Do you ever wake up at night with severe heartburn or chest pain? If so, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). At Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists, the board-certified physicians understand the discomfort associated with GERD and work to find a treatment solution that’s right for you. With the help of Bravo pH monitoring studies, they can get you feeling better in no time. If you live in or near Honolulu or Aiea, Hawaii, call the office today to schedule your initial consultation. You can even use the online booking tool.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as GERD, occurs when you develop chronic and severe heartburn or indigestion. It results in inflammation and irritation of your esophagus, where your throat and stomach meet, and causes pain in the middle of your chest, beneath your breastbone.
GERD manifests in a range of symptoms, including:
GERD symptoms may come and go, or they may worsen with specific foods or activities.
At the bottom of your esophagus is your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is responsible for closing and sealing the backflow of food and acid from your stomach into your esophagus. When this sphincter weakens, it no longer seals the stomach from the throat, allowing stomach acid back into the esophagus. It often becomes worse when lying down or bending over.
When left untreated, the stomach acids that lead into the esophagus can erode the sensitive tissue, causing ulcers and bleeding. Over time, these wounds can lead to the buildup of scar tissue and narrow your esophagus, making it hard to swallow. You can also develop Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that may be a precursor to esophageal cancer.
While most cases of GERD can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes (such as elevating the head of your bed and eating slowly), in severe cases, you may need surgery.
If your doctor thinks you have GERD, they may recommend a Bravo pH monitoring study, which measures the amount of reflux that travels into your esophagus. This study can help your doctor diagnose GERD and also allow them to determine if your treatment is working.
During this procedure, your gastroenterologist inserts a thin plastic catheter through one nostril, down the back of your throat, and into your esophagus. Using the end of the catheter, your doctor clips a small capsule to your esophagus, right above your LES. This capsule contains a stomach acid sensor, a transmitter, and a battery.
For the next 2-3 days, every time acid passes the sphincter and into your esophagus, the sensor records it and transmits the information to a recorder you wear on your waist. After 2-3 days, the battery dies and stops transmitting information. In 5-7 days, the capsule falls off, and you pass it naturally through your digestive system.
You return to the office, and the information is downloaded for the doctor to review. You do not have to retrieve the capsule.
If chronic heartburn keeps you up at night, find a solution at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists. Call today to schedule your appointment or do it online.