An important part of the diagnostic process is to identify all possible causes of GERD. In addition to the tests already discussed, your doctor may order any of the following:
- Antireflux medication. In the case of unusual GERD symptoms, mainly laryngitis or chest pain, your doctor may prescribe a proton pump inhibitor for several weeks. Proton pump inhibitors work by reducing the amount of acid your stomach produces. If symptoms go away, it's likely you have GERD and not cardiac disease or a respiratory infection.
- Tissue biopsy. Sometimes, doctors take samples of esophageal tissues during the endoscopy procedure. Not only does this help with diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus, but it can also rule out viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that may be causing your inflamed esophagus.
- Blood or stool tests. Although uncommon, ulcers, or deep sores, that form in the esophagus may cause internal bleeding. Dark-colored stools that contain blood may indicate that ulcers are severe. In addition, internal bleeding can cause anemia, in which your blood's ability to carry oxygen is reduced. Anemia may also cause chest pain.