Lonestar Gastroenterology

What to Expect During Your Capsule Endoscopy

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What to Expect During Your Capsule Endoscopy

Diagnostic screenings are vital for determining what illness you’re dealing with, but for digestive problems, screenings may not be enough. The next step is when a capsule endoscopy may become necessary. Read on to find out what to expect.

When you complain of unidentifiable symptoms or need confirmation to determine a cause, diagnostic imaging is a common and reliable tool to help figure out what’s wrong with you. A range of screenings, including x-rays, ultrasounds, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and radioisotope scans, can help detect different illnesses.

However, when trying to figure out the cause of some digestive problems, these methods may not be effective, and more specialized options may be necessary. Capsule endoscopy is a unique way to look for different digestive tract issues, and if you need one, we can help you understand what to expect from the treatment. To help accomplish this, let’s look at what this method is, the reasons you might need to get one, and review the procedure involved.

The skilled medical team and Dr. Rajesh Mehta at LoneStar Gastroenterology can help those who live in the Austin, Texas, area and need diagnostic imaging and treatment for digestive problems.

What is a capsule endoscopy?

A capsule endoscopy is a diagnostic screening in the form of a large, vitamin-sized capsule, equipped with a camera, an emitter, and a light source. It works by being swallowed and traveling through your digestive system, taking pictures to check for abnormalities and other anomalies that may be responsible for illnesses. Both children and adults can use this procedure, but if you can’t swallow it, your provider can insert it using an endoscope (a long, thin tube).

Why would you need one?

This type of screening can help diagnose several digestive issues, including:

Gastrointestinal conditions

Illnesses like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease can be detected using this method, and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease.

Blood in your feces

Fecal bleeding can be the result of several problems throughout your digestive tract, such as ulcers, diverticulitis, polyps, and cancer. This method helps identify the cause better.

Polyps, tumors, and cancer

Polyps are growths that can form in the large intestine or rectum, appear flat or raised, and develop without symptoms. Tumors that form can be malignant or benign but do not automatically indicate cancer. A cause of polyps or tumors, colorectal cancer can lead to unexplained weight loss, cramps, abdominal pain, narrow excrement, blood in your excrement, and changes in bowel habits. This type of endoscopy can help detect and treat it.

What can you expect from the procedure?

To prepare for the endoscopy and get the best images from this screening, your provider asks you to stop eating and drinking at least 12 hours before getting started, and you may need to flush out your small intestine with a laxative. You may also need to hold off on taking medications to keep them from interfering with the results. 

Once the capsule is ready, you swallow it with water and resume your day, though you may restrict certain activities like running, jumping, and other things that can adversely affect the capsule. You have a recorder on a specialized belt around your waist while digesting the capsule.

You can drink clear liquids within two hours and light meals as directed after four hours. After eight hours, or when the capsule passes after a bowel movement, you remove the recorder from your body, collect the capsule, and return it according to instructions. The vast amount of collected photos from the capsule gets transferred to software that converts it into a video to observe and look for evidence of abnormalities, which helps make a diagnosis.

This tool can make a difference in helping you with digestive illnesses, so if you’re struggling with gastrointestinal issues or other related problems, make an appointment with Dr. Mehta and his team at LoneStar Gastroenterology today to get the help you need.