Capsule Endoscopy


During a capsule endoscopy, you will swallow a capsule which contains a tiny camera that takes thousands of pictures as it passes through the digestive system. Your doctor then looks at the pictures to see what may be causing gastrointestinal (GI) problems.

A capsule endoscopy can check for diseases and conditions including:

What to Expect

If you require a capsule endoscopy, you’ll be asked not to eat anything and to drink only clear liquids the day before. You will be instructed to stop any oral intake the morning of the procedure. This helps make sure your digestive system is clear.

During the procedure, your GI nurse places a belt with sensors in it around your waist area. The sensors send signals to a recorder worn at your waist. Thin wires connect the electrodes to the transmitter. You swallow a capsule about the size of a large vitamin, which is specially coated so it’s easier to swallow.

If you’re having capsule endoscopy to check your small intestine, you’ll swallow the capsule and go home, wearing the belt and recorder around your waist. Usually, you’ll return the next day to return the belt and recorder. Your doctor connects the recorder to a computer and looks at video images of your digestive system to check for problems.


You cannot eat or drink for 2 to 4 hours after swallowing the capsule. After 2 hours, you can drink clear liquids. After 4 hours, you can eat a light snack and resume medications. You should avoid intense activity for the day. The capsule will leave your body when you go to the bathroom. You may or may not be able to see it, and it can be flushed and disposed of safely.

You should not have an MRI for the next 30 days. Contact your doctor if you do not see the capsule pass in your bowel movement and you develop any unexplained symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention or pain.

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