The first person to enjoy a doctor's visit for an endoscopy may be the last. Lying in an exam chair, having anesthetic sprayed on your throat, having a tube travel down your throat-none of this is very appetizing.

If you're suffering from a constant burning in your chest, your doctor may order an endoscopy to determine what's going on. Fortunately, a simple understanding of the procedure can help ease any feelings of anxiety. Here's a step-by-step guide:

1. Talk with your doctor. This is the obvious first step, but it's an extremely important one. A week before the operation you need to inform your doctor of all your health conditions, especially heart and lung problems, diabetes, and allergies. Additionally, disclose all medications. Some may be of no consequence, but others could pose a problem, such as:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil), and naproxen (Aleve)
  • Blood thinners
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Diabetes medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Dietary supplements

2. Understand the procedure. An Upper Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is a procedure where the doctor puts a lighted, flexible endoscope to view the inside of your upper GI tract. By knowing this, you're less likely to panic attack when the doctor sticks a long tube with a camera down your throat.

3. Figure out the logistics. Every hospital, every outpatient center office abides by different rules. Be certain to consult with all authorities necessary to ensure the times at which you need to arrive prior to your appointment. You're not getting surgery, but there is still pre-procedure preparation to deal with.

4. Cease all consumption. Endoscopy preparation truly begins with this step. Generally speaking, all eating must end 4-8 hours before the operation. Sometimes you can drink clear liquids up to 4 hours before (like water and apple or grape juice), but you cannot have milk or orange juice. With 4 hours to go, nothing is allowed. This clears everything out of your system.

5. Understand the limitations afterward. Afterward you will be in the recovery room about 2 hours. Feeling nauseated or bloated is normal, as is having a sore throat. And finally, while this is not exactly endoscopy preparation, it still factors into your experience: Do not drive home. The sedatives need 12-24 hours to wear off entirely, so actually you should not drive within a day of your visit.