Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) occurs when stomach contents go up into the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach), during or after a meal. In some children, the stomach contents go up the mouth (regurgitation) and are swallowed again. Other symptoms include hoarseness, recurrent pneumonia, cough, wheezing and difficulty or painful swallowing.
The doctor or nurse can talk with you about your child’s symptoms, do a physical examination and recommend tests to determine if reflux is the cause of symptoms. These tests check the esophagus, stomach and small intestine to see if there are any problems. However, treatment is sometimes started without the need for any tests. Common tests are:
* Barium (a chalky drink) is swallowed and X-rays show the shape of the esophagus and stomach. This test can find a hiatal hernia, blockage and other problems.
* Endoscopy: After the patient is given a sedative medication so they are asleep, a small flexible tube with a very tiny camera is inserted through the mouth and down into the esophagus and stomach. The lining of the esophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine can be examined and biopsies (small pieces of the lining) can be painlessly obtained. The biopsies can later be examined with a microscope, looking for inflammation and other problems
* Esophageal pH Probe: A thin light wire with an acid sensor at its tip is inserted through the nose into the lower part of the esophagus. The probe can detect the amount of stomach acid coming up into the esophagus and can tell if there acid in the esophagus.