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Colonoscopy vs Gastroscopy: What are the Differences?

Colonoscopy and gastroscopy are two medical procedures used to examine different parts of the digestive system.

Both of these procedures involve inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera attached to the body. However, they differ in terms of the organs that are examined and the conditions they can diagnose.


Purpose of Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that aims to examine the colon or large intestine. It can be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Colonoscopy is recommended for individuals over the age of 50 as a screening tool for colorectal cancer. It can also be used to diagnose conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis, and colon polyps.

During a colonoscopy, the doctor can also remove any abnormal tissue or polyps found in the colon. This makes it not only a diagnostic tool but also a therapeutic one.


Purpose of Gastroscopy

Gastroscopy, on the other hand, is used to examine the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum.

It is primarily used for diagnostic purposes to identify conditions such as ulcers, gastritis, oesophagal reflux disease (GERD), and celiac disease.

Gastroscopy can also be used to take tissue samples or biopsies for further examination in the case of suspected diseases or abnormalities.


How They are Performed

Both colonoscopy and gastroscopy are outpatient procedures, meaning that patients do not need to stay in the hospital overnight. They are usually performed by a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the digestive system.

During both procedures, the patient is given sedatives to make them more comfortable and relaxed. The doctor then inserts the thin, flexible tube (colonoscope or endoscope) through the mouth or anus, depending on which organ is being examined.

Colonoscopy usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour, while gastroscopy typically only takes 10-15 minutes. Recovery time for both procedures is also relatively quick, with most patients able to resume their normal activities within a day.


Differences between Colonoscopy and Gastroscopy

The main difference between colonoscopy and gastroscopy is the organs that are examined.

While colonoscopy focuses on the large intestine, gastroscopy looks at the upper GI tract. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, colonoscopy can be both diagnostic and therapeutic, while gastroscopy is primarily used for diagnosis.

Another difference is the preparation required for each procedure. A colonoscopy usually requires a more extensive preparation process, including fasting and taking laxatives to clean the colon.

On the other hand, gastroscopy may only require fasting for a few hours before the procedure.



Colonoscopy and gastroscopy are two different medical procedures used to examine different parts of the digestive system.

Colonoscopy focuses on the colon, while gastroscopy looks at the upper GI tract. Both procedures are important for diagnosing and treating various conditions and can play a crucial role in maintaining digestive health.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to your digestive system, it is essential to consult with your doctor to determine which procedure is most suitable for your specific needs.