Acid Reflux Health Center

The most common tests used to diagnose acid reflux include the following:

  • Upper gastrointestinal series x-rays. Upper gastrointestinal series x-rays are taken to check for damage to the esophagus, stomach or intestines. A chalky drink called a barium swallow is used to help make the images on the x-rays easier to see. The x-ray is used primarily to rule out other problems that could cause similar symptoms to acid reflux.
  • Endoscopies. An endoscopy involves a small, flexible tube with a very small camera on the end that is then inserted through the mouth and esophagus into the stomach. The camera gives the doctor a view of the lining of the esophagus, stomach and small intestine by transmitting images from the small camera to a television screen. During this procedure, the doctor can perform a biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue). Looking at that tissue sample under a microscope can help the doctor determine the level of acid damage to the tissue.
  • Esophageal pH probes. An esophageal pH probe involves a thin light wire with an acid sensor at its tip that is inserted through the nose and into the lower part of the esophagus. This probe can detect and record the amount of stomach acid refluxing back up into the esophagus.

If an infant is consistently spitting up or vomiting, acid reflux may be the cause. Visit your child's doctor and ask for an examination to determine if your child has the condition. If the infant is healthy, content and growing well, often no tests or treatments are needed. Infants usually stop spitting up between 12 and 24 months of age.

Review Date: 
August 2, 2012
Last Updated:
August 6, 2014