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Your esophagus is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. It moves food and liquid down to the stomach. Stomach acid can come up into your esophagus. This can cause symptoms such as heartburn.
This test checks the acid content (pH) in your esophagus. A low pH for long periods may mean that you often have backflow (reflux) of stomach acid into the esophagus. This is called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
An esophageal pH test is done to:
To prepare for this test:
An esophageal pH test in your doctor's office can take up to an hour. Longer pH monitoring may last up to 4 days.
After the test is over, your nose and throat may feel sore. But this should get better within a day or so.
The capsule attached to the esophagus in a wireless pH test will fall off after a few days and pass in the stool.
You can usually get your results within a few days.
Many conditions can affect the results of this test. Your doctor will discuss your results with you.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Current as of: June 17, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Peter J. Kahrilas MD - Gastroenterology & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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