PH Testing for Acid Reflux

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If you have found yourself wondering “what is acid reflux” and “why is it affecting me,” then you are not alone. Acid reflux often begins when your lower esophageal sphincter is weakened and doesn’t close properly after you swallow, allowing food and stomach acid to return back up your esophagus. Typical symptoms can include heartburn, cough and chest pain. If you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, you may have a more serious condition known as GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

One way doctors in Georgia can diagnose acid reflux and GERD is through the use of pH testing. In this type of testing, a catheter with a sensor on the end is inserted through your nose and down your throat, stopping in the esophagus right before reaching the lower esophageal sphincter. The sensor monitors whether acid is present in this area over the course of 24 hours. The sensor may be either connected to a catheter that exits through your nose, or may be placed within a capsule that will pass normally with your bowel after a short period of time.

During the monitoring period, patients also record any symptoms of acid reflux that they experience. These symptoms are correlated with the data from the pH testing to help doctors determine whether acid reflux is causing the symptoms. This type of testing is best for patients who regularly experience symptoms, because if patients only experience symptoms on an intermittent basis they may not coincide with the monitoring period. In cases where symptoms are more intermittent, the monitoring period is sometimes extended to try to capture the necessary information.

 

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