Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD as commonly known is a condition that occurs in the stomach. The occurrence is because the acids produced during digestion travel back into the esophagus causing a burning sensation in the food pipe. The backwash is what causes GERD and its symptoms.
Heartburn and GERD are common symptoms of indigestion and other ailments related to the stomach. Its occurrence from time to time is common and stays for a short period. It happens when there is indigestion. If the pain or burning sensation lasts for more than two weeks and occurs more than thrice in a week, it is time to seek immediate medical help.
The common symptoms that you notice when you have GERD are:
- Burning sensation in the chest
- A sour taste in the mouth
- Chest pain
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Sensation of lump in the throat.
Among the factors mentioned above, chest pain is the crucial factor. If it persists for an extended period, you require professional care. In addition to the pain, if you notice other effects such as arm pain and shortness of breath, it could be a sign of heart attack.
Seeking medical attention under such circumstances will be helpful, as the doctor will conduct tests to scale the severity of GERD. Doctors often place the condition as mild, moderate, and severe depending on the signs explained by an individual. Over the counter medicines under such conditions will be of no help.
What Tests are Used to Diagnose GERD?
Depending on the symptoms expressed, a doctor will prefer to carry out the following tests to diagnose the presence of GERD and its severity:
- The first step to diagnose GERD is determining the frequency of heartburn and its occurrence. A few people experience it after consuming certain foods or after participating in some activities such as exercises, running, or others.
- The ambulatory acid test for GERD will help in diagnosing the pH content for one complete day. The probe will continuously monitor the activity of the acids produced, their longevity, and irregularities. The test consists of the use of a probe that is thin and flexible, put through the nose into the esophagus. While one end consists of the probe, the other end contains connections attached to a computer that monitors the pH level.
- Another method to diagnose GERD consists of X-ray of the upper digestive system to allow the doctor to view the silhouette of the esophagus lining. The procedure involves the patient to drink the chalky liquid, which fills the gastrointestinal tract.
- Endoscopy to diagnose GERD is an excellent method to see the inside lining of the esophagus. The doctor will insert a flexible thin tube consisting of camera and light through the throat. The procedure is also helpful for collecting a sample of tissue to carry out the biopsy. Taking the test will help in looking at complications related to acid reflux.
- Esophageal motility testing is helpful in measuring the movement and pressure of the esophagus. The testing procedure for diagnosing GERD involves placing a catheter through the nose to the esophagus.
Treatment varies from one person to another based on the results of the tests. You can undergo anyone of the test depending on the symptoms that you share with your physician to create an appropriate treatment plan.
Treatment includes the use of medications, changes to lifestyle, and food habits. Combating acid reflux is no longer an issue, and with the treatment procedure laid according to the test results and symptoms, you will be overcoming GERD within a short period with not too much of side effects.