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Heartburn

Diagnosis

  • Endoscopy

    for 1 last update 2019/12/15 EndoscopyEndoscopy

    Endoscopy

    An endoscopy procedure involves inserting a long, flexible tube (endoscope) down your throat and into your esophagus. A tiny camera on the end of the endoscope lets your doctor examine your esophagus, stomach and the beginning of your small intestine (duodenum).

To determine if your heartburn is a symptom of GERD, your doctor may recommend:

  • X-ray, to view the shape and condition of your esophagus and stomach.
  • Endoscopy, to check for abnormalities in your esophagus. A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken for analysis.
  • Ambulatory acid probe tests, to identify when, and for how long, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. An acid monitor that is placed in your esophagus connects to a small computer that you wear around your waist or on a strap over your shoulder.
  • Esophageal motility testing, to measure movement and pressure in your esophagus.

More Information

Treatment

Many over-the-counter medications can help relieve heartburn. The options include:

  • Antacids, which help neutralize stomach acid. Antacids may provide quick relief. But they can''t act as quickly as antacids, but may provide longer relief.
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as lansoprazole (Prevacid 24HR) and omeprazole (Nexium 24HR, Prilosec OTC), which also can reduce stomach acid.

If over-the-counter treatments don''s not possible, insert a wedge between your mattress and box spring to elevate your body from the waist up. Raising your head with additional pillows usually isn''s ability to function properly.

  • Avoid large meals. Instead eat many small meals throughout the day.
  • Preparing for your appointment

    You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in disorders of the digestive system (gastroenterologist).

    What you can do

    • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions, such as not eating solid food on the day before your appointment.
    • Write down your symptoms, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason why you scheduled the appointment.
    • Make a list of all your medications, vitamins and supplements.
    • Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
    • Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
    • Ask a relative or friend to accompany you, to help you remember what the doctor says.
    • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

    Questions to ask your doctor

    • What''ve prepared to ask your doctor, don''s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 2, 2018.
    • Kahrilas PJ. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 2, 2018.
    • Warning signs of a heart attack. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_002039_Article.jsp#.WqFIR66nF0w. Accessed March 8, 2018.
    • Goldman L, et al., eds. Gastrointestinal endoscopy. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 2, 2018.
    • Kahrilas PJ. Pathophysiology of reflux esophagitis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 2, 2018.
    • Winter HS. Management of gastroesophageal reflux disease in children and adolescents. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 2, 2018.
    • Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. March 15, 2018.

    Related

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