1. Imaging tests
There are a series of imaging tests that works well to diagnose the problem of gas in the digestive tract. These include a computerized tomography (CT) scan of abdomen. This is the initial test which the doctors recommend to diagnose this problem. It involves taking multiple X-rays of the body from different angles. This series of X-rays help the doctors to determine the exact cause. Other imaging tests used for the diagnosis of gas are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound, which produce clear pictures of the human body without making use of the X-rays. Instead, they use a large magnet, radio waves and computer to produce images.
2. Contrast X-rays
This makes use of barium that may be either swallowed or inserted in the rectum to track any abnormalities in the digestive tract so that it shows up better on X-ray. This is a non-invasive medical test to diagnose and treat medical conditions. It basically involves exposing a part of the body to a small dose of an ionizing radiation. It further leads to production of pictures of the inside the body. Side effects related to this diagnostic test are that there is a slight chance of developing cancer if the person is exposed to excessive radiation. One of the best attribute of this test is that the diagnosis results are accurate. Certain precautions need to be taken for those who are allergic to some strains of barium. If a pregnancy is suspected, the same must be informed to the physician to avoid chances of any harm to the baby.
The endoscopy done to diagnose the problem of gas is known as gastrointestinal endoscopy. It enables the doctor to clearly see the inside lining of the digestive tract. The test is performed with the help of an endoscope having a little TV camera at the end. The camera used here is connected to an eyepiece which allows direct viewing. The best attribute of this test is that it is both a diagnostic test and treatment of the gastrointestinal (GI) disease. Endoscopy procedure can be performed on either basis, may it be an outpatient or inpatient one. It could include a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or an upper endoscopy.
4. Breath tests
A breath test is recommended by the doctor if the patient is suspected to be lactose intolerant. The initial requirement in this test is to drink a solution containing glucose. This would enable the medical practitioner to measure the amount of hydrogen in your breath. Excess of the hydrogen amount is an indication of lactose intolerance. Measurement of hydrogen in the breath is further used to diagnose several conditions causing gastrointestinal symptoms. Hydrogen is released by the bacteria on being exposed to unabsorbed foods, particularly sugars and carbohydrates. The side effects of this test include bloating, distention, diarrhea and pain. Use of lactose is an effective way to keep these symptoms mild.
5. pH test
This test is considered for measuring hydrogen ions in the blood. The level of hydrogen ions is considered to be normal if it lies between 7.35 – 7.45. If the pH goes less than 7.0 it is known to be acidic, and if greater than 7.0, it’s considered to be basic or alkaline. Kidneys can excrete and reabsorb bicarbonates if there is an acid-base imbalance. It is a fact that if the lungs fail to to release sufficient amounts of carbon dioxide, it could lead to an increase in carbonic acid in the body. This would ultimately affect the pH, leading to acidosis. The side effect of esophageal pH monitoring is that the capsule device may cause discomfort in the chest during swallowing.
6. Oxygen saturation
The oxygen saturation test measures the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The normal rate of oxygen saturation is 95 to 100 percent. If it goes below 90 percent, it is an indication of serious health problems and must be given immediate attention. It is also used to assess a person’s response to medications and for ensuring that the current oxygen level is adequate. It involves placing a pulse oximeter probe on the ear or fingertip and requires a mere few seconds. Healthy oxygen levels can be maintained by refraining from smoking and exercising regularly.
7. Test for partial pressure of carbon dioxide
This test is done to measure the amount of carbon dioxide that is dissolved in the blood. It also measures the effectiveness of carbon dioxide that is being released. Normal PaC02 ranges from 35 to 45 mm/Hg. If the person who is being tested hyperventilates or breathes faster than normal, then it is known that he is releasing more carbon dioxide than normal. This would result in a low PaC02. On the other hand, if the person is hypoventilating or breathing slower than normal i.e. less than 12 to 15 breaths per minute, then PaC02 will be retained.