Patient Comments: Upper Endoscopy - What to Expect


Have you had an upper endoscopy? Please share what the procedure is like for someone who has never had it before. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: PamelaT, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 07

I have had 7 endoscopes in the past. The last, 8 months ago was terrifying. A doctor gave me so little sedation that I felt everything, gagging, grunting, and he refused to use any more sedation. He told me several times to 'be quiet'. The guttural sounds were completely involuntary. He pulled out the scope, and rammed a stiff garden hose size sized green tube to stretch my esophagus. Then yanked it out. I said I would never be back again. He said 'I really don't care.’

Comment from: UnhappyEndoPatient, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I had an endoscopy on April 8, 2021. When I arrived home, my lips were swelling and continued to swell for the evening and the next day. I called the doctor, they had never heard of this and they said to go to the emergency room (ER) if my throat swells. The swelling went down and my mouth broke out in horrible painful canker sores. I messaged the doctors with no reply. I will never go back there, I believe I am allergic to the bite block used, the surgeon used excessive force, or the bite block was contaminated. Very upsetting.

Comment from: Iris, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 28

I recently had my first, and last, upper endoscopy. Never again. I had 2 mg of midazolam which had very little effect and I remember the whole procedure. The amnesia does not work on everybody. They didn’t give me the throat spray even though this was agreed beforehand. The experience of violent uncontrollable gagging and belching was terrifying and they wouldn’t stop when I put my hand up. If I needed this again it would be under general anesthetic.

Comment from: Danielle, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I had an upper endoscopy 2 weeks ago and it was a breeze. I was so nervous to get it done but it really was easy. I was started with a shot in my arm which was the worst part of the whole thing because I don’t like needles. They gave me anesthesia and I was out within seconds; deepest 30 minutes of sleep I have ever had. This procedure was extremely easy and nothing hurt after it.

Comment from: Mtn wife, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 30

I had an upper endoscopy 15 years ago, and I was not happy. An IV had been started, I was moved to the operation room, the nurse said time for 'the good stuff’ through the IV. They asked how I was and I said fine. The doctor told me to open my mouth, as the nurse told me to put my hand up on the side rail. At the same time the doctor put a wedge in my mouth, the nurse was using a roll of gauze to tie my hand to the rail! All this happened in less than a minute. Later I told the nurse I didn't like my hands tied she was shocked that I remembered.

Comment from: Hamstsr, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

Upper endoscopy was frankly terrifying and traumatic. I was supposed to have conscious sedation but was last on the list, so had it with throat spray. I was held down when I tried to have the procedure aborted. Never again.

Comment from: Mad lady, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 26

I had an EGD (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) in March 2019. I woke up wet, I must have passed urine during the procedure. I don't understand because I used the bathroom right before they took me back. When I asked the nurse she replied I wasn't wet so I pulled the covers back to show her. I have short but sharp pains on my left side ever since.

Comment from: SurprisedPleased, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 14

I've just come back from my gastroscopy, or an upper endoscopy. I am both an anxiety sufferer and an emetophobe. I had both throat spray and sedation but the sedation was minimal and I remember the whole procedure. The procedure itself was a walk in the park, didn't gag once, no choking, and no panic. I was utterly amazed, to be honest. Lasted about 5 minutes, scope out, walked myself out of the room and into recovery for 10 minutes then driven home by my wife. Feel fine now, just ready for a nap.

Comment from: Ravenwar, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 17

This morning I had my very 1st upper endoscopy procedure. Yesterday afternoon a gastrointestinal doctor stated I would need one to confirm gallbladder issues. Recently before that, I had an ultrasound and CT scan showing gallstones. The staff were really nice and very compassionate toward the patients. When they called me from the waiting room, I went into a different room with a nurse and we discussed medical history and other personal information. After changing into the hospital gown, I lay on the bed where she hooked up my IV. Then, the doctor who would be performing the procedure stepped in to talk to me for a little while. About 15 minutes later, I was taken into the procedure room. They had me lie on my side and repositioned my legs. Then I felt something go into my IV. It was obviously the drug that would put me to sleep. I remember a burning sensation. Then, they asked me to put the mouthpiece into my mouth. After that, I instantly fell asleep. When I woke up, I felt as high as a kite! I felt really happy and for some reason I had so much love in my heart. I even remember dreaming. My throat was not sore nor did I have any nausea. The doctor came in and confirmed issues with my gallbladder. At home, for most of today I had that same high feeling. After I took a nap, I woke up feeling really nauseous. After eating crackers and hydrating my body, I felt fine but I'm not a 100 percent yet. Everyone will obviously have the normal nerves before having this procedure for the 1st time. Please, only read positive personal experiences from people. The negative stories will only scare you and remember everyone is different. Just talk to the doctor and the nurses about your fears and concerns. Everything will be ok, just make sure to control your nerves and try to stay calm. Then, all you have to do is enjoy the high ride after you wake up!


GERD is the back up of stomach acid into the esophagus. See Answer
Comment from: Brenda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 20

I had upper endoscopy procedure done on March 1st 2018, after cancelling it twice before. I was so terrified I would choke. I finally went and had it done. I was shocked that I did not feel the scope go in or come out. I have to have another in 2 months and I have no fear at all now. The nurses were fantastic!

Comment from: Gram, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 30

I had an endoscopy on 1/25/18 (just the other day) and had a good experience. I didn't feel a thing and the next thing I knew was that I was in the recovery room. I'm not sure if it depends where you go to have this procedure after reading a few negative experiences, but I would not hesitate to have it again. I was in good hands and everything was explained to me from the beginning to the end. I think that the worst thing for me was not being able to eat. And that's no big deal! I would recommend not losing any sleep over it.

