Heartburn – Common Symptom of GERD and Acid Reflux
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD is what most people will refer to as
acid reflux disease. It is a medical condition where the stomach's liquefied
contents will travel back up the esophagus, sometimes into the throat. These
contents contain seriously damaging levels of pepsin and stomach acid. In
fewer cases, patients can suffer extreme damage to their esophagi.
Unfortunately, once you get gastro-esophageal reflux disease your will most
likely suffer it for some time because it is a chronic problem. When the
esophagus is damaged, it also becomes a seriously chronic problem. There are
treatments available to improve the condition of the esophagus, but if stopped
the original symptoms and suffering can return in as little as a few weeks.
However, when your doctor diagnoses you with gastro-esophageal reflux disease or
GERD, he or she will use five specific things to be sure.
One of the most common symptoms of acid reflux disease is heartburn. If your
doctor suspects that your heartburn is due to acid reflux, then he or she will
prescribe drugs that will reduce stomach acid production. Your doctor will
then assum, should your condition stop because of the medication, that you were
an acid reflux sufferer. The second diagnosis tool your doctor may recommend is
endoscopy. Your doctor will get you to swallow a tube so he can view your
esophagus internally. However, acid reflux sufferers usually have a perfectly
normal looking one. So, this form of diagnosis is only good for people with
long-term acid reflux and subquently damaged esophagi. Note that this
procedure may show other problems including an ulcer.
The next option is to have a biopsy. Usually your doctor will recommend this if
they suspect esophagus cancer. However, it is also a good diagnostic tool for
acid reflux, and can help the doctor see if there are any other causes.
The other option to diagnose acid reflux is for the doctor to examine your
larynx and your throat. The doctor may find that your larynx or throat is
inflamed, which can indicate acid reflux or other serious conditions.
The final diagnostic tool your doctor will use is to do an esophageal acid test,
which is considered to be the best way to diagnose gastro-esophageal reflux
disease. It is also considered to be not so intrusive. Basically, a tube is
inserted through your nose and moved down your throat into your esophagus for up
to twenty-four hours. A sensor at the end of the thin tube will measure the
total acid that is refluxed during this time period.
Depending on how serious your condition is, the condition you are suspected to
be suffering, and the duration of time you have been suffering your symptoms,
the doctor may use one or more of the tests. Your doctor may choose to do the
tests in a specific order to help eliminate other causes for your acid reflux.