What Tests Do Doctors Use To Diagnose Gerd
Several tests can help a doctor diagnose GERD. Your doctor may order more than one test to make a diagnosis.
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and biopsy
In an upper GI endoscopy, a gastroenterologist, surgeon, or other trained health care professional uses an endoscope to see inside your upper GI tract. This procedure takes place at a hospital or an outpatient center.
An intravenous needle will be placed in your arm to provide a sedative. Sedatives help you stay relaxed and comfortable during the procedure. In some cases, the procedure can be performed without sedation. You will be given a liquid anesthetic to gargle or spray anesthetic on the back of your throat. The doctor carefully feeds the endoscope down your esophagus and into your stomach and duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope sends a video image to a monitor, allowing close examination of the lining of your upper GI tract. The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see.
The doctor may perform a biopsy with the endoscope by taking a small piece of tissue from the lining of your esophagus. You wont feel the biopsy. A pathologist examines the tissue in a lab.
In most cases, the procedure only diagnoses GERD if you have moderate to severe symptoms.
Read more about upper GI endoscopy.
Upper GI series
An upper GI series looks at the shape of your upper GI tract.
- hiatal hernias
- esophageal strictures
Esophageal pH and impedance monitoring
How Gastroenterologists Help With Gerd
The key to treating your GERD: a board-certified gastroenterologist
If you are suffering from chronic acid reflux, a specialist can help. GERD is a potentially serious condition, and it will not go away on its own. Untreated GERD can lead to inflammation of the esophagus and cause complications like ulcers, strictures and increased risk of Barretts esophagus, which is a precursor to esophageal cancer.
A gastroenterologist is a physician with specialized training in managing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract . Our gastroenterologists are fellowship-trained and qualified to diagnose GERD and help develop a meet your treatment plan.
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How To Use Tums Correctly
Like all medication, you should follow the instructions provided.
Generally, to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux you would take 2 tablets every 4 hours. The tablets should be chewed thoroughly or allowed to dissolve on the tongue.
You should avoid taking more than 10 tablets in any 24-hour period and the medication should be administered as soon as symptoms present.
If you regularly suffer from acid reflux, you can take a dose of Tums 1 hour after eating to keep symptoms at bay.
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What Is The Prognosis For Someone With Acid Reflux
Reflux disease is treatable, but relapses are common, especially if you do not change your lifestyle.
- For people with mild-to-moderate disease, home care and H2-blockers are generally effective.
- Severe esophagitis usually requires PPI therapy.
- If relapses occur, long-term therapy or surgery will be necessary to avoid complications.
Complications of acid reflux can include any of the following. Most of these are rare, but GERD can be the first step toward any of them. The best treatment for any of these is prevention.
- Esophagitis and esophageal ulcers: Inflammation, irritation of the lining of the esophagus
- Laryngopharyngeal reflux: When acid from the stomach gets into the throat, the voice becomes hoarse.
- Bleeding: Due to ulcers in the damaged esophageal lining
- Strictures: Narrowing of the esophagus due to chronic scarring
The Difference Between Heartburn Acid Reflux And Gerd
First, lets establish the difference between heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD . The terms are often used interchangeably, but they have different definitions. Heartburn is the term used to describe the burning sensation in your chest when acid backs up into your esophagus. Since the esophagus is behind the heart, the term heartburn was coined. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD, and it typically occurs after eating.
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Study Links Duration Of Heartburn To Severity Of Esophageal Disease
Esophageal disease may be perceived in many forms, with heartburn being the most common. The severity of heartburn is measured by how long a given episode lasts, how often symptoms occur, and/or their intensity. Since the esophageal lining is sensitive to stomach contents, persistent and prolonged exposure to these contents may cause changes such as inflammation, ulcers, bleeding and scarring with obstruction. A pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus may also occur. Barrett’s esophagus causes severe damage to the lining of the esophagus when the body attempts to protect the esophagus from acid by replacing its normal lining with cells that are similar to the intestinal lining.
Research was conducted to determine whether the duration of heartburn symptoms increases the risk of having esophageal complications. The study found that inflammation in the esophagus not only increased with the duration of reflux symptoms, but that Barrett’s esophagus likewise was more frequently diagnosed in these patients. Those patients with reflux symptoms and a history of inflammation in the past were more likely to have Barrett’s esophagus than those without a history of esophageal inflammation.
When To Call The Doctor About Heartburn Or Reflux
If you have any of the following heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms or conditions, contact your doctor.
- Your heartburn symptoms have become more severe or frequent.
- You are having difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing, especially with solid foods or pills.
- Your heartburn is causing you to have nausea or vomiting .
- Youve experienced a drastic or unexplained weight loss accompanied by heartburn.
- You have a chronic cough, choking sensation or sense of a lump in your throat.
