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Esophagitis (cont.)

Esophagitis Diagnosis

Once the doctor has performed a thorough physical examination and reviewed the patient's medical history, medications may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. If medications do not work, a doctor may refer the patient to a gastroenterologist, a physician who specializes in gastrointestinal disorders.

The gastroenterologist may recommend specialized tests to look for the cause and extent of the esophagitis. These tests include:

  • Upper endoscopy: This is a test in which an endoscope is used to look directly into the esophagus and stomach. This is usually done as an outpatient procedure under mild sedation. During this procedure, samples of tissue may be taken (biopsy) to assess the severity of the damage to the esophagus.

  • Upper GI series or barium swallow: This is a test where X-rays are taken of the esophagus after drinking a barium solution. Barium coats the lining of the esophagus and appears white on an X-ray. This test shows the location and extent of damage to the esophagus.
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