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What you need to know about a capsule endoscopy:
Capsule endoscopy is a procedure to take pictures of the inside of your small bowel (intestine). The pictures may show if you have growths, swelling, or bleeding in your intestine. You may need this procedure if you have symptoms such as blood in your bowel movements or chronic stomach pain.
How to prepare for a capsule endoscopy:
You may need medicines to help clean out your intestines before the procedure. Ask about directions for eating and drinking before your procedure. You may need to stop eating or drinking 12 hours before the procedure. Do not smoke for 24 hours before the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider what medicines you take and ask him or her when they should be stopped before the procedure.
What will happen during a capsule endoscopy:
- You will be given the pill-sized capsule endoscope to swallow. The capsule will travel through your body the same way your food does and take 2 to 3 pictures every second. Small sensors will be taped to your abdomen and connected to a recorder. The sensors send the pictures of your small bowel to the recorder. The recorder will be attached to a belt that you wear during the procedure.
- You can go home after you swallow the capsule and have the sensors placed. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to return. Do not bathe or go in hot tubes or pools. Do not do vigorous physical activity or lift anything heavy.
- Do not eat or drink for at least 2 hours after you swallow the capsule. After 2 hours, you may drink clear liquids like water or juice. You can have a light snack and take your medicines after 4 hours. The procedure will be complete in 8 hours. You will be able to work or do your daily activities during the procedure.
What will happen after a capsule endoscopy:
The capsule usually comes out in your bowel movement within 3 days, but may take longer. It is okay to flush the recorder. You can remove the sensors. Return the recorder to your healthcare provider as directed. A healthcare provider will view the pictures of your small bowel and look for any problems.
Risks of a capsule endoscopy:
You may have stomach pain during your procedure. The capsule may not come out in your bowel movement. The pictures taken by the capsule may not be clear. The pictures may not show the cause of your symptoms. You may need another endoscopy procedure. The capsule may get trapped in your body if your intestines are narrow or blocked. You may need surgery to remove the capsule.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- Your abdomen becomes bloated.
- You have abdominal pain.
- You are vomiting.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to return to go over the results of your procedure. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.