- You have been using over-the-counter antacid medications for more than two weeks , and you still have heartburn symptoms.
- You have heartburn symptoms even after taking prescription or nonprescription medications.
- You have chronic hoarseness or wheezing, or your asthma has worsened.
- Your discomfort interferes with your lifestyle or daily activities.
- You are having chest pain accompanied by pain in the neck, jaw, arms, or legs shortness of breath, weakness, irregular pulse, or sweating.
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What Nonprescription Medications Treat Acid Reflux
Over-the-counter medications also may help relieve your symptoms. Check with your health-care professional before trying any of these.
Antacids : These are effective when taken 1 hour after meals and at bedtime because they neutralize acid already present.
- Some are combined with a foaming agent. Foam in the stomach helps prevent acid from backing up into the esophagus.
- These agents are safe to use every day over a few weeks, but if taken over a longer period can cause side effects:
- Impaired metabolism of calcium in the body
- Build-up of magnesium in the body, which can damage the kidneys
Histamine-2 receptor blockers prevent acid production.
- H2-blockers are effective only if taken at least 1 hour before meals because they don’t affect acid that is already present.
- Common H2-blockers are cimetidine , famotidine , ranitidine , and nizatidine .
If self-care and treatment with nonprescription medication does not work, your health-care professional likely will prescribe one of a class of stronger antacids. This therapy may be needed only for a short time or over a longer period while you make gradual changes in your lifestyle.
Who Is The Most Likely To Get Heartburn
While no one is exempt from heartburn, OB/GYNs say there are certain factors that make it more likely for pregnant women. For instance, women who experience heartburn before pregnancy are also more likely to experience heartburn during pregnancy. Women who are overweight or obese prior to pregnancy also tend to be more likely to have heartburn during this time. And expecting moms who drink coffee during pregnancy are at increased risk for heartburn symptoms.4
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When Do I See A Doctor About My Acid Reflux
- When Do I See A Doctor About My Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux or heartburn is a common occurrence for most people, where some of the acids in the stomach leak into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation in the chest and throat. Typically, if reflux happens multiple times a week or is severe at least once per week, your reflux may have advanced to Gastroesophageal reflux disease .
While Acid reflux is seemingly harmless, chronic acid reflux or GERD can eventually increase the risk of esophageal cancer when left unaddressed.
There are multiple factors that can cause acid reflux, including:
- Failure of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter
- Lying down immediately following a large meal
- Regular use of blood pressure medications, certain muscle relaxers, ibuprofen, or aspirin
- Eating certain foods, such as chocolate, garlic, onions, spicy or fatty foods, and anything with citrus
- Frequently drinking carbonated beverages, coffee, tea, or alcohol
What Home Remedies Treat And Soothe Acid Reflux
For some people, acid reflux symptoms may be relieved by changing habits, diet, and lifestyle. The following steps may reduce reflux.
- Don’t eat within 3 hours of bedtime. This allows your stomach to empty and acid production to decrease.
- Don’t lie down right after eating at any time of day.
- Elevate the head of your bed 6 inches with blocks. Gravity helps prevent reflux.
- Don’t eat large meals. Eating a lot of food at one time increases the amount of acid needed to digest it. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
- Avoid fatty or greasy foods, chocolate, caffeine, mints or mint-flavored foods, spicy foods, citrus, and tomato-based foods. These foods decrease the competence of the lower esophageal sphincter .
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol increases the likelihood that acid from your stomach will back up.
- Stop smoking. Smoking weakens the lower esophageal sphincter and increases reflux.
- Lose excess weight. Overweight and obese people are much more likely to have bothersome reflux than people of healthy weight.
- Stand upright or sit up straight, maintain good posture. This helps food and acid pass through the stomach instead of backing up into the esophagus.
- Talk to your health-care professional about taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen , or medicines for osteoporosis. These can aggravate reflux in some people.
Talk to your health-care professional if you need tips on losing weight or quitting smoking.
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What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
What Should You Know About Heartburn
Heartburn is a symptom that feels like a burning in your chest, and is a symptom of acid reflux .
Do most people get heartburn?
Heartburn is more common during pregnancy. Most people get heartburn after meals, but can also awaken people while they are sleeping. People also may experience heartburn after eating specific foods or drinking certain beverages.
What can heartburn be a sign or symptom of?
How can you tell if you are having a heart attack or heartburn?
- If you think that you are having a heart attack, call 911 immediately to save your life.
- A heart attack and heartburn can have the same symptoms, for example, be the same, for example, heartburn is a symptom of another disease or condition, for example, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting.
- Heart attack signs and symptoms that are not the same as in heartburn include, for example, dizziness, toothache, and headache while heartburn symptoms include problems swallowing, persistant sore throat, hoarseness, laryngitis or reflux laryngitis.
