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Diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:

Condition InDepth

Diagnosis of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

The doctor will ask about a person's symptoms and health history. If GERD is suspected, a trial of heartburn medicine will be given to lower the amount of acid the stomach makes. If the medicine helps, the diagnosis is confirmed.

People who still have problems that are not helped by medicine may need more tests, such as:


A thin, lighted tube with a camera is passed into the throat to look for problems or changes in the esophagus.


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24-hour pH Monitoring

A small tube is passed through the nose or mouth and into the stomach. The tube stays in place for 24 hours. It tracks the amount and timing of acid that backs up from the stomach. The doctor reviews the data and the food diary the person will be asked to keep. The diary will track what the person eats and what they are doing when problems happen.

Sometimes, a capsule is placed into the esophagus instead of a tube. It tracks and sends data to a monitor worn outside the body. The capsule will break off and pass through the intestines.


  • Acid reflux (GER and GERD) in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults. Accessed March 18, 2022.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: https://aga-cms-assets.s3.amazonaws.com/2018214195040---All_GERD_2017.pdf. Accessed March 18, 2022.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Accessed March 18, 2022.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Merck Manual Professional Version. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/esophageal-and-swallowing-disorders/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Accessed March 18, 2022.


  • Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.