Tests for Diagnosing Acid Reflux in Teens

While most people think of acid reflux and heartburn as adult maladies, kids can suffer from them, too. If your teenager has been experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, his or her doctor will want to find the cause and prescribe a course of treatment.

Usually, if your teen’s heartburn symptoms improve when given proton pump inhibitors such as Prilosec or Nexium, their doctor will likely conclude that the problems are caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). If symptoms do not improve, more tests will be necessary.

The doctor may do esophageal pH monitoring. This is a test to see how much acid is present in the esophagus. The procedure involves sliding a thin, flexible tube into the esophagus to measure pH.

If esophageal damage or other digestive problems are suspected, his or her doctor may order an upper endoscopy. This can be done on an outpatient basis at clinics and surgical centers throughout the Atlanta area. During the test, the doctor will examine the esophagus, stomach and the uppermost part of the small intestine, and a topical anesthetic will be used to prevent discomfort. If necessary, tissue can be taken for biopsy during the procedure.

If there is a possibility that your child has ulcers, the doctor might order barium x-rays to diagnose them. Your teen will drink a chalky shake, and then x-rays will be taken. In the x-rays, any areas with ulcers will be apparent. This test cannot be used to detect Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), however.

 

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