Comment from: Nervous patient, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I had an endoscopy last week. I was totally petrified at the thought of it but so wish I hadn’t read all the negative reviews. It was absolutely no problem at all. Such a straightforward positive experience. Arrived on time for appointment, clerked in by a reassuring nurse, cannulated and changed into hospital gown. I had a very short wait, 15 minutes and then straight in to the procedure room. Surgeon introduced herself, asked about symptoms, and then gave the midazolam. Relaxing feeling and then nothing else remembered till she told me it was all finished. I was through to recovery and out within 20 minutes. All in all, in hospital stay for about an hour and a half maximum. I would never be afraid of it again if I had to have another one. Sleepless nights for absolutely no reason.

Comment from: Verity, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 22

I had an endoscopy last week. Literally the worst 5 minutes of my life. I had midazolam and the throat spray. I later found out the midazolam was a uselessly low dose (1.25 mg). I have previously had the same drug at my dentist's and it worked brilliantly for me. So I know I'm not resistant to it. One thing the nurse at the start said, that helped was, 'When we ask you to swallow, you're not actually swallowing the scope, it just opens a valve in your esophagus so we can push the scope down.' I didn't gag at that point. The nurse told me, and I saw other people saying online, that once it is past the point where you get the gag reflex, it's all straightforward and you shouldn't gag again. Actually, the opposite happened to me and I didn't gag when the scope went in, but then gagged nonstop the whole way through the rest of the procedure. The midazolam didn't work. I might as well not have had it. The nurse beforehand told me it made no difference but having had it before I disbelieved her. In fact if I had to have this again I'd insist on a general anesthetic. In the recovery room I could have stood up and walked out instantly. When I was released, I went out for the rest of the day. That is how un-sleepy it made me. It also had no amnesiac effect, whatsoever. I can recall every waking nightmare second of the procedure. At the end of it all I have a diagnosis of gastritis. But no answers. I don't know what caused it and if I don't get any firm answers from the biopsies done for coeliac disease, I might as well never have bothered going as they were unable to tell me what is causing this or what to avoid, or how to heal it faster. I am not a drinker or smoker. I eat the odd curry. I do have another auto-immune condition. So maybe it relates to that. My general physician never blood tested me for gluten intolerance (or anything) prior to sending me for the endoscope so I am no nearer having any answers than if I hadn't bothered to go. My tip is if you want sedation, insist on a high dose. Research online beforehand what a medium or high dose is, precisely, and ask them to tell you how many mg. If it's 1.25 mg it will do nothing.

Comment from: none, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 29

I had an upper endoscopy a month ago and it was fine. I was not put to sleep or sedated and I did not gag. Just relax and listen to the nurses and it is okay.

Comment from: duke, Male (Patient) Published: June 02

I had two endoscopies done. You cannot eat or drink anything after midnight. When you go either to hospital or surgical center, they first take your blood pressure, put gown on you with no back and nurse or assistants of doctor take some information about medicines your take, etc. Then they hook up IV and on monitor too, and the assistant who is going to put you to sleep for the procedure will ask you some questions. Before you are ready to go in they will tell what drugs are for knocking you out, you sign a lot of forms too. Then when in the surgical unit, the assistants will put mouth guard on your mouth which has a small opening for small tube with light on and doctor gets pictures and bioscopy of areas of stomach and esophagus that are suspected bad areas. But it’s nice not to feel a thing, and no work, and you must have a ride home, and do have a drink and cookies after the procedure; and light diet for one day.

Comment from: dave, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 06

I had upper endoscopy done for an upper renal failure. After this was done a hernia developed and I did not have this when I went to have this done. No one has attempted to fix the hernia, even when I looked this up and told them of the problem no one seemed to want to fix this even when it should have been corrected very soon after the endoscopy. The gastroenterologist said I probably had the hernia before the procedure, he also said I am not a candidate for surgery, liver or otherwise. It has been 7 months and they refuse to deal with the liver and hernia pain, my belly has to be pumped often, 8 to 10 times now and continues 1 or 2 times a month.


Digestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions See Slideshow
Comment from: RN, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 21

Most places use propofol! I will never undergo upper endoscopy again! I started gagging before the procedure even began because the nurse (and the doctor) decided to shove a bite block in my mouth even though I could not swallow my saliva!

Comment from: Muffy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 15

I had a walnut stuck in my throat. I could not swallow anything, including saliva. I gagged almost immediately when the nurse shoved a bite block in my mouth prior to an upper endoscopy. I could not swallow, and needed to spit, but couldn't. I warned everyone that I couldn't I swallow saliva and gagged easily on a good day. This wasn't a good day. I should have left. I did not trust these people to protect my airway. I was petrified. I will never have this procedure performed again, I will never go to this place again, and I will never see this doctor again.

Comment from: Carrie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I had an upper endoscopy yesterday. I'm the biggest chicken in the world so I was really scared about it. But it turned out to be no big deal. The worst part of the whole thing was when they pulled off the tape that was holding my IV in place. Other than that I didn't feel a thing.C

Comment from: Elizabeth E, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

I consulted a doctor after severe heartburn attacks, and I ultimately had an endoscopy. I have to say I was very nervous, but in the end, I actually thought it was a painless procedure. I opted for sedation, but I hardly think it was necessary because it was over and done with so quickly and effortlessly.