An Understanding Of The Medical Tests Required If You Have Acid Reflux Symptoms
by Evelyn Lim
If you have acid reflux symptoms, you ought to consult a doctor.
Your doctor would have to determine how serious your acid reflux or gestroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is. He may require
you to go through a series of tests at each stage of the development of your disease. He can then prescribe the appropriate
treatment, using the results from these tests.
Your doctor is going to ask you some questions about your acid reflux
symptoms for a start. You will need to describe about the burning, warmth, heat or pain sensation just behind the breastbone.
This acid reflux symptom is commonly referred to as the heartburn.
If you have frequent or severe cases of heartburn,
then your doctor will usually prescribe you some medications for treatment. If your symptoms improve after taking the medications,
then your doctor will usually diagnose you with acid reflux disease and do not require you to go for more testing.
if your acid reflux symptoms get worse, your doctor may refer you to a specialist called a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist
will perform a test called an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. This test lets him examine the inner lining of your esophagus,
stomach and the first part of your small intestine via a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope.
An endoscopy is
used for many reasons. First, it is used to evaluate the esophagus for inflammation. Second, it can be used to rule out Barretts
esophagus, another acid reflux complication. Finally, it is used to rule out other diseases such as ulcers or cancer. An endoscopy
is usually ordered in the cases where if your symptoms do not improve after taking medication, your symptoms come back immediately
after medication is stopped, you have had acid reflux symptoms for a long time, or there are other serious accompanying symptoms
such as weight loss, vomiting of blood or problems with swallowing.
You may also have to undergo an esophageal test.
This is needed if the endoscopy cannot provide enough evidence about the cause of your acid reflux symptoms. An esophageal
test is usually ordered if your symptoms are not treated with medication, if you have frequent symptoms that put you at high
risk of Barrett's esophagus or if you need long-term therapy for you condition.
Esophageal testing includes manometry
testing that can help determine how well the muscles of your esophagus move food into your stomach and how tight the valve
between the esophagus and the stomach is when it closes. You will usually need this test before a surgery treatment for your
acid reflux disease.
PH monitoring can also be used. PH monitoring is another test, which looks at how often the stomach
acid gets into the esophagus and how long it remains there.
X-rays of the esophagus or stomach are not usually taken
for acid reflux disease but can sometimes be ordered. They are used to determine if there is another problem that can be causing
your acid reflux symptoms. These problems can be a hiatal hernia or a narrowing of the esophagus, called a stricture. These
X-rays are usually done as a part of a series of testings known as an upper gastrointestinal or UGI series.
will order the appropriate tests based on the acid reflux symptoms that you are experiencing. It is useful to get an idea
about what the various tests that your doctor orders for you are for. You can then decide which acid reflux treatment is best,
according to the severity of your condition.