Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Diseases

Upper Endoscopy

About Upper Endoscopy

An upper endoscopy is a test of choice to detect Acid Reflux and Gerd, abdominal pain and symptoms related to the upper gastrointestinal tract or investigate patients with malabsorption or diagnose Celiac disease etc.

  The doctor under conscious sedation which usually is an intravenous injection passes a thin tube which has a camera at its tip down through your mouth, into your esophagus, stomach and small intestine to examine the area for inflammation, ulcers etc. The entire procedure is very short and a very well tolerated procedure and the patient does not experience any difficulties during the pre or post-procedure. The procedure also allows the physician to take samples for infection like H.Pylori  or for detection of early changes like cancer etc. An endoscopy can also be used to collect a sample of tissue to be tested for complications such as Barrett’s esophagu

Why/When Upper Endoscopy?

Why do you need an upper endoscopy?

Your doctor may recommend an endoscopy procedure to:

  • Investigate symptoms. An endoscopy may help your doctor determine what’s causing digestive signs and symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) and gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Your doctor may use an endoscopy to collect tissue samples (biopsy) to test for diseases and conditions, such as GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), Narrowing (strictures) or blockages ,hiatal hernia, Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease of upper GI tract,  anemia, bleeding, inflammation, diarrhea or cancers of the digestive system.
  • Your doctor can pass special tools through the endoscope to treat problems in your digestive system, such as burning a bleeding vessel to stop bleeding, widening a narrow esophagus, clipping off a polyp or removing a foreign object.

Diagnosis of Heartburn

To determine if your heartburn is a symptom of GERD, the doctor may recommend:

  • Endoscopy: to check for abnormalities in your esophagus. A tissue sample (biopsy) may be taken for pylori testing.
  • Esophageal pH Monitoring and Impedance Testing: to identify when, and for how long, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus. An acid monitor that is placed in your esophagus connects to a small computer that you wear around your waist or on a strap over your shoulder.
  • Esophageal Manometry: to measure movement and pressure in your esophagus.

Treatment of Heartburn

There are several ways to treat and avoid heartburn with lifestyle changes.

  • Lose weight and maintain your ideal weight. Excess weight increases the pressure on the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking interferes with the proper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Avoid foods that aggravate heartburn and replace them with healthy foods. Avoid foods that trigger heartburn (see previously). Consider keeping a food journal to alert you to foods that make your heartburn worse. Decrease the amount of food you eat.
  • Elevate the head of the bed: If you are experiencing heartburn at night, elevating the head of the bed will decrease reflux.

Many over-the-counter medications can help relieve heartburn. The options include:

  • Antacids neutralize stomach acid to cut down on heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, and stomach upset. Antacids may provide quick relief. But they can’t heal an esophagus damaged by stomach acid.
  • H-2-receptor antagonists (H2RAs), which can reduce stomach acid. H2RAs don’t act as quickly as antacids, but may provide longer relief.
  • Proton pump inhibitors, such as lansoprazole and omeprazole, which also can reduce stomach acid.

If over-the-counter treatments don’t work or you rely on them  too often, see your doctor. You may need prescription medication and further testing.