If you regularly experience heartburn, where stomach acid burns your esophagus, it could be a sign of problems with your lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The experienced gastroenterologists at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, might recommend esophageal manometry to determine if your LES, or any other part of your esophagus, is causing your symptoms. Contact one of the 13 offices in Charlotte, Belmont, Concord, Davidson, Matthews, Monroe, Huntersville, University, or Pineville, North Carolina, to find out more. Call or book online today.
Esophageal manometry can help your provider at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, to diagnose conditions affecting your esophagus. This muscular tube connects your throat to your stomach. It contracts each time you swallow to move food down into your stomach.
At the bottom of the esophagus is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
Abnormalities in your esophagus or the LES can cause symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Using esophageal manometry, your provider can determine what’s causing these symptoms.
Your provider at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, gives you instructions on preparing for esophageal manometry. They’re likely to recommend you don’t eat or drink for six hours before the procedure to ensure your stomach is empty.
The test itself involves having a thin, flexible tube inserted into your nose, down your throat, through your esophagus, and into your stomach. This process may be a little uncomfortable, but it isn’t painful.
A computer at the other end of the tube measures the pressure at different places along your esophagus as your provider pulls the tube slowly back out.
Esophageal manometry is a useful tool for diagnosing LES (lower esophageal sphincter) conditions. The most common of these is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which develops when you have chronic or repeated attacks of acid reflux.
Stomach acid shouldn’t be able to rise above the LES if it’s working correctly and sealing shut after each swallow. However, if the LES doesn’t close completely, the acid can flow up into your esophagus and damage it. This causes indigestion symptoms like heartburn. If acid reflux happens often enough, it causes scarring on the lining of your esophagus.
Other conditions that esophageal manometry can help diagnose include achalasia. This is much rarer than GERD and has the opposite effect.
Achalasia is due to nerve damage in your esophagus that prevents the LES from opening when it should. As a result, food can’t get into your stomach. Symptoms include chest pain and regurgitation (bringing food back up).
If you’re due for esophageal manometry and have any questions or want to know more about the procedure, contact Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, for expert advice. Call their office today, or book an appointment using the online scheduling tool.