Gastroscopy advice

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I have my first Gastroscopy appointment next Wednesday & I can't tell you how frantic I am about it! I know people say you shouldn't read what people put on the internet but I was so anxious and couldn't help myself! I've read some awful stories, about people panicking while the tube is in, not being able to breath, gagging non stop and now I've made myself worse to the point where it's all I think about & had myself in tears over it!

I'm a 25 year old female and over the past few months have suffered a few occasions where I am in severe abdominal pain for upto 10 hours & vomiting every hour! So doctors have sent me for this.

I am in 2 minds about whether to have sedation or not so was wondering if people could advise me on this please!

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  • Posted

    Hi Lauren,

    Given that you're only 25, I wouldn't hesitate to say go for sedation. It's only when people get a half-dose of sedation, which is normal for the over-65s, that there can be problems. Unless you have some cardiac or respiratory problem they'll give you a full dose and I guarantee you won't remember a thing about it.

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  • Posted


    I had mine done last year when I was 26.

    I suffer from anxiety so believe me when I say that this is all I thought about from the moment my appointment arrived. I even dreamt of it several times and literally dreaded it. It just doesn't seem natural and I couldn't get my head around it being ok! I was in two minds about sedation or not right up until I was at the hospital on the day of the procedure. I saw the pre op nurse and told her I just didn't know what I wanted and I cried! She told me to try without and then if need be they could sedate me in the room. I then saw the lady who was going to perform the procedure and I cried again and said I just don't want it done!

    She reassured me that it would only take 5 minutes and that I can breath however is comfortable.

    What helped for me is that they give you a mouth guard to bite on so to me this was a distraction because it meant my mouth was already open and I didn't have to willingly open it if that makes sense!

    I had the numbing spray which tasted a bit like banana and I quite liked it so she said she would give me a bit more then!

    I laid down and my heart was racing! The reason I opted for no sedation is because due to the anxiety I personally felt I would freak out more under sedation as I wouldn't be fully away of what was going on whereas with the throat spray I could do a mind over matter and logically talk myself through it and reassure myself.

    I felt the camera go to the back of my throat but only in the way that a piece of crusty bread goes down then they told me to swallow and then the hardest bit was done. Whilst it was in position I felt a few twinges in my belly quite weird but not painful. The only feeling I had was a feeling of mild heart burn?! But I just told myself it would soon be over.

    Personally I shut my eyes throughout the whole procedure and focused on my breathing (you can still breathe through your mouth so however you find comfortable) I had one nurse stroking my head, another one holding my hand, they literally couldn't have looked after me any better.

    They told me they were nearly done and I thought "is that it, I could stay here longer if needed" as they brought the camera out I felt it at the back of my throat but again only enough to think "I either wanna swallow or spit out" by which point they had removed it out

    They sat me up and my voice was a bit hoarse, I constantly thanked them and was like "wow is that it" I walked out to recovery and was allowed to go less than 20 minutes later smile whereas sedation would be a longer recovery. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink hot drinks for 1 hour but then was absolutely fine.

    I have to have another one next February and I am not dreading it at all and I will have the throat spray again.

    I didn't gag at all and for me to have anxiety I felt overwhelmed once I had finished (I did have in mind that I would treat myself to something nice if I was brave haha so that may help you!)

    Afterwards you will think what was I worried about, like many things the build up is usually worse than the actual moment! smile

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    • Posted

      Jade thank you so much! You sounded like how I am at the moment, It's literally all I'm thinking about and keep crying to my boyfriend and mum about it - think everyone's just getting fed up with me now! Haha.

      I will keep reading your post whenever I'm freaking out about it smile

      Thank you!!!


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    • Posted

      I think the sedation affects people differently. They cannot give you a huge amount to the point where your put to sleep because you would need a breathing tube and can't have one cos of camera being there so they give you a mild sedation so that you are slightly aware of what is going on but your just more relaxed about it, I heard some people freak out with sedation because they are a bit confused and it makes them freak out a bit as they can't rationally calm themselves down. I think for the 5 minutes that it takes its really not the worst thing.

      Definately have a treat in mind for afterwards and focus on that it really helps! I guarentee you that you will say it wasn't as bad as you thought I'd bet money on it! smile here if you need me until Wednesday!

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    • Posted

      Thanks Jade. If you don't mind would you mind answering a few questions - sorry to be a pain but feels like you havr reassured me quite abit at the moment.

      What did the throat spray taste like & did it feel weird not being able to feel yourself swallowing?

      Did you not feel the need to gag or panic that you couldn't breath?

      Did you have yours done in the UK?

      What did the camera feel like when it was down?

      Did you have any side effect after?

      Did it actually feel like 5 minutes when they was doing it or longer?

