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Diagnosing Acid Reflux in Children

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Updated April 11, 2008

Your child's doctor may base a diagnosis of acid reflux on your child's symptoms and a physical examination. The doctor may also order tests to verify the diagnosis, or to determine if a more serious condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is the cause of the reflux. These tests may include one of the following:

Lab tests
This can consist of various blood and urine tests to identify or rule out possible causes of recurring vomiting and poor weight gain.

Upper endoscopy
The upper endoscopy (also known as esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD) allows the doctor to examine the inside of the patient's esophagus, stomach, and duodenum with an instrument called an endoscope, a thin flexible lighted tube.

Esophageal pH monitoring
This test will measure the acidity in your child's esophagus. The pH procedure is done with a thin, plastic tube with a sensor that measures the amount of acid backing up into the esophagus. This procedure is often done when GERD symptoms are present but an endoscope exam doesn't detect any evidence of reflux disease. The pH test measures how often and for how long stomach acid enters the esophagus, and how well it clears the esophagus.

Additional Information:

Sources:
"Gastroesophageal Reflux in Children and Adolescents." NIH Publication No. 06–5418 August 2006. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). 9 Apr 2008

Marsha Kay, M.D. and Vasundhara Tolia, M.D., "COMMON GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS IN PEDIATRIC PATIENTS." The American College of Gastroenterology. 9 Apr 2008

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