Upper endoscopy helps your doctor evaluate symptoms of persistent upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or difficulty swallowing. It is also used for finding the cause of bleeding from the upper gastrointestinal tract. Your doctor may use upper endoscopy to obtain a biopsy (small tissue samples).
Biopsies are taken for many reasons, and your doctor may take a biopsy, even if he or she does not suspect cancer. For example, your doctor may take a biopsy to test for Helicobacter pylori, a type of bacteria that causes ulcers. Upper endoscopy is also used to treat conditions of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Your doctor can pass instruments through the endoscope to directly treat many abnormalities with little or no discomfort. For example, your doctor may stretch a narrowed area (dilatation), remove polyps (polypectomy usually benign growths) or treat bleeding.