What Is a pH Probe Study?
A pH probe test or study is used to measure the pH (acidity) and/or quantity of acidity in your esophagus over a 24-hour period.
A thin, flexible tube is passed up your nostril and down into your esophagus (this may initially make you gag or cough). An x-ray will be performed to ensure the probe is in the correct position. The tube is connected to a device, worn on your belt or over your shoulder, which monitors your acid levels and quantities. Meanwhile, you’ll go about your day as normal, but you will be asked to press buttons on the device to record the times you eat, lie down or experience symptoms. You may be asked to record your symptoms in a diary, too. Your physician will study the readings from the device on a computer once the 24-hour test is over.
You will be asked to not eat or drink for some time beforehand, and may also be asked to stop taking certain medications before the procedure too.
It’s very important to:
- Keep the probe dry
- Go about your day as you usually would, including eating and drinking as normal.
Who Needs pH Probe Studies?
A pH probe study or test may be recommended if you suffer from heartburn, chest pain, chronic and/or night-time cough, chest pain and asthma. The test will help to diagnose GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or LPR (laryngopharyngeal or ‘silent’ reflux) and determine their severity.