Symptoms of erosive esophagitis include pain and difficulty when swallowing, according to About.com. The patient also feels like something is stuck in his throat and experiences heartburn and a burning sensation along the esophagus.
A person with erosive esophagitis also may either vomit blood or have blood in the stool, according to About.com. In that case, the stool is black and has a tarry, sticky texture.
Erosive esophagitis is diagnosed through a doctor's physical examination, states About.com. Tests include an upper endoscopy, barium X-ray, biopsy of the affected esophageal tissue and a culture of the esophagus.
During an upper endoscopy, the doctor uses a flexible tube with a tiny light and camera to examine the esophagus, states About.com. The tube can be fitted with tiny instruments to collect suspicious tissue for biopsy. The patient's throat is sprayed with an anesthetic to weaken his gag reflex, and he also receives intravenous sedation. Because the endoscope passes down the patient's throat, his breathing is not affected. The miniaturized camera allows the doctor to examine the patient's esophagus via a video monitor.
During a barium X-ray, the patient drinks a solution of barium, which absorbs X-rays, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. The barium coats the walls of the esophagus, and the doctor detects abnormalities on the X-ray film.