If you are familiar with either of these terms of the title of this section, then you know neither one by itself is any fun. Coupling the two together might sound like one really bad day by any man’s definition – but having gone through both recently in the same session, I can without question tell you that it wasn’t as bad as you might think.
What is an Upper GI Endoscopy?
An “upper GI endoscopy” (sometimes known as an “EGD” or “esophagogastroduodenoscopy”) is a procedure where an endoscope (thin, flexible viewing instrument with a camera and a light source) is inserted down your throat so that the doctor can inspect your esphagus, stomach, and part of your small intestine. This test is usually done in order to spot things like tumors, ulcers, bleeding, or anything unusual. You can read a better explanation of this procedure here: Upper GI Endoscopy
What is a Sigmoidoscopy?
A “sigmoidoscopy” is somewhat similar, but goes through your anus and is used to inspect the inner portion of your rectum and large intestine. You have a flexible viewing instrument with a camera, and a light source – and up it goes where the sun doesn’t shine. This procedure is typically done to look for sources of rectal bleeding, polyps, signs of cancer, or anything unusual. Polyps can be removed during this procedure and/or tissue samples can be taken. You can read more about a sigmoidoscopy here: Sigmoidoscopy
Why on earth would I be subjected to both of these procedures at once? Luck, I suppose. I had two issues that I saw both my normal family doctor for AND my gastroenterologist for – with the appointments landing within one week of one another.
I went in to see the gastroenterologist because my problem with acid reflux was getting worse. Acid reflux is basically a bad case of heartburn in the esophagus. It feels like a knife cutting straight up the middle of your chest – and it becomes painful enough that it cannot be ignored. In the past, my gastroenterologist had prescribed me Ranitidine 150 … which is the prescription version of over-the-counter Zantac. Ranitidine worked wonders – it basically more or less instantly would stop a bad case of acid reflux in its tracks.
I started having bad heartburn (acid reflux) roughly ten years ago. I’m not sure what causes it exactly, but I know that my day job in sales management (being very stressful) contributes. I also know that things I eat and drink greatly contribute. I drink a lot of coffee (usually around four cups each morning), plus I enjoy drinking alcohol on occasion (shots of tequila with a Corona chaser are my preferred choice), and to top it all off, I really like very spicy Mexican food and Thai food. You mix all of the aforementioned together, and it adds up to job security for my gastroenterologist.