Select Language

Gastroscopy for a hiatal hernia

In this article, we explain what a gastroscopy is and what it means for those with a hiatal hernia. 

What is a gastroscopy?

A gastroscopy is a way of examining the oesophagus and stomach by passing a soft tube through the mouth. The tube is called a gastroscope.

The purpose of a gastroscopy is to look for possible problems, such as changes in the mucous membrane. This is done by observing, photographing and taking tissue samples in the oesophagus and down in the patient’s stomach.

Difficulty in detecting a hiatal hernia during gastroscopy

Your doctor may decide that you need a gastroscopy if you have symptoms of a hiatal hernia. But this is mainly done to rule out other diagnoses. 

You cannot always see a hiatal hernia during a gastroscopy. 

In 90% of all hiatal hernias, the stomach slides up and down through the hole in the diaphragm. Therefore, your stomach may well be below the diaphragm at the time of the gastroscopy, and then slide back up later. Then the hernia is not visible during the gastroscopy.

Prescription of PPI medication is a diagnosis 

Therefore, it is not uncommon to be told that everything looks normal during the gastroscopy. The doctor may see a reddening of the oesophageal mucus membranes and prescribe PPI medication. That can be seen as a diagnosis for a hiatal hernia, because stomach acid cannot leak up and create the redness of the oesophageal mucus membranes unless you have a hiatal hernia.

How do you prepare for a gastroscopy?

Before a gastroscopy, you usually need to prepare by fasting for at least 6 hours. If you take medications, have allergies, or other medical conditions, you need to inform your doctor in advance. It’s common to be able to take medications up to two hours before the gastroscopy.

It’s also recommended to have someone accompany you for transportation to and from the hospital.

How does a gastroscopy work?

You will lie on your left side on a bed. You will then be given an anaesthetic spray in your throat to reduce discomfort. 

Next, the tube, called a gastroscope, is inserted into your throat. At the tip of the gastroscope is a tiny camera that allows the doctor or specialist nurse to see images from your stomach on a screen in the examination room.

How long does a gastroscopy take?

During the gastroscopy procedure, the tube is usually in your throat for about 10 minutes. The entire visit to the clinic takes about 30 minutes.

How uncomfortable is a gastroscopy?

It’s common to feel anxious before a gastroscopy. Perhaps that’s why you’re reading this article? It may help to talk to the hospital staff about your concerns.

It may feel slightly uncomfortable when the gastroscope is inserted into the esophagus, but since you receive a numbing spray in your throat, most people don’t feel much discomfort.

Sedative drugs or anesthesia during gastroscopy

Sometimes, patients may be given sedatives to feel more relaxed during the examination. In some cases, they may also be sedated. This varies in different countries and hospitals.

It may be useful to know that a gastroscopy is considered a simpler medical procedure than anaesthesia, and most people can manage the gastroscopy without sedation or anaesthesia.

After a gastroscopy

After a gastroscopy, you need to wait 30-60 minutes before eating and drinking. This is to allow the numbing in your throat to wear off, so you don’t choke on your food.

If you’ve been given sedatives, you’ll need to stay at the clinic for about an hour after the gastroscopy. You should also avoid driving for the rest of the day.

After the gastroscopy, you may feel some discomfort in your throat for up to a day.

When will I receive the results of my gastroscopy?

Depending on the purpose of the examination, you may receive the results of your gastroscopy at different speeds. Some results can be obtained immediately after the examination, while the result of a tissue sample may take a few weeks to receive.

Are there any alternatives to gastroscopy?

If the purpose of the gastroscopy is to determine if you have a hiatal hernia, it’s important to remember that the hernia may not always be visible during the gastroscopy.

Another way to determine if you have a hiatal hernia is to look for common symptoms that may indicate a hernia.

Take our self-test to see if you have a hiatal hernia

A good alternative* to a gastroscopy may be to do our self-test for a hiatal hernia. The test asks you to indicate how much of a problem you have with various symptoms typical of a hiatal hernia. For example, heartburn, dry cough and a feeling of a lump in the throat. You will then receive an overall assessment based on all your symptoms.  

Do you have a hiatal hernia? Take our self-test!

Free and simple 3 minute self-test.

Get the result immediately.

*Remember that it may still be useful to have a gastroscopy if your doctor recommends it. This is to rule out other causes of your symptoms than a hiatal hernia. 

Treating with IQoro

Perhaps the most important thing isn’t to see the hiatal hernia with your own eyes during a gastroscopy but to get rid of the uncomfortable symptoms the hernia causes.

In these cases, IQoro is a good alternative to gastroscopy.

With IQoro, you can strengthen the weakened muscles that cause your hiatal hernia. When the diaphragm and other muscles involved in the swallowing process become stronger, your symptoms will decrease.

What do the studies say?

In the hiatal hernia studies available on IQoro, researchers included both people who have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and people who only have symptoms of one. 

Both groups improved through training with IQoro. This shows that it is extremely important to listen to your symptoms, and not just what is shown during a gastroscopy.

IQoro improves the quality of life for many people
5.0 star rating

“Relief was almost immediate. And four months later I’d say I’m largely cured.”

Brant R, verified customer.

Get started right away

IQoro is a safe and simple treatment with no side effects, based on 17 scientific studies at Swedish universities. You can get started right away, completely without contacting a doctor.

You can do this regardless of whether you actually will get a gastroscopy in the future or not.

Read more