GERD or Gastro esophageal reflux disease is a state when the liquid content of the stomach comes back into the esophagus. There are number of diagnostic tests for GERD, but doctors may not recommend comprehensive testing for GERD for those who suffer from symptoms such as burning, warmth, or pain just behind the breastbone namely heartburn. Before recommending GERD tests your doctor will however suggest that you go in for some medication to help relieve the symptoms. If there is some improvement with the medicines, then there is no need for GERD tests, and it is accepted that you suffer from GERD. However, this method has its limitations and it is best to go in for GERD testing.
Based on what your symptoms are, your doctor may ask you to consult a specialist who in turn will recommend you go for a test called an upper gastro intestinal endoscopy. The doctor views the inner lining of your stomach and duodenum and esophagus with the help of a thin instrument called an endoscope. This may not be a completely foolproof method in diagnosing GERD, but sometimes an inflammation of the esophagus and an ulcer in the lining helps in making a confident diagnosis.
Some doctors may recommend that you go in for a test known as an esophageal test. This test checks the movement of the muscles in the esophagus and how well they help in moving food into the stomach. It also checks the stability of the valve that connects the esophagus and stomach shuts.
Sometimes a simple examination of your throat and larynx may be indicative of the fact that you have GERD. If you have symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, and a hoarse voice then you may be having GERD.
Another test known as the Bernstein Test or the Acid Perfusion Test helps in determining if acid reflux is causing chest pain. It involves pouring an acid solution and a physiologic salt solution into the esophagus. This is done with a catheter that goes through the patient’s nostril. If there is some amount of pain when the solution is poured it should be understood that this is because of acid reflux.
X-rays may not directly help in diagnosing GERD, but could help in identifying other problems such as hiatal hernia that may be cause you some GERD symptoms. It is best to speak with your doctor about the GERD test you should go in for.