When a person is suffering from severe indigestion, they may believe they have passed the acid reflux test, but knowing what is causing the problem is important to affecting a permanent cure. It is possible that hot and spicy foods have caused a temporary experience with heartburn, but for those suffering two or more days a week should see a medical professional for an appropriate acid reflux test to learn an accurate cause.
If the doctor suspects gastro esophageal reflux disease one of the acid reflux tests they may use is a pH test to determine the amount of acid in the esophagus. During this test the doctor will go through the nasal passage to insert a tube into the esophagus, stopping above the lower esophagus sphincter where it will remain for 24 hours. Patients undergoing this type of acid reflux test are advised to go about their normal eating habits and activities and to record any feeling of indigestion experienced during the 24-hour period.
Coughing and sneezing is also recorded to give the physician a complete picture of what the patent is experiencing. After this acid reflux test the pH readings during the period along with the appearance of symptoms can help the doctor determine how much acid is refluxing through the lower esophageal sphincter.
Abnormalities Found With Barium E-Rays
Another type of acid reflux test uses barium x-rays to find possible lesions, ulcers or hiatal hernia in a patient. The patient drinks a chalky mixture of barium while in front of an x-ray machine. The barium shows up on the x-ray and allows the technician to follow the path of the liquid through the digestive system. Sometimes, the patient will be lying flat and is turned upside down to see how much, if any, of the barium flows back into the esophagus through the LES or through a hiatal hernia.
A more invasive test called an upper endoscopy is often used for patients who have suffered acid reflux for several years. During this acid reflux test a tube with a small camera is attached as the doctor inserts the tube through the mouth and into the stomach. It can detect cuts, lesions, ulcers and blockages that may be contributing to the problem.
The acid reflux tests are a necessary prelude to beginning a treatment regimen for acid reflux. Knowing what is causing the reflux and how it is affecting the digestive system is the first step in finding a cure.