Diagnosing and Treating Acid Reflux

It's time to get your acid reflux checked out. Learn how it's diagnosed and treated.
It’s time to get your acid reflux checked out. Learn how it’s diagnosed and treated.
Acid reflux can interfere with your everyday life. If you are one of the millions of Americans suffering with this condition, talk with your doctor to find a suitable treatment.

How does a doctor diagnose acid reflux?

You doctor will use a special X-ray machine called the barium swallow radiograph to take a look at your esophagus. You’ll drink some barium, which will allow your doctor to see if you have any changes in your esophagus. You could still have acid reflux without the X-ray picking up any abnormalities, so your doctor might try a different tactic, like an endoscopy.

During an endoscopy, a small camera is placed on a tube and inserted into your throat. Your doctor will give you a sedative to help you relax and make the procedure more comfortable. It usually takes about 20 minutes. Again, it’s not guaranteed to detect changes, but it is another tool doctors can use to check for the condition.

In addition to these tests, your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms. The most common symptoms are chronic heartburn and a burning sensation in the throat, according to WebMD.

There are treatments for acid reflux.
There are treatments for acid reflux.
What are the treatment options?

Treatment options vary from patient to patient. For some, diet and lifestyle changes are the answer. You’ll want to avoid foods and beverages that trigger acid reflux. Common food triggers include citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods, onions, garlic and tomatoes. You should also avoid drinks like coffee, tea, soda and alcohol.

A change in sleeping habits can also improve acid reflux. Try propping your head up while you sleep and don’t eat two hours before you get into bed.

For some, diet and lifestyle changes aren’t enough. Antacids can provide temporary, quick relief, but if they aren’t enough, you can get prescription medications like Nexium or Pepcid AC.

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