GI Specialists of Georgia Provides Specialized Digestive Care
The digestive system is made up of many different organs, all of which help us digest food and absorb nutrients from it. Because this system is complex, it requires the care and expertise of a specialist when there are issues. The digestive system can encounter a number of different problems, including acute and chronic conditions that a gastroenterologist practice like GI Specialists of Georgia can address. Many patients may face problems with the esophagus and require a screening test called an esophageal manometry to diagnose the issue properly. Our Atlanta-area locations can perform this test and ensure quick results. Please reach out to us today for more information.
Why an Esophageal Manometry is Needed
An esophageal manometry is needed when a patient experiences any complications with the esophagus. Often these complications are caused by abnormalities or weakness with the muscles or LES. When these muscles work as they should, they move food to the stomach and protect the lower esophagus from caustic stomach acid and bile. However, weakness and abnormality in these muscles may lead to acid and bile leaking into the lower esophagus, which can cause heartburn and result in damage and scarring of the organ over time. An esophageal manometry is needed to study the muscle function and diagnose the source of esophageal problems. Your doctor may prescribe one of these tests if you experience any of the following on a regular basis:
- Pain in the esophageal area
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain
The Esophagus & How It Works
The esophagus is the tube that carries food and liquids from your throat to your stomach. Though its purpose seems simple enough, there is actually a lot of complexity to this organ. The esophagus is not rigid, and the walls contain muscles that rhythmically contract when you swallow, which help food and liquid move through the tube and into the stomach. The esophagus also contains the lower valve muscle (LES), a specialized muscle that remains closed most of the time to protect the esophagus. The only time it opens is when food and liquid move into the stomach or when a person burps or vomits.
What Is an Esophageal Manometry?
An esophageal manometry is a diagnostic test used to pinpoint problems with the esophagus. The test gives doctors a clearer picture of the functionality of this critical organ by measuring the rhythmic muscle contractions that occur when a patient swallows. Abnormalities in the contractions or strength of the muscles of the esophagus can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms and health concerns. This test is used to help doctors identify the problem so appropriate treatments can be prescribed.
What to Expect During the Procedure
We find that it often helps patients feel more comfortable and relaxed on the day of their appointment when they know what to expect during the procedure. During the appointment, you will be seated in a chair or lying on your side, and thin, soft tubing will be gently passed through the nose and sometimes the mouth. As you swallow, the tip of the tube will enter the esophagus, and the technician will then pass it to the desired level. There may be some slight gagging, but this can be controlled by either dry or wet swallowing. You may be asked to sip water throughout the test. The tube will measure the pressure in different parts of the esophagus, and the results will be recorded for interpretation by your doctor. The tubing will then be removed, and you’ll be able to resume your normal daily activities.
How to Prepare for the Procedure
The esophageal manometry screening is a relatively straightforward procedure that can be done at one of our Atlanta-area locations. Prior to your appointment, your doctor will give you detailed instructions about what you should do to prepare for the procedure. You will be asked not to eat or drink anything in the hours leading up to the appointment, as this can interfere with the procedure. There are also certain medications you should refrain from taking on the day before and the day of your procedure. Your doctor will give you more detailed information about this and will also be available to answer any questions you may have.
How Long Does the Procedure Last?
Though the procedure isn’t extremely complicated, it still requires some time to complete properly. You should plan to be at our office for about one to two hours. The procedure itself takes about an hour, but we will also want to leave time for any preparation as well as questions after the procedure.
Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment
If you are experiencing digestive problems, it’s important that you see a specialist who can diagnose the cause and provide treatment for symptom relief. GI Specialists of Georgia can provide the care and attention you need. Please reach out to us today to discuss your concerns and schedule an appointment.