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Feeling uncomfortable after a meal? Experiencing a range of issues like heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, fatigue, and/or skin rashes can be not only uncomfortable but also indicators of underlying health problems.

You’re not alone. Digestive problems are very common, and can significantly impact your daily life. 

If you’ve been battling persistent digestive woes, you might have come across the term “OGDS.” But what exactly is it, and how can it help?

What is OGDS?

OGDS stands for “Oesophago-Gastro-Duodeno-Scopy,” also known as gastroscopy or upper GI endoscopy. It is a specialised endoscopic examination that acts like a detective for your digestive system.

OGDS allows doctors to examine the inside of your upper digestive tract in just 10-15 minutes to help identify abnormalities that might be causing your digestive woes.

How Does OGDS Work?

Think of it as a tiny camera on a flexible tube taking a peek inside your gut. 

An endoscope—a flexible tube with a tiny camera—is inserted through your mouth, and guided down your throat (oesophagus), into your stomach, and to your duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).

How Can OGDS Help with Digestive Issues?

This quick and minimally invasive procedure is invaluable for diagnosing and addressing a wide range of digestive issues. 

Many symptoms people experience with digestive problems can be caused by issues in the upper GI tract. OGDS can be a valuable tool to help diagnose these issues, including:

Heartburn

Feeling burning sensation in the chest or throat? This condition is often caused by acid reflux, where stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus.

OGDS can help identify inflammation, ulcers, or hiatal hernia that may be causing the acid reflux and heartburn.

Intestinal Gas (Farts)

Experiencing excessive gas? It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, indicating issues like lactose intolerance, malabsorption, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

An OGDS can diagnose underlying causes, especially if dietary changes don’t relieve symptoms.

Bloating

Bloating is a common complaint that can result from a variety of issues, including gastritis, peptic ulcers, or delayed gastric emptying.

An OGDS can help identify the cause of persistent bloating by providing a clear view of the stomach lining and the beginning of the small intestine.

Diarrhoea

Chronic diarrhoea can be a symptom of various upper GI conditions, including infections, celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

OGDS allows for biopsies to be taken from the duodenum, which can help diagnose conditions like celiac disease or detect infections that might be causing diarrhoea.

Fatigue

Feeling constantly drained? Fatigue can be a symptom of many underlying conditions, including chronic digestive disorders that lead to malnutrition or dehydration.

An OGDS endoscopic examination can help identify problems like ulcers, gastritis, or celiac disease, which might be contributing to poor nutrient absorption and subsequent fatigue.

Skin Rashes

Skin issues like eczema or hives can result from food allergies or intolerances. Certain skin conditions, like dermatitis herpetiformis, are linked to celiac disease, an autoimmune reaction triggered by gluten consumption.

An OGDS endoscopic examination can diagnose celiac disease by taking small intestine biopsies to investigate triggers.

Important to Remember

  • OGDS is not a routine test. It’s usually only recommended if your doctor suspects there’s a problem in your upper digestive system based on your symptoms and medical history.
  • Generally safe, the procedure carries minimal risks such as sore throat, bleeding, infection, or perforation, occurring in approximately 1 out of 10,000 cases.
  • This procedure typically involves a local anaesthetic spray and may include sedation. 

Next Steps

If you are facing digestive issues and suspect an upper GI problem, consult your doctor. They can assess your symptoms to determine if OGDS is necessary for your condition, and discuss the most effective course of action to help you feel better.

*This blog post serves as informational guidance only and should not replace professional medical advice.

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Dr Loong Yik Yee

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