Reflux Esophagitis - Diagnosis

Written by Dr. Vivekanand, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Jul 21, 2013
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1. Endoscopy

  • If there is a suspected diagnosis of esophagitis, then an endoscopy examination will have to be done.
  • A narrow, flexible tube, with a light, is passed through the mouth and throat and on to the esophagus.
  • Any injury or ulceration in the esophagus can be seen by this procedure.
  • A small bit of the lining may be taken for biopsy, to check for any abnormalities.

2. X-ray

  • A white fluid containing barium (barium swallow) is swallowed, this enables the doctor to observe the passage of the fluid on X-ray.
  • It can be studied whether the esophagus is ulcerated or narrowed.
  • Diagnosis by barium meal X-ray may also show evidence of hiatus hernia.

3. 24 hour testing

  • This can be used for measuring the acid levels in the esophagus
  • In this procedure a fine tube is passed into the esophagus and left there for 24 hours.
  • A special tip at the end of the tube measures the acidity at frequent intervals.
  • This will give an indication of how often and how long the reflux episodes last.

4. Diagnostic Enigma

Reflux or heart burn when associated with chest pain can be a cause of anxiety as many conditions like angina or heart attacks can also mimic similar pain.

There are many physicians the world over, who have treated heart attacks as reflux erroneously and paid a heavy price.

Hence it is important to get the diagnosis of reflux right so that more serious conditions are not missed.

Some of the conditions that can mimic heart-burn include the following:

  • Angina
  • Myocardial Infarction or heart attack
  • Cholecystitis - Inflammation of Gall bladder
  • Gastritis
  • Peptic Ulcer Disease


  1. Schwann, Theodor. ber das Wesen des Verdauungsprocesses. Arch Anat Physiol Wissensch Med. 1836; 90-138 [Reprinted in Selected Readings in the History of Physiology, 2nd ed. Translated by Fulton JF, Wilson LG. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas; 1966, pp. 190-2.
  2. Manipal Manual Of Surgery: K. Rajgopal Shenoy. MBBS, MS. (2000 EDITION)

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Its true..thank u a lot..this is wht abt i feel..hard to breath and suffering for 12 yrs like to take surgery i hope it can make a different..not al doc know abt in asia they argue a lot and just give me medicine bt still doesnt make a change..

I am 30 male, since last 8 years i was taking laxatives due to constipation. but i have stopped taking them since last 8 months. but around 2 years i am suffering from gas problem, burbs and indigestion. which got worse in last 2 months. since last two months my appetite has gone totally down, i have lost around 5kg weight, whole day i feel sick, not in a mood to do anything, low of energy, continous burbs, stomach full of gas whole day, vomiting sensation and nausea at times, tendency of stomach not clear even after passing motion, fullness in stomach specially after eating anything. some times motion is like normal, but other time it will be like loose motion. i have showed to many doctors, but recently i showed a gastro specialist, who did all the test like blood test, urnine test, thyroid test, cbc test, diabetise test, liver function test, where all the test came normal. in whole abdominal ultrasound, there was found a stone or polyp of 3 mm in my gallblader. then he asked me to go for an endoscopy which showed that i have esophegitis and gastric ulcer. he gave a medice [Rabeprazole sodium] for one month, but its been over 3 weeks since taking the medicine, but my condition is same, feeling just little better. i have showed my reports to a general surgeon , he suggested me that its all because of gallblader stone or polyp. he recommended me to go for laproscopy surgery and remove the gallbladder. but the gastro doctor said that gallblader is not creating trouble to me. can someone help me what to do so that i can live healthy life. plz suggest.


Are you on any meds? Certain meds can cause esophagitis, including NSAIDs [such as Advil] and Propecia (the hair-loss med). It may take a few weeks to get back to normal after experiencing side-effects to such meds.


hey my dad is suffering from Reflux oesophagitis since 20 years,and he had done several endoscopy , he still has heart burning , and it is getting worst , please can anybody can suggest something for me , it will be highly appreciated..


I suffer from chronic reflux disease. I know how to control it - what to eat and what not to eat. I believe the most likely cause at the outset is over prescription of antibiotics. They kill the bad bacteria that is causing the problem but they all kill the good bacteria. This leads to fermentation in the stomach and digestive system, and pockets of air will throw the stomach contents up, particularly so at night. It is very unusual to have too much acid - it is more likely that once you are over 50, your stomach is producing less acid - a supplement of hydrochloric acid with pepsin will greatly help. Avoid any food with sugar content as this causes more fermentation. Eat plenty of green apples, apple cider vinegar tonic water and baking power. Avoid ALL food with sugar and starch - you should then be able to keep your symptoms under control without resorting to chemical pharmaceuticals. Josie in Wales


Dear josie i m also suffering from reflux what to do? Daily i am taking rabeprazole. Endoscopy also been done shows H Pylori infection.


Please give me full details of your symptoms - how long you have suffered them - how old are you - what treatment are you receiving for H Pylori infection? Are you able to purchase Apple Cider Vinegar [with the "mother" included]? I will try and help you with herbal cures that are available here in UK. Josie


Hey. I also have chronic reflux. I was wandering if you could help me too. I´m John, 35. I´m in Colombia, South America.

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