Describing your symptoms may lead your doctor to suspect that you have a peptic ulcer, but it will not likely help determine the type, because the symptoms of stomach and duodenal ulcers are so similar. To make a specific diagnosis, your doctor may administer several tests.
One such test is a barium swallow or upper GI series of X-rays that allow your doctor to identify and locate the ulcer and determine its type and severity. The test requires you to drink a "barium milkshake," which has a liquid...
Heartburn, primarily in patients who have failed medical treatment and are candidates for surgery
Uncommon symptoms of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), such as chest pain, chronic cough, and asthma
How Is the Esophageal pH Test Performed?
The equipment used in the esophageal pH test consists of a small probe that is inserted through your nostril and positioned near the lower esophagus. The probe is plugged into a small unit (or monitor) worn on your belt or over your shoulder.
The device has several buttons that, when pressed, record:
The occurrence of symptoms
When you eat and lie down
A nurse will review the monitoring instructions with you.
Be careful with the monitor and keep it dry at all times.
How Should I Prepare for the Esophageal pH Test?
When preparing for the esophageal pH test, do not eat or drink for 4 to 6 hours before your doctor's appointment.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, have a lung or heart condition or any other diseases, or are allergic to any medications.
Can I Continue to Take Medication Before the pH Test?
There are several medications that may affect the results of an esophageal pH test. These include:
There are other medications that may affect the test results. Talk to your doctor about all medications you are taking before undergoing the procedure.
Do not discontinue any medication without first consulting with your primary or referring doctor. If proton pump inhibitors need to be discontinued, you will take a week off these medications before doing the test.