GERD Center

GERD Diagnosis

The side effects of GERD can be severe, so early diagnosis and treatment is key to good health.  Gastroesophagul reflux disease can cause irreversible damage to the esophagus or even esophageal cancer in some cases.

If notice any symptoms of GERD, be sure schedule a visit to your doctor's office immediately.  You may be referred to specialist in diseases of the digestive tract (gastroenterologist) to check severe GERD symptoms or to get an opinion about surgery. If you are thinking about having surgery, you may also be referred to a general surgeon who has experience treating stomach and esophagus problems. The following health professionals can evaluate symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease and help diagnose the problem(s):

  • Family medicine doctor
  • General practice doctor
  • Internist
  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Obstetrician or gynecologist, if you are pregnant
  • Physician assistant (PA)
  • Pediatrician, if you think your child has GERD symptoms

Medical exams
Generally, a diagnosis of GERD is done symptomatically. Doctors have many ways to confirm GERD.  The tests your doctor may recommend will be based on which specific GERD symptoms manifest by individual case. The following diagnostic tests may be performed to confirm or exclude a case of GERD:

Acid perfusion test or Bernstein test - This test is used to determine if chest pain caused is due to acid reflux. During this test, both an acidic solution and a salty solution are passed through the nostril into the middle of the esophagus to test if pain is caused by acid reflux, or not.

Endoscopy - During an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, or Esophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy (EGD), a person swallows an optical system to visualize the lining of esophagus, stomach and duodenum. An endoscope can confirm an inflamed lining of the esophagus (esophagitis), ulcers, possible cancers, and complications due to GERD.

Esophageal acid testing - This type of testing is referred to as the "gold standard" for diagnosing GERD. Basically, the quantity of acid a person produces is compared to a standard via the 24-hour esophageal ph test or with the help of a wireless capsule attached to the esophagus. The occurrence of acid refluxes are measured, recorded and compared to the standard.

Esophageal motility testing: - Motility testing of the esophagus determines the strength of working muscles of the esophagus evaluates esophageal contraction movements.

Physical exam - A physical examination of the throat and larynx may be necessary if symptoms of cough, hoarseness or sore throat are observed.

X-rays - This diagnostic imaging test was used before the introduction of endoscopy during which X-ray films of the esophagus (esophagogram) after a person swallowed barium (contrast material) to trace the movement of contrasting material through esophagus. The purpose of barium x-ray testing is to detect ulcers and strictures in the GI tract.

The effects of gastroesophageal reflux disease can be very harmful to your health and it is a necessity that you get diagnosed by a professional as soon as your notice symptoms of the disease.  Once you do, they will be able to treat the problem.  But what treatment are currently available? And when is surgery required? Continue reading the next section on Treating GERD to learn more about treatment options for gastroesophageal reflux disease or treatment GERD cure now.

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