1304 Somerville Rd.
Decatur, AL 35601
© 2011. Riverside Gastroenterology
1304 Somerville Rd., Decatur, AL 35601
Testing & Diagnosis
You may not need any tests if your symptoms are not severe.
If your symptoms are severe or they come back after you have been treated, one or more tests may help diagnose reflux or any complications:
• An upper endoscopy (EGD) is often used to identify the cause and examine the esophagus (swallowing tube) for damage. The doctor inserts a thin tube with a camera on the end through your mouth. The tube is then passed into your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine.
• Barium swallow
• Continuous esophageal pH monitoring
• Esophageal manometry
• Occult blood test may diagnose bleeding from the irritation in the esophagus.
To prevent heartburn, avoid foods and beverages that may trigger your symptoms. For many people, these include:
• Carbonated beverages
• Citrus fruits and juices
• Tomato sauces
• Spicy or fatty foods
• Full-fat dairy products
If other foods regularly give you heartburn, avoid those foods, too.
Also, try the following changes to your eating habits and lifestyle:
• Avoid bending over or exercising just after eating
• Avoid garments or belts that fit tightly around your waist
• Do not lie down with a full stomach. For example, avoid eating within 2 - 3 hours of bedtime.
• Do not smoke.
• Eat smaller meals.
• Lose weight if you are overweight.
• Reduce stress.
• Sleep with your head raised about 6 inches. Do this by tilting your entire bed, or by using a wedge under your body, not just with normal pillows.
Over-the-counter antacids may be used after meals and at bedtime, although they do not last very long. Common side effects of antacids include diarrhea or constipation.
Other over-the-counter and prescription drugs can treat GERD. They work more slowly than antacids but give you longer relief. Your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse can tell you how to take these drugs.
• Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are the most potent acid inhibitors: omeprazole (Prilosec), esomeprazole (Nexium), iansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (AcipHex), and pantoprazole (Protonix)
• H2 antagonists: famotidine (Pepsid), cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), and nizatidine (Axid)
• Promotility agents: metoclopramide (Reglan)
Anti-reflux operations (Nissen fundoplication and others) may be an option for patients whose symptoms do not go away with lifestyle changes and drugs. Heartburn and other symptoms should improve after surgery, but you may still need to take drugs for your heartburn. There are also new therapies for reflux that can be performed through an endoscope (a flexible tube passed through the mouth into the stomach).