How Acid Reflux Disease, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is Diagnosed
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How Acid Reflux Disease, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is Diagnosed

There are several tests that can be performed to determine if someone has acid reflux disorder or GERD

Frequent heartburn may be a symptom of a condition called acid reflux disorder, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When you go to the doctor, he or she may be able to diagnose your condition from the symptoms you describe, or the doctor may run more tests just to be certain.

The typical tests for Gerd include:

An X-ray of your upper digestive system

These tests known as GI tests, often involve taking a chalky substance called a barium swallow, to coat the lining of the digestive tract, so that the doctor can evaluate the condition of the stomach, duodenum (upper intestine) and the esophagus.


An endoscopy is a long tube that inserted in the throat. It has a light and a camera attached so that the doctor or technician can see the condition of the esophagus and stomach. The doctor will sometimes take a sample of tissue using the endoscopy. This sample is called a biopsy and would be necessary if a rare cancer known as as Barrett's esophagus is a risk factor.

Acid tests

Ambulatory acid (pH) probe tests will determine when stomach acid is present in the esophagus and how long it remains there. Your doctor may ask you to stop your GERD medication while this test is being conducted. This acid test is done by inserting a tube through the nose all the way down the esophagus. This tube is connected on the outside by a monitor which is attached around your waist, or it may be attached at the shoulder. Another way to attach the monitor is to use a clip that is inserted directly into the esophagus. The clip will transfer images and will slip off in about two days and pass through your feces.

Esophageal motility testing

Esophageal motility testing is another test where a tube (catheter) is inserted down the nose to measure pressure and any movement of the esophagus.

These tests do sound scary but they are not painful. The technician is well trained and you will be given a narcotic to avoid any possible discomfort as well as a sedative to help you relax. The technicians will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen throughout the procedure to make sure you are okay. You will also be given oxygen so don't worry; you will still be able to breath. After the procedure is performed the nose and throat may be a bit sore, and it is possible to have some bleeding from some of the tests.


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Comments (1)

Great explanation of how the condition is diagnosed for the sufferers of GERD.Promoted.