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Main > Specialty Areas > Gastroenterology >
Heartburn and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Heartburn Diagnosis

After telling your doctor about your heartburn problem, he may ask you about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. He or she will usually make an initial diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) based on your symptoms. In some cases, other tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis or exclude other disorders.

Some of the diagnostic tests are:

pH Monitoring

A probe is placed in the esophagus to keep track of the level of acidity in the lower esophagus. This is done over a 24-hour period.

Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Series

A series of x-rays of the upper digestive system are taken after drinking a barium solution.

Manometry

This test measures muscle pressures in the lower esophagus.

Endoscopy

A thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera attached is passed down the throat to examine the esophagus and stomach.

Biopsy

A small sample of tissue from the esophagus is removed. It is then studied to check for inflammation, cancer, or other problems.

‹‹ Symptoms of Heartburn Treatment of Heartburn ››

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If you are known to have a severe anaphylactic reaction, carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) shot with you at all times. Pay attention to expiration date and replace it regularly: upon expiration, it loses its effectiveness.

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Acyclovir is a medication that is used to treat herpes infections of the skin, lips and genitals, chicken pox and shingles. It comes in the form of ointments, tablets, capsules or liquids. It relieves pain and itchiness and promotes healing; however, it does not cure the condition. Possible (but not common) side effects include headaches, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Severe side effects, such as severe rash or itching, blood in the urine, stomach pain or fever are even less common, but require prompt medical attention.



 
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