When a patient experiences symptoms of GERD, the condition can be monitored in a number of ways. This helps to know the actual cause of GERD and enables one to identify the abnormalities and severity of the condition.
Oesophageal motility testing
One such method of evaluating the causes of the condition is oesophageal motility testing. In this method, a narrow tube is passed to the oesophagus through the nose. The patient is made to drink water to allow the muscles to contract and relax. As the muscles contract around the oesophagus, some pressure is developed and this pressure is detected by the tube. This method is useful to check for the proper functioning of oesophageal muscles as well as to check their effectiveness. Oesophageal motility testing helps evaluate the symptoms which do not respond to conventional GERD treatment. The defects in the muscular contractions which are the causes of acid reflux are also detected by this method. Hence this method can identify the root causes of the patient’s problems.
Gastric Emptying study is another effective way of evaluating GERD which helps in locating the main cause of the trouble. The inability of the stomach to empty its contents at proper speed is often the cause of GERD in most patients. Such patients often experience symptoms like vomiting and regurgitation. Gastric Emptying Study helps to detect whether the stomach is effective enough in emptying the contents. The patients are made to intake food that contains radioactive matter. A machine known as the Geiger machine is used to check the speed at which the stomach empties the contents. In case the speed of emptying is considerably low, the patients are treated with medicines that speed up the emptying process.
For patients with complaints of chest pain, an acid perfusion test helps to determine if the cause of chest pain is acid reflux. In this test, a tube is passed through the nostril into the oesophagus. A solution made by mixing of an acidic and salty solution is then alternatively passed through the tube. This is done to check the response of the patient to acidic solutions. On passing the solution, if the patient starts getting chest pain, then the cause of chest pain is acid reflux. This method is not found to be that effective and hence in a majority of cases oesophageal PH study is commonly used to study the patients’ condition.
With proper monitoring and evaluation at the right time, the complications associated with GERD can be avoided and the discomforts can be reduced. The field of medicine has now advanced to a great extent. With a number of tests and treatments available, detecting the cause and analysing the condition is easier. Doctors are now in a very good position to treat patients suffering from GERD. Hence it is advisable to consult a doctor and seek medical help immediately when you find symptoms of GERD. Following the treatment will surely be beneficial.