning medicine before your procedure. You must call the doctor who prescribes the medicine to discuss this or we may have to reschedule your visit.

Diabetic Medicines

You may need to stop or adjust your diabetes medicine and/or blood sugar testing while you prep. You must call the doctor who prescribes the medicine to discuss this or we may need to reschedule your visit.

Day of the Endoscopy

No solid food, milk, or dairy products until after your test.
You may drink clear liquids until 4 hours before you arrive (i.e., water, apple juice, soda, Gatorade®). Avoid red liquids.


  • Do not take liquid antacids before your test.

  • Take your normal medicines with a small sip of clear liquid up to 1 hour before you arrive.

What to Bring

  • CPAP or BiPAP and any inhalers that you use

  • Eyeglass or contact lens case, denture cup

  • Wear comfortable clothing

  • Do not bring valuables, money, or jewelry

What to Expect

  • Your visit will last about 2 -3 hours, from the time you check in until the time you can leave.

  • It is up to you if your driver stays in our waiting room or in your private prep and recovery room where private medical information will be discussed.

  • Before the procedure, the doctor will talk with you, answer questions, and ask you to sign a consent form.

  • A nurse will place an IV.

  • You will get medicines to help you relax and keep you comfortable.

  • When you are comfortable, we will place the scope into your mouth and start the exam. The scope will not restrict your breathing and you should not have any pain. The test will take 15 – 30 minutes.

  • After your procedure, your doctor will talk with you about the results and give you a report. We strongly suggest that you have your driver wait in your private room to hear the results with you.

  • You will feel sleepy when you leave.

  • Plan to spend the day resting at home. You cannot drive or return to work due to the sedation medicines. Most patients can return to their normal routine the next day.

  • If you have biopsies taken or polyps removed, you can expect to get lab results 1-2 weeks after your procedure, either by phone or by mail.

Follow the instructions in your cover letter. If you are running late, call us to let us know. If you are over 30 minutes late, we may have to reschedule. We do our best to stay on time.

After the Test

You may have a mild sore throat. Salt-water gargles should help. For the rest of the day:

  • Do not return to work.

  • Do not drive.

  • Do not use heavy machinery.

  • Do not make any important decisions.

  • Plan to rest.

  • Do not drink alcohol.

You should be able to resume your normal diet and daily tasks the day after your test.

You may have some gas pains from the air used to distend your stomach. When you belch you will expel the air and relieve any gas pains.

Who to Call

GI Procedure Clinic
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI
(608) 263-8097 or (800) 323-8942

Digestive Health Center
750 University Row
Madison, WI
(608) 890-5010

Meriter Hospital
202 S. Park Street
Madison, WI
(608) 417-6389

If you need help finding a way to get to and from your visit, contact Patient Resources at 608-821-4144.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.