If an infant is consistently spitting up or vomiting, acid reflux may be the cause. Consult your 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.
The most common tests used in the diagnosing of acid reflux are: upper gastrointestinal series x-rays, endoscopies and esophageal pH probes. 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.
An endoscopy is 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 up onto a television screen. During this procedure, the doctor can remove a small piece of tissue, an additional procedure called a biopsy. Then, looking at the tissue beneath a microscope helps the doctor to determine the level of acid damage on the tissue.
An esophageal pH probe is a thin light wire with an acid sensor at its tip which 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.