Questions about pH monitoring/impedance tests... how did you feel versus results?

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 656
   Posted 1/8/2012 7:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey y'all! Sorry I'm Little Miss Questions lately, but I'm going home for a visit in about 4 months (first in two years!!) and I'm desperately trying to figure out how to help myself/understand things.

Any of you who have had either or both tests, how were your symptoms versus what the tests showed? Here is why I ask:

I was just reading about pH monitoring and impedance testing from the WebMD website. It said there that when having these tests done, you should NOT eat an acidic meal as it may mess with the results.

To this I scream: WHY NOT?!?!?!?!

I understand that it's just trying to see how much stuff your stomach spits up into your esophagus, but for some of us sometimes, that isn't until we eat a trigger food. Or does reflux happen to some people all the time and is painless?

It seems silly to me to stick to my brown rice and vegetable routine and have nothing show up on the test... what happens if I go to Italy someday??

My next test up is an ultrasound 17 January (I'm guessing to check for gallstones), but nothing besides that. I'm calling the doc in the morning to see what the GI said.

I am feeling great and trying to stay optimistic but I'm going to be going to a lot of family dinners while I'm in America and that is always a minefield for me and I'm starting to get very nervous.

Subquestion! When you guys want to eat something bad, do you do it without looking back because you're going to enjoy it? I myself am a nervous wreck when I'm in a situation with little to no safe food. I'm hoping that some other perspectives will help me here.

Thanks all, I hope we're all feeling well today!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 5013
   Posted 1/8/2012 7:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Just go with what your specific center orders. They're all a little different. No use worrying about the tests, although it's nice to know what to expect so you can cooperate and get the test done the first time, not have to repeat it.

Do you know your specific triggers? It would be a good idea to avoid those foods in any case. It's lots better to be comfortable.

The tests aren't fun, but without them you can't get an accurate reading of length of the esophagus, how well you swallow, etc. If you need surgery it's really important to have as much information as possible to make everything go smoothly.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 1/8/2012 7:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Ashley --

I think PPI-LESS mentioned he had had the impedence test, and it came back negative...even though he has symptoms. It's true that reflux comes and goes depending upon a lot of factors, and certainly your chances are better with a 48-hour test to catch something than with a 24-hour one. In my case, I don't usually notice the reflux when it happens, but the Bravo study showed tons of episodes.

As far as not eating an acidic meal -- at least with the Bravo study -- you're recording your meals on a diary, so, those periods are factored in to the analysis. I would say go ahead and eat what you're accustomed to.

My most recent GI requested that I get an impedence test done, but I couldn't find anyone within 150 miles that still does the test. It has largely been replaced by the Bravo, but it does provide some unique info that the Bravo does not.

My first Bravo almost a year ago showed over 100 episodes of reflux during the 48 hours, and I was pretty uncomfortable during that time. However, the Bravo I had in October showed that I'm in the "normal" range, yet I'm still struggling with LPR symptoms following the TIF surgery in August. Your mileage may vary, but I think you can be confident that if you have a reflux problem, it will show up.

I normally eat a bland diet most of the time, anyway, and don't eat meat or spicy dishes. So, I very rarely consume any trigger foods. Don't drink soda, coffee, or tea either -- not because of the reflux, just because I never developed the habit.

Have fun traveling, and good luck with your tests!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 1/8/2012 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Aeshley,

I have had 2 or 3 ph tests and 1 impedence test done (while taking a PPI). I was never very satisfied with my symptoms during the day of the test, I felt they took the day off and was a bit upset (I wanted a 'normal' day that would reflect what was going on). When I had the impedence test, I was on 80mg Nexium per day and it showed no acid reflux. The only odd number was non-acid reflux, which was high but still not horribly high. My tests always came back 'borderline' acid reflux, although I did have a demeester score of 50+. The doc told me that was based on how its calculated though, and that I really wasn't that bad.

When I had the tests done I was told I could have anything I wanted. Nobody prohibited acidic foods, they just said I could indeed eat and drink what I wanted.

Subquestion answer: I follow a strict diet almost always. Just visited family for 2 weeks and didn't bend, despite all the "but you can eat that" crap that I was told. The only time I'll break my diet is if I am caught off-guard out or something, b/c I feel better eating than going hungry. I'll still try to find something that works for me. BUT, I can say that I usually have better symptoms when I eat out, especially mediterranean food. So I don't get it, but I do follow reflux-friendly dieting anyway b/c I want to do all I can for myself.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 739
   Posted 1/8/2012 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, agree with Alcie about the not fun tests. I have had 2-3 motility tests done, and that is by far the worst test I have ever had. It might just be me, but I find it extremely uncomfortable and always have my eyes watering and struggle to not swallow when I am not supposed to.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 377
   Posted 1/8/2012 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I've had the following types of pH tests:
#1 Dual Sensor pH (@Jamie Koufman in NYC in May 2011)
#2 Regular pH test at my new GI in Oct 2011
#3 pH-impedance test at my new GI in Dec 2011

#1 showed +ve reflux - both in the throat and in the esophagus (distal and proximal) - more so in the throat than in the esophagus.
#2 showed no reflux
#3 showed +ve reflux (5% supine, 8% upright)

As you know I can not take any medications - so all the tests above were done while I was not on any meds. I don't know why #2 did not show any reflux - since I thought I was refluxing that day. I strongly suspect there was something wrong with the instrument that day.

I was told to eat anything I wanted to get as realistic results as possible.

These are the only tests that have indicated reflux ... everything else has come back -ve for me (barium swallow, endoscopy, manometry etc.).
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