Getting tests done is not a bad idea, they want to know that you are a good enough candidate for surgery. Usually they don't want to do surgery until medicinal therapy fails, however even my surgeon told me that a lot of people will have the surgery simply so they don't have to stay on acid reducers. That being said, surgery really is a big decision.. you really want to know that you need it or can benefit from it.
As far as I know, there are only two options. Medicinal therapy (acid reducers) and surgery. It sounds like they didn't even find a hernia. I can see why they would be reluctant. If you have the PH study done, maybe that would change their mind, but remember, I'm not a doctor. It wasn't until I had my PH study that they began to take me seriously.
Pepcid is all very similar to all the rest of the acid reducers out there. I've tried most of them. Prescription strength is obviously more helpful.