Your doctor or specialist will likely make a diagnosis based on your answers to questions, a physical exam, and one or more tests. These tests may include:
For this test, you drink a solution containing a compound called barium or take a pill coated with barium. Barium coats the lining of the esophagus and stomach and it makes the organs visible. These images can help identify narrowing of the esophagus, other structural changes, a hiatal hernia, tumors or other abnormalities that could be causing symptoms.
Doctors guide a long, thin tube equipped with a tiny camera (endoscope) down your throat and into the esophagus. Using this instrument, your doctor can look for any unusual appearance of the esophagus and remove small tissue samples for testing. The esophagus may look different depending on the cause of inflammation, such as drug-induced or reflux esophagitis. You'll be lightly sedated during this test.
Small tissue samples removed (biopsy) during an endoscopic exam are sent to the lab for testing. Depending on the suspected cause of the disorder, tests may be used to:
Sept. 13, 2014
- Diagnose a bacterial, viral or fungal infection
- Determine the concentration of allergy-related white blood cells (eosinophils)
- Identify abnormal cells that would indicate esophageal cancer or precancerous changes
- Bleeding in the digestive tract. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/DDISEASES/pubs/bleeding/. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux (GER), and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gerd/index.aspx. Accessed July 10, 2014.
- Castell DO. Medication-induced esophagitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 10, 2014.
- Bope ET, et al. Conn's Current Therapy. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Ek WE, et al. Germline genetic contributions to risk for esophageal adenocarcinoma, Barrett's esophagus, and gastroesophageal reflux. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013;105:1711.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 11, 2014.
- Almashat SJ, et al. Non-reflux esophagitis: A review of inflammatory diseases of the esophagus exclusive of reflux esophagitis. Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology. 2014;31:89.
- Kauffman CA. Clinical manifestations of oropharyngeal and esophageal candidiasis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 10, 2014.
- Goldman L, et al. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 16, 2014.
- Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic. Hard to Swallow — EOE. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge/. Accessed March 9, 2014.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. April 24, 2011.
- Safe use of complementary health products and practices. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/safety. Accessed Jan. 5, 2014.
- Best hospitals. U.S. News & World Report. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/mn/mayo-clinic-661MAYO. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Geagea A, et al. Scope of drug-induced, infectious and allergic esophageal injury. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. 2008;24:496.
- Dellon ES, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Evidenced based approach to the diagnosis and management of esophageal eosinophilia and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:679.
- Katz PO, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;108:308.
- Eosinophilic esophagitis. American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/related-conditions/eosinophilic-esophagitis.aspx. Accessed July 17, 2014.
- Estores D, et al. Barrett esophagus: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. Current Problems in Surgery. 2013;50:192.
- Kahrilas PJ. Medical management of gastroesophageal reflux disease in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 1, 2014.
- Tomizawa Y, et al. Assessment of the diagnostic performance and interobserver variability of endocytoscopy in Barrett's esophagus: A pilot ex-vivo study. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2013;19:8652.
- Lipham JC, et al. The LINX® reflux management system: Confirmed safety and efficacy now at 4 years. Surgical Endoscopy. 2012;26:2944.
- Ravi K (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 15, 2014.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
- Patrick L. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): A review of conventional and alternative treatments. Alternative Medicine Review. 2011;16:116.