      Thanks in advance


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    • Posted

      Sorry Lauren, I typed a massive reply but didn't realise you cannot give out email addresses and i added mine in! oops!

      The throat spray tasted like banana medicine - it was weird not being able to feel yourself swallow but once i realised i can still breathe it reassured me and i got used to it (bit like being at the dentist)

      They tell you when to hold the spray and when to swallow so that it sits for long enough to numb the area. I have heard that they give you sedation or numbing spray and not both? so my worry is that with sedation won't you gag without numbing spray as you will feel it and tense your mouth? with spray i was quite relaxed. Once they put the mouth guard in that keeps your mouth in the open positon so you dont have to worry about your tongue or teeth getting in the way!

      I had mine done at St Thomas hospital in London where are you having yours?

      The camera felt like bread crust at first but then once swallowed I didnt feel it much, you do feel air being blown in a bit which just makes you feel a bit windy - not pain just gassy but it comes and goes so not too unpleasant. I felt the camera in my belly but only in the way i can imagine a baby would be moving around - not unpleasant just an unusual feeling. The only thing I felt was inbetween my breast bone a feeling of heart burn - it wasnt bad just mild but made me think oo i feel like i have heartburn - then the feeling went - when they take biopsies you dont feel anything extra to the camera already being there.

      I didn't gag at all, I could breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth - they dont go down your airways which is why your breathing isn't affected so whatever you find comfortable you can breathe in and out of your mouth if you want too!

      Once it was done i felt like a scratch at the back of my throat like when you have an irritating sore throat and i felt i had a lot of saliva so rather than swallowing i spat it out on tissue until the scratchy feeling subsided about 10 minutes later. I had a cup of water and was discharged. I ate one hour later (thats how long you have to wait to eat) and i ate something soft - a sandwich and a cake lol - for the rest of the day I went out shopping - was driving, the only thing i had was i felt a bit windy and everytime i burped i could taste like a medical taste either the numbing spray or the sanitiser they use on the camera equipment but that was it!

      to me it did feel like 5 minutes yes probably less to be honest! I felt like they let me adapt to everything they was doing which helped so spray me then let me sit there and adjust to what that felt like - then laid me on my side and let me rest a minute - then put the mouth guard in and let me get used to that - then asked if i was ready and held my hand - like i said i have to have it done next february and will be having the same - for 5 minutes and to walk out straight away even if it is the worst 5 minutes of your life which i doubt it will be then thats nothing! I suffer with anxiety and if i can do it anyone can

      sorry if my other post ends up posting too lol i wrote a massive reply hehe

      maybe everyone is different - but i honestly did mind over matter thought of a holiday - did what i was told and tried to think of anything else other than what was happening at that moment smile Yes people are saying it is traumatic but i dont know what happened to them as i am definately not traumatised and couldnt thank the staff enough!

      there were 4 people in the room, one had the camera, one took biopsies, one stroked my head and told me i was doing really well, the other held my hand - i felt i was in a pamper spa day for a minute haha could have carried on with that lol

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    • Posted

      Just a rider to your lovely, reassuring explanation, Jade. I keep reading on here that they don't give sedation and throat spray, that it's either or. It may be that this is a UK thing, but where I live they give both, and it doesn't seem to cause a problem. I suspect they give a bit less spray if you're having sedation. Most people on here said they had five or six squirts of the stuff and I know I only had two. I have distinct memories of the procedure as the subsequent sedation didn't touch me (except to drive me a bit crazy) but that's because I was over 65 and they're only allowed to give a very small dose at that age.

      Lauren, don't worry that this will happen to you. At age 25 you'll receive a full dose of sedation if that's what you opt for, and you won't remember a thing about the procedure.


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    • Posted


      Thank you so much! You really are lovely for answering my questions! You really are making me feel abit better about everything.

      I relate to you because I to suffer with anxiety, and any little thought about this procedure makes me feel sick & panicky!

      If you don't mind me asking but why did they want you to have this done?

      Before I was given my appointment I was worrying about why I was getting this pain and sickness but ever since my appointment came through this is my main worry!


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    • Posted

      Jade, did you know you can private message people on these forums by clicking on the little envelope icon underneath their avatar? It's completely private and doesn't disclose the email address of either party.
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  • Posted

    Hi Lauren,

    I had a gastroscopy today. When i went in, I was 100 percent for no sedation, now I am 100 percent for sedation. I found it very traumatic and intense. Although the recovery time was quicker, I would take sedation any day over how I feel right now, shaken. 

    I like to consider myself a pretty calm and collected person and wasn't nervous at all beforehand, but after it was all over, all I could think was if this has to happen again I am going for sedation. I won't go into th e gory detail unless you want to hear it, but my suggestion is sedative. 

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