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GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?

GERD is reflux that occurs more than 2 times a week for a few weeks. Reflux means acid and food in your child's stomach back up into his or her esophagus. GERD can cause other health problems over time if it is not treated.

Digestive Tract

What causes GERD?

GERD often happens because the lower muscle (sphincter) of your child's esophagus does not close properly. The sphincter normally opens to let food into the stomach. It then closes to keep food and stomach acid in the stomach. If the sphincter does not close properly, food and stomach acid may back up (reflux) into the esophagus. The following may also increase your child's risk for GERD:

What are the signs and symptoms of GERD?

How is GERD diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child. He or she will ask about your child's symptoms and when they started. Tell him or her about your child's medical conditions, eating habits, and activities. Your child's provider may ask about any family history of GERD. Your child may need any of the following:

How is GERD treated?

The goal of treatment is to relieve your child's symptoms and prevent damage to his or her esophagus. Treatment also helps promote healthy weight gain and growth. Your child may need any of the following:

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to help my child manage GERD?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my child's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.