How can you get rid of heartburn?
Heartburn can be relieved and cured for many people with lifestyle changes, for example,
- eat a healthy diet,
- sleep with your head elevated with pillow.
- Over-the-counter, prescription, and surgery may be necessary to cure heartburn.
Antacids For Acid Reflux Relief
Acid reflux is a common illness with many sufferers across the world. The condition is caused by digestive acid moving from the stomach into the esophagus which can then cause a burning sensation in the throat and chest.
One of the main treatments for acid reflux are antacids. Antacids are a group of medications that work by neutralizing stomach acid. They normally come in tablet form but can also be administered as a liquid.
Antacids offer quick relief from the symptoms of acid reflux and have few side effects when taken at the suggested dosage.
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How Is It Treated
LPR is treated in pretty much the same way that traditional reflux, or GERD , is treated. Interestingly, although smaller amounts of reflux can cause LPR symptoms without causing GERD symptoms, we often need to treat LPR with higher doses of reflux medications than are needed for GERD.
Your doctor will ask you to follow a low acid diet. Many of the foods and drinks that we consume contain high levels of acid, and it is important to eliminate these. Processed foods may be highly acidic. Other problematic foods include fatty/greasy foods, tomatoes and tomato-based products, citrus fruits and juices, caffeine, and carbonated beverages.
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If You Go Prescription
Both histamine blockers and PPIs began as prescription remedies but are now available over the counter, which leaves doctor-prescribed options relatively limited.
The majority of prescription medications are PPIs and do not differ substantially from the OTC version, says Jeffrey Tipton, DO, MPH, medical director at CareMore in Cerritos, Calif. Patients are sometimes prescribed medications such as Reglan that increase motility in the GI tract. Like most medications, these are helpful for some and not for others.
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When To See A Doctor About Heartburn
Heartburn that becomes chronic is whats known as gastroesophageal reflux disease . The remedies above can help relieve or prevent occasional heartburn, but GERD is a serious condition that requires medical attention to treat effectively. Make an appointment to see a gastroenterologist if you experience any of the following:
- Heartburn that occurs more than twice per week
- Heartburn that keeps you awake at night
- Heartburn that causes forceful or projectile vomiting, vomiting blood or vomiting a green or yellow fluid or substance that looks like coffee grounds
- Difficulty swallowing, or pain in your mouth or throat when eating
- Heartburn that doesnt go away after taking medications for two weeks
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When You Have A Cough That Just Won’t Go Away
There are any number of reasons for why you may have a chronic cough, from a respiratory tract infection to bronchitis. But often, a chronic cough is a symptom of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease . It’s not just a persistent cough, though — heartburn frequently occurs in conjunction with symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing. Of course, you may not have the chest pain that accompanies heartburn, so you may not think that you’re actually seeing a doctor for heartburn until you get the diagnosis. Since the constant coughing can do damage to the esophagus, it’s important to seek treatment so that permanent harm isn’t done.
What Are The Remedies For Heartburns
- standing tall and raising your upper body
- combining baking soda and water
- attempting ginger
- Using chewing gum to dilute acid
- avoiding the inhalation of cigarette smoke
- experimenting with over-the-counter drugs
Contact your doctor if you have any of the following heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms or problems:
- Two or more times per week, you get heartburn.
- Heartburn symptoms that persist despite using over-the-counter medications for more than two weeks.
- Nausea, vomiting, swallowing difficulties, loss of appetite, or unexpected weight loss.
- If you had a significant or unexplained weight reduction accompanied by heartburn.
- If you are having diarrhoea, black, or bloody bowel motions.
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If Your Heartburn Lasts Longer Than Two Weeks
Occasional heartburn may not require a visit to the doctor, but if you have heartburn that occurs several times a week, for more than two weeks, then its time to go to the doctor. For most people, the symptom can be controlled with either over-the-counter or prescription medications. However, in rare instances, that constant heartburn can indicate a far more serious condition. Because heartburn damages the esophagus tissue, you may be at risk for a precancerous condition known as Barretts esophagus. That, in turn, puts a person at risk for esophageal cancer, which is the fastest-growing cancer in the United States . To determine the extent of esophageal damage, a doctor will perform an endoscopy, in which a tube is slid down the throat to the esophagus. In some cases, surgery to reinforce the esophageal sphincter may be recommended, so if you suffer from heartburn very frequently, consult your doctor.
The following are the various tips to manage gastritis
- Avoid smoking and limit the amount of alcohol.
- Avoid prolonging the use of pain-relieving medications.
- Eat frequent, smaller meals.
- Avoid foods that irritate the stomach lining, such as acidic foods, processed and high-sugar foods.
- Essential oils to limit or prevent the growth of H. pylori.
- Manage stress through exercise and meditation