- Small bowel capsule endoscopy is a way for your doctor to see inside part of your digestive system. A small bowel capsule endoscopy looks at the lining of the small intestine.
- Unlike a traditional endoscopic exam, which uses a camera at the end of a thin, flexible tube (click here for more on upper GI endoscopy tests), capsule endoscopy uses a camera inside a pill-like capsule.
- You will swallow the capsule at your doctor’s office and be given all the information you need for the test.
- The capsule is the size of a large pill — just over 1-inch long and less than ½-inch wide.
- Once swallowed, it travels through the digestive system, sending images to a device worn around your waist that saves them.
- The capsule will not be absorbed or digested, but it will move through your digestive system and leave through a bowel movement. You may or may not see it in the toilet bowl. You do not need to retrieve or return the capsule to your doctor.
- Each capsule is designed for a single use and will not harm the environment or your household plumbing.
- You will be awake and active during this test as the capsule moves through your digestive system, though you will not feel it.
Capsule endoscopy gives your doctor a picture of the inside of your digestive system that cannot be seen through other X-rays. Your gastroenterologist will use the images from this test to look for abnormalities in your small bowel, such as:
- Celiac disease.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Erosions (superficial ulcers).
- Other suspected small bowel diseases.
Your gastroenterologist may also use capsule endoscopy to check the progress after treatment for these health problems. If your doctor sees a problem on capsule endoscopy, you may need to have some other test to confirm or treat the health issue.