If you are having trouble swallowing, experiencing pain during swallowing, have chronic heartburn, or chest pain, your doctor may order an esophageal manometry test to discover the source of your symptoms.
The esophagus is a muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Muscular contractions move, like a wave, down the tube. This movement transports food and liquid down into the stomach. When everything is working smoothly, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens to allow food to enter the stomach. It then closes tightly to prevent the stomach contents from re-entering, or refluxing, into the esophagus.
The esophageal manometry test measures the ability of the esophagus to move food down into the stomach and also the function of the lower esophageal sphincter. The esophagus is lined with a sensitive mucous membrane. This membrane is not intended to come in contact with harsh stomach acids. When the two interact, there is a sharp burning sensation. This burning sensation you feel is heartburn. Multiple weekly bouts of heartburn should be seen by Dr. Islam to determine if you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Chronic exposure to stomach acids can damage the esophagus, causing scarring and changes in the cells of the mucosal lining.
Before this test, you should discuss all medications with Dr. Islam and follow the provided instructions.
During the test, you will be given some numbing medicine to minimize discomfort, and a small tube will be inserted through your nose and down your esophagus into your stomach. Then, the tube is slowly removed. During the removal, your doctor will direct you to swallow at specific intervals. The strength of the lower esophageal sphincter is measured as well as the strength of the muscle contractions along the esophagus. The tube is removed at the end of the test and you should be able to resume normal activities.
Based on your symptoms, esophageal manometry might be the right procedure for you. Make an appointment with Dr. Islam to find out more information.