FAQs & Resources

1. What is Endoscopy?
The visual inspection of any cavity of the body by means of a fibreoptic telescope.

2. What is Colonoscopy?
The passage of a flexible fibrescope or video flexible telescope into your bowel, in order to visually inspect the lining of your bowel.

3. What is Gastroscopy?
The passage of a small flexible fibrescope through the mouth and down into the stomach, in order to visually inspect the lining of your oesophagus, stomach and duodenum.

4. What is Oesophagus?
The oesophagus is the tube that goes from the mouth to the stomach.

5. What is the Stomach?
The stomach is a ‘sac’ between the oesophagus and duodenum. The stomach has several functions. It produces acid which can kill bacteria which may be swallowed in the food or saliva. The thick muscular walls of the stomach contract to mix solid food, stomach acid and saliva in order to aid digestion. The stomach also makes substances which help absorb iron and vitamins.

6. What is the Duodenum?
The duodenum is the first part of the small bowel and is about 30cm long.

7. What is Sigmoidoscopy?
The examination of the rectum and sigmoid colon using a sigmoidoscope. It is inserted gently through the anus in order to visually inspect the lining of the bowel.

8. What is the Small Intestine or Small Bowel?
The small bowel is five metres in length in an adult and half that length for a baby. If all the folds were flattened out, the surface area would equal that of a doubles tennis court. This allow large amounts of digested nutrients to pass through the lining of the small intestine into the blood stream, which distributes them through out the body.

  • The duodenum is the first part of the small bowel and is about 30cm long.
  • The ileum is the lower half of the small bowel which connects to the colon

9. What is the Large Intestine or Colon?
The colon is like a waste treatment works. It contains numerous bacteria which help in this process. It receives liquid waste from the small intestine and processes it into formed bowel motions. Fluid is absorbed through the bowel surface into the blood stream. Peristalsis pushes the motion down into the rectum. When it is time for a person to empty their bowels, the anal sphincter at the very end of the gut relaxes and allows the motion to pass through.

  • The rectum is the last 12 to 15cm of the large bowel which opens to the exterior of the body at the anus.
  • The anus is the opening of the bowel to the outside of the body, through which faeces pass.

10. What is a Faecal Occult Blood Test – FOBT?
A test for blood in the bowel motions.

11. What is a Polyp?
An overgrowth of tissue projecting into the bowel which may be benign or malignant.

12. What does Benign mean?
Non – cancerous.

13. What does Malignant mean?
Cancerous.

14. What is an Adenoma?
A benign tumour which may become malignant if left untreated.

15. What is a Hiatus Hernia?
A Protrusion of the stomach up into the opening normally occupied by the oesophagus in the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest (thoracic) cavity from the abdomen.

16. What is Gastritis?
Inflammation of the stomach.

17. What is Oesophageal Reflux?
A feeling of discomfort, burning or pain felt rising up from the lower chest into the neck. Some people call it indigestion or heartburn. It is caused by stomach acid rising up into the oesophagus, where it can cause pain and inflammation.

18. What is Barrrett’s Oesophagus?
A disease which is characterised by benign lesions (ulcers) of the lining of the lower oesophagus.

19. What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
A condition where the rhythm of the movement of the colon is disturbed, resulting in pain and alteration in bowel habit.

20. What is Colitis?
Inflammation of the Large bowel or Colon.

21. What is Coeliac Disease?
Is a disorder caused by intolerance to gluten. Diarrhoea, loss of weight, nausea, flatulence and abdominal discomfort are common complaints, though there are no specific symptoms.

22. What are Haemorrhoids?
Varicose veins around the anus.

23. What is Capsule Endoscopy (“pillcam”)?
Capsule Endoscopy involves swallowing a jelly bean-sized plastic capsule which takes 2 pictures per second as it passes naturally through the small intestine. The pictures are transmitted wirelessly to a data recorder worn on a belt for the duration of the test – about 8 hours. The pictures are later reviewed on a computer. Capsule Endoscopy is generally safe and well tolerated, with a 60% chance of finding the cause of otherwise unexplained anemia. There is a slim (1%) chance of the capsule not passing naturally, but actual obstruction is rare. Surgical removal may be necessary – usually from a site of pathology.

24. What are the Indicators for Capsule Endoscopy?
PillCam is indicated for recurrent GI bleeding or anaemia in people over 10 years old (patients under 15 years are not treated at Jolimont Endoscopy) who have had a normal gastroscopy and colonoscopy within 6 months.

25. How is Capsule Endoscopy Performed?
PillCam is performed at Jolimont Endoscopy 19/201 Wellington Parade South East Melbourne. It is an outpatient procedure. The only preparation is clear fluids the afternoon before the test and then an overnight fast. There is a small amount of preparation to apply the recorder belt prior to the capsule being given. Once the PillCam has been swallowed, the patient can leave the hospital. They may drink after 2 hours, and eat after 4 hours. Around 6 – 8 hours after the PillCam is ingested, the patient returns to Jolimont Endoscopy, and the data recorder belt is removed. The Pillcam usually passes within 5 days, and is safe to flush down the toilet.

26. What happens after the referral is sent?
A consultation may need to be arranged with one of our specialists to confirm eligibility and obtain informed consent. The patient will be given printed information about PillCam (including preparation instructions, and what to expect during and after the study), and the procedure will be scheduled at Jolimont Endoscopy. Results are generally available within 1 week of the procedure, and a report will be forwarded to the referring doctor.